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The following is a guest blog post from Good Nelly, financial writer.
What to do when your partner has debt… Obviously, it is not a pleasant situation.
But, at the same time, it is not wise to leave your partner just because he has debt problems.
So, first of all, stop worrying and then check out what to do if your partner has debt problems.
Is it wise to repay your partner’s debt?
When you come to know after marriage that your husband has significant debt, you may ask yourself, should you pay off your husband’s debt? Well, you can repay the debt or help him to do so. However, before paying off his debt, make sure you check out the following things.
Make sure you know everything about your partner’s debt and be assured that he hasn’t hidden anything from you. If required, ask him questions about the total amount payable, the reasons for falling into debt, his plans to repay it, and so on.
You don’t land into debt
Most importantly, you shouldn’t face similar debt situation while helping your spouse to overcome his debt problems. Neither you should shell out your savings, especially emergency savings to repay his debt, nor you should take out a loan to help your partner.
Your credit score is not affected
If you cosign on a loan, you become responsible to repay the debt if your partner defaults on the loan; that is, he isn’t able to make the payments. Moreover, if your credit score is good, in the future, you can take out a loan, in your name, with suitable terms and conditions.
It may sound harsh but in case your relationship doesn’t work out or you’re not legally bound, you may have to experience serious financial consequences if you go that extra mile to help your partner overcome his debt crisis.
So, if your intuition says you not to take the burden of your partner’s debt, don’t do it. But, you can very well support and help him to solve his debt problems.
Here is what to do when your partner has debt.
Support your partner instead of making him feel guilty
Your partner is already feeling guilty; so, it’s better you assure him and support him to find a way out. Avoid resentment at any cost.
What has happened has happened. Now, you should discuss how to solve the debt problem and manage your finances in a way such that it never happens again.
Helping each other and dealing with the crisis together can help you overcome it successfully.
Keep your finances separate to some extent
It is practical to do so. This way, if required, you can take out a loan with suitable terms and conditions.
As discussed, do not take out a loan in your name; it can make the matter worse. Instead, save as much as you can, put the required amount towards your emergency account, and use the rest to repay your partner’s debt.
It is advisable to deposit the required amount in the emergency account and meet your daily necessities, and then use the surplus to repay debt.
Plan a budget and change your lifestyle too
Planning a proper budget is the initial step in every financial planning. While planning one, make sure you’re creating a realistic budget, which both of you will be able to follow.
For the time being, change your lifestyle a bit. For example, restrict eating outs and plan homemade meals, do not plan an elaborate vacation, stop visiting the shopping malls, prepare a list when going grocery shopping, and so on.
If you change your lifestyle a bit, you can be a great motivator, and your spouse will also feel motivated to follow it and repay debt as soon as possible.
Choose a suitable debt relief strategy
Now that you’ve planned a realistic budget, it’s time to select a suitable debt relief strategy that would help to solve the debt problem.
Note from Melissa: Most of the time, folks that are buried in debt are facing the financial problems due to behavioral issues. If you do decide to use a debt consolidation strategy, please close the accounts you’ve paid off immediately. The last thing you want to do is find yourself doubling your liabilities by charging up the same cards again!
Here are a few debt relief options to choose from:
- Book a credit counseling session
You take the initial step and book a credit counseling session with a reputed organization. Take your partner and discuss your debt problems. The counselor will offer tips and suggestions to solve the debt problem.
If you can’t overcome the debt problem even after following the suggestions, the organization can offer a DMP (Debt Management Plan) enrolling in which you can repay debt with complete professional guidance.
- Settle the debts to repay fast
If you think that both of you can’t repay the debts in full, then you can opt for debt settlement. Through this option, your partner can pay less than what he owes. However, he would have to pay tax on the forbidden debt amount.
Both of you can negotiate with the creditors or take professional help if required.
- Opt for balance transfer
If your fiance has credit card debt, you can transfer the balance to a low-interest rate card. It can be a powerful tool to repay debt when you’ve tried every other option to save more and more.
By opting for this consolidation method, you can repay multiple credit card debts with just a single payment every month at a much lower rate.
You can take out a low-interest rate balance transfer card for the purpose. However, make sure to repay the entire balance within the low introductory rate period to avoid much higher rate after the period is over.
After you’re successful in solving the debt problem, make sure you plan your finances such that you never have to face this situation again. Plan one or two monthly financial meetings when you’ll only discuss your financial life and plan your moves for a better financial future.
I’ve done all the things! Girl, I’ve washed my face. I’ve trashed everything that doesn’t spark joy. I’ve walked the baby steps. I’ve cried. I’ve prayed, but my perfectionism has really held me back.
Perfection Hangover can be crippling. Stop comparing yourself to others and start living your best life! That’s why PH exists! I want to encourage you to take control of your money, your blog, and your business.