Are you planning on getting married, but worried about how the credit card debt, auto loans, or student loan debt you or your partner currently carry will affect your relationship? It’s no secret that money is one of the things that couples fight about most. According to a study by Money Magazine, 70% of couples fight about money.
As if that weren’t concerning enough, a study conducted at the University of Utah found that couples who fought about money once a week were 30% more likely to get divorced than couples who fought about money once a month.
It makes sense that you’re worried about how debt will affect your marriage – especially if one person in the relationship has more debt than the other. Scrimping and saving to pay off debt can often be stressful, and that can lead to resentment. If you don’t deal with those feelings carefully by talking about them and coming up with a plan, that can cause problems in your relationship.
Do you really need to repay your debt before walking down the aisle?
Here are four reasons why you might want to repay your debt before getting married and how to do it.
1. Why you should be debt free
Getting out of debt while planning a wedding may seem like a lot to take on at the same time, but it may be the best thing you ever do. After all, you love your fiancé and would do anything for them, and that includes aggressively paying off your student loans so that they won’t have to worry about them.
Even if you both have debt, reducing your debt before marriage is a chance for you and your partner to have important conversations about money and your priorities as a couple and start working together towards common financial goals. Having a talk now about financial goals and how you feel about money will put you on the right track to making better decisions. Paying off debt together will also help you learn how to be frugal – which could come in handy if you’re hoping to save up for a down payment on your first home.
2. Get a grip on your debt
First, add up all your debt so that you know how much you owe. Next, take a close look at your budget to see where all your money is going and where you might be able to scrimp. Redirect these savings towards your debt. There are lots of ways to do this. You can decide to stop buying lunch at work and pack it from home. Or, you may want to consider cancelling your cable and stream TV and movies instead. You can also negotiate with your phone or internet company to try to get a better deal. Look at every dollar you spend and find ways to save money.
Perhaps you’ll focus on putting the same amount of money towards both your debts or maybe you will want to pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first. Every couples’ situation is different, but it is best to approach debt aggressively, so it does not carry into the marriage.
3. Get creative at ditching your debt
One way to expedite your debt repayment is to or start a side hustle. You could start a small business, become an Uber driver, become a dog walker. You could even come up with a side hustle that you and your fiancé can do together.
Another creative way to ditch your debt is to refinance your debt. You can get a personal loan or home equity line of credit to refinance credit card debt at a much lower interest rate or you can get a credit card with a 0% introductory interest rate and do a balance transfer. The goal is to reduce the amount of interest you’re paying so that you can repay your debt more quickly.
4. Talk about your debt philosophy
Once you’ve waved goodbye to your last student loan or credit card balance, it’s critical that you talk to your partner about how you both want to handle debt and credit in the future. This will ensure that you’re on the same page before you walk down the aisle.
You might not always agree about debt in your marriage, but you should work towards a compromise that you’re both happy with.