A Life Without Debt: Think Before Marrying Debt

I married a man just like me. He had no debt going into our marriage and no desire to incur any. This has made it very easy for us to create a financial life together that we both agree on and enjoy. I know many other couples who are not so lucky and this has made their financial lives miserable. The worst cases are where one partner does not want any debt and the other partner could care less about the loan and credit card balances.

My friend, Jane, is a perfect example. The man she loved had a lot of debt going into their marriage. He owed about $50,000 on various things and his credit record was trashed. Worse, he had no plan and no desire to pay any of it off any time soon. He is conten


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11 Responses to A Life Without Debt: Think Before Marrying Debt

  1. North753 says:

    She’s enabling his irresponsibility, by allowing him to continue to use her share of things.

    If she does not take control of her earnings (at least), she’s not without fault in this mess.

    She needs to separate all financial accounts for her future. Otherwise, she will go down with him sooner or later.

    Looking back is fruitless. Pepole need to take action when something wrong (like this) happens in their life.

  2. Broken Arrow says:

    An article that strikes home.

    Mine did not end so well though.

    Thank you for sharing!

  3. Mike says:

    Sadie, that’s great that you and your husband discussed your finances (or we both lucky to both have your finances under control) before you got married.

    It’s easy to avoid having that discussion as much as possible only to find out after marriage that your partner’s financial life is in shambles. A lot of people think that only a personal relationship with someone is enough reason to get married; what they don’t realize is that marriage is a HUGE financial commitment as well.


  4. Isabelle says:

    Money is such a component part of life and relationships, if the couple have very different attitudes there can be no happy ending. They may stay together – hardly the same thing.

    My old grandmother used to say –

    when poverty comes in the door – love flies out mof the window.

    I worked with a woman whose spendthrift husband lost them their home – sold to pay his debts on the promise of reform which lasted about three months! Her health, she became very depressed, this affected the children and their happiness and schooling. I lost touch with her at this point, I would not have been so forgiving and would have left long before it got to that point.

    And to think you can change your partner – if you can, you belong to a VERY small minority!

  5. Cindy M says:

    Yes, truer words were never spoken. You can’t change them, I certainly found that out and got out. I saw the problems ahead of time and ignored them. It’s a mistake to ignore your own common sense/instincts about another. How much better a marriage can go if both partners have the same outlook and be true friends. “Love” sure does NOT conquer all.

  6. Sandy L says:

    I have a friend who was saving for a downpayment on a house. Her husband took it and used it to buy a Corvette. They’re no longer married.

    I dated the whole spectrum..from total tightwad to spendthrift. Spendthrift was too stressful. Not only do they spend their money with abandon, but they take you down with them.

  7. Anne says:

    Not only all that, but if your friend Jane lives in a “community property” state like WI, any debt her husband incurs is hers 50-50, right off the bat. Not sure how pre-existing debt is handled but definitely anything incurred in marriage is hers…

  8. Diane says:

    Although my ex-husband & I both had good jobs & were debt free when we met & married, things changed rapidly. Within 3 years he left 2 good jobs to start his own business.

    He left me with $750K in debt when his business failed. In a community property state that was my debt as well. He refused to file bankruptcy, file taxes or get a job with health insurance (we had 2 small kids by then).

    In the end we divorced, I filed bankruptcy & got a job with insurance and waited 10 years to have the IRS lien on our house removed (because they wouldn’t make a settlement with me unless HE filed).

    It took me years to recover, but I have no debt, a house nearly paid for, 1 son out of college & 1 graduating high school. He still works for cash & doesn’t file taxes!

    This man came from a conservative family with parents & a brother who worked & paid taxes. I had no warning that he would turn into a renegade…

    Be aware that your choice of spouse can take you down financially – particularly in a community property state!

  9. Gail says:

    So right! It happened to me and it is a horrible way to live especially when the spendthrift pouts, yells, manipulates, etc. to get his way to continue to spend, spend, spend! Every fight is about money and none ever ends up with a kiss and make up session. Emotions are too raw and wounded.

    I’m sure most frugal men and woman could happily ‘fall in love’ with a similarly frugal person if given enough time! I would much rather be married to someone that I could be friends with and be on the same financial page, than be married to the ‘love of my life’ and not have money for groceries.

  10. Larabelle says:

    Thank-you for validating what I thought to be true. I am single and I will not accept a man who is not responsible for his financial life and debt free.

  11. Sharon says:

    After I married my husband I discovered he had huge debts. I thought about leaving him but he begged me to stay and promised to change. I paid his debts off. He put all the finances in my hands and all was well for a year or so until our first child. Money started disappearing from the accounts, credit cards started going up – all being spent on his own interests. We got a mortgage, all was manageable, although we fought every month when I saw the credit card. More debts came to light from his student loans – my mother helped us pay them off. We had another child. A few years later, he commenced an affair, took on a debt of over $100k, and forced me into a financial settlement on the house so he could pay out his debt and come back. He took the settlement money and did not pay off his debts or come back. That was four years ago – today he is depressed and miserable with nothing to his name, debts up to his eye balls and absolutely desperate to come back to his family. I love this man with all my heart but I cannot have him back unless he can show me a plan to pay off his existing debts. Right now he can’t even tell me how much he owes – he just says that it is a lot. Love cannot feed the children or pay the mortgage. Love cannot overcome this kind of dysfunctional behaviour. It is like an addiction.

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