My boyfriend and I have been dating for a little over 3 years and things are amazing. Seriously couldn’t be happier (free advertising for Tinder!) We started to have conversations about our finances early on in our relationship. I didn’t want to wait until we were engaged, or even married, before having this conversation. According to 2017 statistics, Americans have over $1.4 trillion of student loans. That total keeps rising. The chances of you dating someone or even marrying someone who has student loans is pretttyyyy high.
People talk about everything, I mean everything, these days so why are we so scared to talk about finances? I 100% believe you should talk about your finances pretty early on in a relationship. Don’t you want to know if the person your dating understands their finances? Has a budget? Knows how to save money? If they do not care at all about paying off their loans/debt and you are really focused on becoming debt-free, that is something you should know early on (preferably not after you are married). I am not saying you have to break up if you are not on the same page, but having the conversations early allows you to see if you can potentially get on the same page.
Here are some tips when discussing your finances with your significant other:
Be Open and Honest
Discuss finances early (not saying your first tinder date but I mean don’t wait a few years). If you are trying to build an open and honest relationship then you should also be honest with your finances. You don’t want to wait until you say “I do” to learn your husband/wife has $150k in student loan debt. Finances are the leading cause of divorce, so it’s probably best to start off your marriage with total honesty. You cannot hide your debt forever, your husband/wife WILL find out.
If you are the one with loans/debt, be vulnerable with your significant other. Don’t hold it all in. You are not on this journey alone. If you cannot afford to go on an all-inclusive Mexican vacation then tell your significant other. Don’t go into more debt because you are trying to keep up with your significant other and/or friends. Be honest. I would rather my boyfriend say hey let’s go somewhere local for the weekend or let’s drive to the beach instead of going on a $1,000 vacation and adding to the debt total. It shows maturity and responsibility.
If you are the one without loans/debt, you should be honest too. Tell them how you feel about it. In order for you to tackle this debt together, you both need to be open and honest.
Accept it or End it
If you are dating and you cannot accept their current financial state then end it. Why drag it out? I mean statistically you will date someone who has loans or debt but if you cannot accept that then end it.
If they still seem like they are blowing all their money and aren’t trying to get out of debt then maybe they aren’t ready for a serious relationship. Or maybe they need someone to show them the way to financial freedom. I am debt free (as of 9/19/17!) and I know that when my boyfriend and I get married, I will be taking on A LOT of student loans. Like A LOT. I have accepted that and I am okay with it. I always tell him that we can’t change the fact that we’ll have all those student loans, but we can change our future. We can choose to not stay in debt forever. I have already started to plan the debt payoff strategy and we will work hard to become debt-free (again). The important thing is I am aware of this debt and we are on the same page.
Don’t Make Them Feel Guilty
Do NOT hold it over their head. They know they have loans/debt. You don’t need to tell them every 5 seconds. If you are someone who does not have any debt that is great but do not make your significant other feel bad or guilty for having loans/debt. Instead, try to help. Be there when they want to vent about how it is overwhelming (because it is). Tell them you are will get through it together. Encourage each other and celebrate the small wins. Plan local trips or budget vacations. Cook at home together instead of eating out all the time. You can celebrate when it is paid off! You are a team and are on this journey together. Think of how great it will feel when that debt is gone. Everyone has a different journey to financial freedom so try not to compare your journey to someone else’s.
If you are already married these tips still apply! It is time to take control of your finances and get on the same page. Take some time to talk to your husband/wife and discuss how you are feeling. Are you nervous? Scared you will never pay it off? Anxious about all the debt you have? Excited that you are working together? Try to verbalize your thoughts/feelings and create a payoff plan together. Remember debt payoff is a marathon, not a sprint so be patient. If you need help understanding your loans make sure to check out my post The 411 on Student Loans.
Your debt free date WILL come.
When did you and your spouse/significant other discuss finances? Are you on the same page?
- How to Kickstart Your Finances When Your Spouse Isn’t On Board
- Why I am Saving For My Wedding Before I am Engaged
For more ways to make money, save money, and manage your money, check out my recommendations page.