Paying off Partner’s Debt Pre-Marriage

by Dual Income No Kids on July 24, 2009 · 0 comments

The question has been asked out there before to finance gurus, as to whether or not one should help to pay of their sweetie’s debt before marriage. While there are obviously lots of different opinions on this question, we DINKs have our own two cents to add to the commentary.

Overall we see that before you get married your finances are still not entirely joint. At the same time, many couples live together before marriage, and thus end up sharing finances more than they would have in years past.

For the most part we would both agree that it is not outright best to have one partner pay off the others debt without some caveats. First, there is no obligation to do so. If you aren’t really certain in your own mind that things will work out, you are likely better to put it towards your own savings. Secondly, if you do choose to assist this should be in moderation.

In our case I actually had a bit of credit card debt to start out with. The short story is that I managed to pay off $13k in credit card in nine months flat while only making $35k. While I did scrimp to pay this off, James also assisted. First, when we split up our rent and household expenses, we did so where it was a few hundred dollars in my favor so this could go towards credit card debt. Secondly, when James sold his first apartment, he was kind enough to send $3k of that my way. In this case I had already been paying off for several months and had worked hard to get the place ready for showing, but it was still generous.

For us, we had already known each other for a dozen years at this point, so we were more committed to the process than your average couple just dating before marriage.

Whatever works for you, that is fine. Just be careful. You can get burned by committing too much financially before you are obligated to do so, and it could have big implications on your wealth in the future.

Readers: If anyone has stories around this subject one way or another we’d be happy to hear.



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