Confessions of a Single Woman: Can You Start a Marriage in Debt?

Can I start a marriage in debt?

Can you start a marriage in debt? This is the question I have been asking myself for years now. If I can have a few more years, I can start my marriage debt free. RIght? After working in the financial industry for almost four years, I learned that the number one reason for arguments in marriages was about money. Here I am, years later,  still with credit card debt and loans I racked up when I was in college. While I value my college education, I don’t like how long its taking to pay it all off. However, if I wait until everything is paid off I’ll never get married.

In 2005, Annette Shoop of Primerica Financial Services, educated me on how money works. I had been three years out of college and I could not believe that out of all of the years of education, not one of my classes taught me how to manage my personal finances. Mrs. Themla Robinson taught me how to balance my checkbook in 7th grade. This was the only thing I had been taught in 18 years of schooling. I thought you had to leave money stuff to experts. I knew that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t understand money fully, so I started working for the company. I knew my Debt Freedom Date and I was educating other people to find out their own numbers. With the skills and knowledge I learned I now manage my money on my own. AWEsome!

The hardest thing to remember when you begin paying off large amounts of debt is that you did not accumulate it over night; Like magic your debt will not disappear in a day. You need to practice patience as you slowly pay it down. You learn to put away money for savings, even if its a small amount to start. You pay more than the minimum payment on your credit cards. You ignore the sales circulars and you become thrifty. However it requires a strong WHY to stay straight on your path towards financial freedom. I didn’t have that.

I became too relaxed in my single life. I treated myself to new shoes instead of paying down my credit cards. I took several vacations a year. However, I don’t regret it. I know that we all can get so caught up in making our money and paying for the possessions that keep us comfortable. We forget sometimes though that we need to stop and smell the roses. I enjoyed my years of travel. I know that there will come a day where I can buy something nice and not have to worry that I’m still paying it off years later. Daniel and our future together, has become my why.

Do you have your why to keep you focused on your financial goals?

I told Daniel for years that we could wait on getting married so I could pay off my debt. After having a conversation with my friends, Janeane and Brandi, they let me know if I wanted to wait to get married until I paid off all my debt I could but I would never get married. They’re absolutely right! In life things will happen to cause our financial goals to either speed up or slow down. I know that for a fact. I could write a book with all the things that have caused me to be set back with paying off my debt. In that same book though, I could write a few chapters on the things that happened in my life that kept me from falling TOO far behind.

Now that the future is so close I can touch him it, It’ll be easier to stay focused on paying down debt and walking past those cute Cole Haan  shoes I saw at Lord N’ Taylor that I keep dreaming about. Just in case I need some extra accountability I’ll share my progress and estimated debt freedom date on the blog.

What is YOUR WHY that keeps you focused on your financial goals? What are you working on?

Until then,

DjRelAt7

12 thoughts on “Confessions of a Single Woman: Can You Start a Marriage in Debt?”

  1. If I were to marry again I would have a serious conversation with my guy about debt. During my first marriage I think I fooled myself into believing that I could handle my debt alone and it did cause problems. Now that I am older and wider I truly, truly believe that I need to have frank and frequent conversations about money and debt.

    1. Yes, A lot has changed over the last generations. Women weren’t in the work force as much as it is today. Even women who have children are back in the work force either immediately or when the kids go to school. If our moms, for example, never had the talk about finances or managing debt with their mom, that might be a conversation missed. I never talked about finances with my mother or how she pays the bills. It wasn’t until she was out for knee surgery that she entrusted me to handle the household accounts that she came back and told me that I do things differently than she does AND I thought I was making it easier.

      Seeing how money has effected marriages, I knew it was a conversation I needed to have early on with Danny. I realize now that paying everything off before we walk down the aisle is wishful thinking, but at least we’re on the same page.

      Lesson learned Rachee and now you know to do things different if you marry again.

  2. My mom used to always tell me, YOU WILL ALWAYS BE IN DEBT. Thats how the world is set up. She taught me to be financially responsible but within reason. She always said always EAT first, don’t be so straight and narrow that you can’t enjoy life and most importantly learn to go without sometimes.

    I want to be financially stable for my children’s comfort. When they come to me when they’re up and years needing my help, I want to give it to them (given they deserve it).

    1. Hey Marie, your mom gave you some great advice! I have learned to go without some of the luxuries of life … I remind myself that nothing is permanent and try to make smarter financial decisions going forward. You’re children are lucky to see you implement that AND to have them teach it early on! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us!

  3. I think you are very wise to at least bring that to the table. Look at how you both handle money, because it will not change once you get married. To Marie Young, true you will always be in debt, but there is certain debt that is absolutely unnecessary. A mortgage, while it is debt, it eventually leads to an investment. Be strategic with your credit. I could go on and on for real. Very wise post Arelis..But as Brandi and Janeane said, you will never get married if that is the thing that holds you back.

    1. Yes Val, there are good debts and bad ones. I am working on my bad debts now. I think I can cut them, at least in half, in a year. I have to be mindful of what I buy and what I do in this year but I have my why within my reach so I am focused. I’m moving past that emotion of feeling like I have to be all paid up before starting the next chapter of my life. I’m ready.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

  4. Finances are the #1 argument in marriage followed by sex. Add children to the mix and they both get worse.
    You can get married in debt and then just wait to have children 😉

    1. Joyce, I’m going to try and not let that statistic dissuade me lol I have my plan in place to get rid of my debt so I just have to work it now. I’m hoping by putting it on the site will motivate me more and keep me focused on seeing the green in the chart in the side bar cover the red in its entirety.

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us!

  5. My fiancee is great with money. I am not. I have had to learn to be embarrassingly honest with him about my debt, and he has been patient with helping me figure out how to get out of it. Money is a big reason that people argue, but we have learned that talking about our expectations, and admitting to our limits can help us to be successful.

    1. That is great news Brandi! I had that talk with Daniel and I felt so much better afterwards. I do not want to argue about money! I am good with it but am working on paying off my past debt. It is great to have someone in the relationship be good with money. I know couples who pay their bills together have better success with their finances and less arguing about it. I am going to go with that strategy.

      Thank so much for reading and sharing your thoughts!

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