My Husband Sees Our Debt as My Problem. – Sue

“Dear Steve,

I’ve been married to my husband 17 yrs. 2 mths. We have always pooled our paychecks, I’ve handled our finances, and I’ve paid our bills from a joint checking account. We live very modestly and purchased an old farmhouse with 10 acres and buildings.

After buying our home 11 years ago (we currently owe $38,000 on a home worth $110,000), having 2 children, and earning an excellent joint income of $105,000 per year, we are still having trouble getting out of debt and I can’t take the pressure any longer. I returned to school 6 years ago to earn a better income, but charged gas, kids’ medical bills, etc when I didn’t have the money.

We owe close to $46,000 on credit cards and my husband thinks we should be close to out of debt!! I’ve tried to tell him we are not even close but he will not even look at our finances until I “fix the mess I’ve got us into.” We just getting deeper in debt.

I resent his attitude and feel that he also spent close to $50 00 per year for 4 years for his cattle hobby, which was money that I didn’t have budgeted. Most of the credit card debt ($34,000) is in my name only and our 2010 Honda Accord with a payment of $420 per month is joint.

I do not know what to do. To make matters worse, our house attic was infested with bats and we need bat guano clean-up which costs $10,000 for a professional so my husband wants to do it himself which is unadvised. He also wants to remodel by himself but has done nothing for 1 1/2 years so our family is living in our downstairs with no bedrooms and air mattresses until he decides to dig in.

When I mention that I would like to hire a contractor he gets defensive and tells me that I can just pay for it myself then, even though he just inherited a large sum (over $200,000) of cash,IRA, etc., which is stashed away in his name only in a local bank. I am going to also lose my tax return due to his inheritance and I used to use that $6500 to pay down debt, so I feel a nxious about that too. I’ve also asked him to help pay down our debt and he refuses. He says it’s my problem and I can fix it myself.

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What would be the best way for me personally, not including my husband’s debt, to get out of $34,000 debt in the next few years? Should I do debt consolidation, ask my credit cards for a debt settlement, or is there another way? Should I consolidate? Should I spend my $12,000 in my 401K? Should I ask each credit card for a debt settlement amount? I heard on your radio show that you offer fee-based consultations and am interested in setting that up. Or is there a debt counselor that is trustworthy in Iowa that I could drive and see?


Dear Sue,

Unfortunately your situation is one where the debt is the byproduct of a number of underlying issues. And while the debt can be tackled the real issue here is the question of simmering marital problems of his and hers which leads to larger issues that are then manifested in the debt.

For your debt alone a LendingClub.com debt consolidation loan would be the first step to explore. While the LendingClub.com consolidation loan would not cover all of your debt, it would cover the most expensive of it and help you to dig out early with hopefully a lower payment.

While other solutions exist, they will defiantly throw a wrench in the works unless you are operating out of the same book and on the same page. At present it sounds like you are working out of two entirely different books.

For example, if you decide to pursue debt settlement or bankruptcy and that creates complications on your joint debts then it will only amplify the other simmering issues and make it an explosive situation.

After examining the LendingClub.com solution I’d also suggest you click here for credit counseling information. A credit counseling plan can help to eliminate your debt in five years but the payment would remain about the same as you are paying now.

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You may also find insight in reading The Honest and Unvarnished Truth About How to Get Out of Debt.

In a perfect world I’d rather see you tackle this situation as a whole first with marriage counseling and then a joint plan to take care of the debt.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

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Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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2 thoughts on “My Husband Sees Our Debt as My Problem. – Sue”

  1. Thank you for your advice. He refuses to go to marriage counseling so I went myself which helped some. I still feel alone in figuring this out. I have an appointment with Damon Day in 2 hrs. so thanks for the link to a trustworthy coach!

  2. Thank you for your advice. He refuses to go to marriage counseling so I went myself which helped some. I still feel alone in figuring this out. I have an appointment with Damon Day in 2 hrs. so thanks for the link to a trustworthy coach!


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