Engaged But Afraid Because of My Debt

“Dear Steve,

I have about $120,000 in student loans, and about $3000 credit card debt. I am unemployed but looking, and I am engaged!

My fiancé has told me that between his salary and gifts from our parents we have a $40-$50 thousand dollar budget for our wedding. He also just closed on a house a few months ago and his parents generously spotted us about 20 grand for that so he could put down 20%.

His financial situation is amazing for our age, but mine is pretty bad, and I hate to marry him and drag him down with me. He keeps thinking I’m going to get a job soon but it’s been months with no interviews. When I do get a job, the most I can hope to start out with is $50,000 with a more likely salary of $40,000.

I have applied to part-time jobs. So I am working on that, though that won’t add up to much more than my monthly bills. As it is I have like $100 dollars to my name and he pays my bills (less than $150) every month.

I have some IRA or something but I’m not going to touch it.

I am applying for my second deferment in regards to the Student Loans. I admit, I get bored with money and have always let other people make decisions about my money for me, or I kept it secret and just took out loans for graduate school. Now I can’t sleep anymore.

1. Even if I were entitled to all that money for our wedding, if I throw it all towards the debt won’t that be a waste of that huge sum? I thought maybe we could invest in a second property to rent out. It is our dream to own several homes and have that second source of income.

2. Please tell me this isn’t the worst situation in the world. It’s all going to be okay, right?


Dear Nancy,

First off let me assure you it will all be okay, one way or another. That doesn’t mean this is going to be some type of magic wand okay. But it will be okay if you deal with the debt instead of hiding from it.

The fact you and your future husband have such different approaches does not surprise me. In fact it is quite common that savers attract spenders, or the other way around. Opposites do attract.

I will admit I might be a little old fashioned when it comes to spending so much on a wedding. I get the fact it is a day to celebrate but I know so many people who got married in such simple ways and then lived amazing lives. In fact as a mail order minister even I can marry you, as I have others, for free.

The stress you are living through is completely understandable and yet completely avoidable. From my decades of experience in helping people I can share with you an approach that seems to work best and you can follow my advice or not. Entirely up to you.

The first thing I would suggest is that you and your future husband sit down and have a frank and open discussion about the current financial status of your combined situation. If he wants to leave you because of your debt then he’s not worth marrying. Better to find that out now. But that being said, I’ve never seen that happen. Keep in mind, getting married is for better or worse, for richer or poorer. Your love must be stronger than these material hurdles.

I would suggest you both get free copies of your credit reports to share as well. You can get them at AnnualCreditReport.com. Now that’s the part where people say they are uncomfortable showing their credit report to their partner. Look, if you can swap bodily fluids, you can swap a credit report. Get over it.

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Together the two of you can come up with a plan for killing this debt. Frankly I’d rather see you use the wedding money and eliminate about half your debt to start with. In my opinion less debt equals less stress and creates greater opportunities for the future.

And when it comes to getting a job. If the interviews are not coming then apply with every temp company around town and go on every assignment you can get. Action creates opportunity and not only will you earn some money but you will get out and about and often jobs come from working as a temp.

If you start your lives by eliminating the debt then your future plans are more more likely to come true.

But then again that’s just my opinion.

You asked if this the worst situation in the world. The situation is only as desperate as you feel it is. I’ve seen people barely able to function with $3,000 of debt and people with millions of dollars of debt who don’t bat an eye at it. I’m certainly not going to judge you because of your debt and you shouldn’t let anyone else do that either. – Source

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

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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