Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

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mstone3
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Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by mstone3 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 4:52 pm

Hello – I have a rather complex situation and would appreciate any comments from the BH community that might ease (or validate) my financial anxiety:

My gf and I have been together three years, and it’s time to take the next steps in our relationship (i.e. marriage). Our financial situations are currently quite different:

About me: Age 36, federal employee, income $110k. Total savings 300k (about 100k in taxable, 200k in retirement). No debt.
About her: Age 34, speech-pathologist, income 60k. Total savings 20k. Student loan debt 250k

I admittedly have a lot of concern about what our combined financial situation would look like after getting married. As a teacher, her plan is to work toward loan forgiveness via the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. She has completed about 4 years of payments and has 6 more years to go. (her speech pathology program was extremely expensive and long leading to the 250k debt).
We both currently share an apartment, but we would be looking to purchase a home after marriage. Home values in our area are around 175-200k for a small home.

We are also discussing having children, and she is feeling a lot pressure from her biological clock to have kids shortly after getting married.
This future state (student loan debt, mortgage debt, childcare expenses), basically starting our new life together under a pile of debt, has me in quite a sense of paralyzed fear of moving forward. Our relationship is a good one and I’m sure we could tackle these challenges, but I could use help in understanding exactly how bad of a situation this would be.

Jags4186
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by Jags4186 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:00 pm

The first thing you should do today, before worrying about anything else, is making sure she is actually working towards PSLF. Don’t be one of those people at year 10 to be “surprised” to find out none of their debt is being forgiven.

The next thing you should do is sit down and map out what your life is likely to look like in 1, 3, 5, 10 years. Are you okay with that picture?

You’re a federal employee and if you intend to stay there you likely will be getting modest raises. She’s a teacher and likely is in the same boat. You’ll both likely be getting very nice pensions.

There will be sacrifice if you have mountains of debt and kids, but none of this seems so far gone that it’d be impossible. But realize you personally will be taking a financial step back if you marry. If you love the woman enough to marry her, it shouldn’t matter.

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Cyclesafe
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by Cyclesafe » Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:20 pm

Your business. But you're committing financial hara-kiri here.

Together, the present combination of your finances is awful, but you're also planning an imminent purchase of a house and immediately having children. There is absolutely no positive financial spin to put on this.

[OT comments removed by admin LadyGeek]
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theplayer11
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by theplayer11 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:56 pm

Cyclesafe wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:20 pm
Your business. But you're committing financial hara-kiri here.

Together, the present combination of your finances is awful, but you're also planning an imminent purchase of a house and immediately having children. There is absolutely no positive financial spin to put on this.

[OT comments removed by admin LadyGeek]
disagree..170k income? Just tighten your belts and the debt could be paid off in 5 years..

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Stinky
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by Stinky » Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:00 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:00 pm
The first thing you should do today, before worrying about anything else, is making sure she is actually working towards PSLF. Don’t be one of those people at year 10 to be “surprised” to find out none of their debt is being forgiven.
First things first. Do this ^^^^.

I’ve heard too many stories of people who thought they were on track to forgiveness - until they found out that they weren’t.

While you’re at it, check out what happens to forgiveness if she takes a few years off to have kids.
It's a GREAT day to be alive - Travis Tritt

delamer
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by delamer » Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:10 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:00 pm
The first thing you should do today, before worrying about anything else, is making sure she is actually working towards PSLF. Don’t be one of those people at year 10 to be “surprised” to find out none of their debt is being forgiven.

The next thing you should do is sit down and map out what your life is likely to look like in 1, 3, 5, 10 years. Are you okay with that picture?

You’re a federal employee and if you intend to stay there you likely will be getting modest raises. She’s a teacher and likely is in the same boat. You’ll both likely be getting very nice pensions.

There will be sacrifice if you have mountains of debt and kids, but none of this seems so far gone that it’d be impossible. But realize you personally will be taking a financial step back if you marry. If you love the woman enough to marry her, it shouldn’t matter.
This is good advice.

Don’t buy a house until the student loan debt is gone, however.

Either wait until the forgiveness occurs or make a major commitment to paying off the debt by living very frugally (once you are married).

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aspirit
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by aspirit » Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:23 pm

Cyclesafe wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:20 pm
Your business. But you're committing financial hara-kiri here.

Together, the present combination of your finances is awful, but you're also planning an imminent purchase of a house and immediately having children. There is absolutely no positive financial spin to put on this.

[OT comments removed by admin LadyGeek]
I somewhat concur.
Maybe your part of her new plan, maybe not :D .
See what I did there?

Heres an prior thread to read.
viewtopic.php?t=81790&start=100.

Good luck!
Time & tides wait for no one. A man has to know his limitations. | "Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes it's laws" | — Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild ~

aristotelian
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by aristotelian » Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:31 pm

theplayer11 wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:56 pm
Cyclesafe wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:20 pm
Your business. But you're committing financial hara-kiri here.

Together, the present combination of your finances is awful, but you're also planning an imminent purchase of a house and immediately having children. There is absolutely no positive financial spin to put on this.

[OT comments removed by admin LadyGeek]
disagree..170k income? Just tighten your belts and the debt could be paid off in 5 years..
Not only that, she is planning on PSLF. They don't even have to pay off the loans aggressively.

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8foot7
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by 8foot7 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:35 pm

Will her income ever increase substantially beyond 60k? 250k is an absurd amount of debt to accrue for a job that doesn’t pay six figures pretty quickly.

I understand that she probably feels the biological clock ticking. But sometimes your choices have consequences and if you take a long time and borrow a lot of money to get a degree, then that may mean you don’t get to have kids on your schedule.

I would very strongly caution you here. If she’s the one then she’s the one. But if you have doubts, her ovaries + your stability could equal a significant loss for you. She may feel a lot of internal and external pressure to get you locked down. If later it doesn’t feel quite right, well, you could be in for hurting.

I’m not sure that I would get married in your situation. The upside for you is very unclear. She can still get everything she wants (baby and house) without tying the knot. You can always get married later, espnwhen the debt is down/gone. But a divorce with your profiles could really suck.

HomeStretch
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by HomeStretch » Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:39 pm

Have you had a direct honest conversation with your gf along the lines of what you posted here?

delamer
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by delamer » Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:40 pm

8foot7 wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:35 pm
Will her income ever increase substantially beyond 60k? 250k is an absurd amount of debt to accrue for a job that doesn’t pay six figures pretty quickly.

I understand that she probably feels the biological clock ticking. But sometimes your choices have consequences and if you take a long time and borrow a lot of money to get a degree, then that may mean you don’t get to have kids on your schedule.

I would very strongly caution you here. If she’s the one then she’s the one. But if you have doubts, her ovaries + your stability could equal a significant loss for you. She may feel a lot of internal and external pressure to get you locked down. If later it doesn’t feel quite right, well, you could be in for hurting.

I’m not sure that I would get married in your situation. The upside for you is very unclear. She can still get everything she wants (baby and house) without tying the knot. You can always get married later, espnwhen the debt is down/gone. But a divorce with your profiles could really suck.
So you are suggesting they have a child and buy a house, but not get married?

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CAsage
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by CAsage » Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:42 pm

Do either of you have any family nearby that could offset the future childcare costs? Or help juggle a two-parent working family? If your future wife only works during the school year, and has summers and those many school breaks off, that will really help with childcare once you get into the Kinder+ years. Housing in your area sounds incredibly reasonable, what would the mortgage vs rental trade be? If you do buy, make sure it's a small 2+1 house for now, and you can add on or trade up when the kids get into school. Future wife MUST KEEP WORKING = and that's a tough one. Many people work the two-income family issues, and it significantly pays off in the long run financially, but it's hectic. And look into serious budgeting, Mr. Money Mustache to tackle that debt. And, I hate to say this.... consider sequestering your current assets or a prenup. Just saying.
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IowaFarmWife
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by IowaFarmWife » Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:43 pm

First of all, I already LOVE your girl friend! I am a Speech Language Pathologist myself, and we are pretty great people! :) :sharebeer

In all honestly, I do understand your worry about the debt, but is she is in education (or working for a non profit), and assuming she is able qualify for the student loan forgiveness program, it will be taken care of. I am in this program, too, and you do have to be careful to follow the rules, but I have known other people in education that have gotten the loans forgiven through this program, and it does work. Also, SLPs are in very high demand almost everywhere, and if you move, she will be able to get a job almost anywhere you go to.
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Dottie57
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by Dottie57 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:49 pm

As much as I hate to say it, you should be extremely cautious. If you do get married you should have a prenup which protects you. I can’t imagine spending that much on a degree paying 60k a year.


How do you both see your financial life?

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8foot7
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by 8foot7 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:51 pm

delamer wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:40 pm
8foot7 wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:35 pm
Will her income ever increase substantially beyond 60k? 250k is an absurd amount of debt to accrue for a job that doesn’t pay six figures pretty quickly.

I understand that she probably feels the biological clock ticking. But sometimes your choices have consequences and if you take a long time and borrow a lot of money to get a degree, then that may mean you don’t get to have kids on your schedule.

I would very strongly caution you here. If she’s the one then she’s the one. But if you have doubts, her ovaries + your stability could equal a significant loss for you. She may feel a lot of internal and external pressure to get you locked down. If later it doesn’t feel quite right, well, you could be in for hurting.

I’m not sure that I would get married in your situation. The upside for you is very unclear. She can still get everything she wants (baby and house) without tying the knot. You can always get married later, espnwhen the debt is down/gone. But a divorce with your profiles could really suck.
So you are suggesting they have a child and buy a house, but not get married?
I am suggesting that both of those things can happen without getting married and further that one of OP’s biggest risks here is actually getting married in the financial position they are in. I don’t think either buying a house or having a baby are necessarily good ideas for this couple at this point in time (in fact I would argue that your girlfriend already bought her house—her diploma) but I was pointing out that both can be done without being married.

yohac
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by yohac » Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:58 pm

More important than student loan debt is whether you are on the same page going forward. Is she by nature more of a spender or saver? Will she really be satisfied with a 200K home? Does she want one kid or five? You need to have a frank discussion on this before considering next levels.

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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by ladycat » Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:16 pm

Dottie57 wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:49 pm
As much as I hate to say it, you should be extremely cautious. If you do get married you should have a prenup which protects you. I can’t imagine spending that much on a degree paying 60k a year.
At 34, that seems like a very high debt compared to a relatively moderate income potential (web search says $100k annual salary is on the higher end).

If income will stay at $60k for a while, that level of debt-to-income is not something I'd want to co-own. Is continuing with life (house, possible children) without marriage for 6 years until her loan is potentially forgiven an option?

nexesn
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by nexesn » Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:24 pm

mstone3 wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 4:52 pm
Hello – I have a rather complex situation and would appreciate any comments from the BH community that might ease (or validate) my financial anxiety:

My gf and I have been together three years, and it’s time to take the next steps in our relationship (i.e. marriage). Our financial situations are currently quite different:

About me: Age 36, federal employee, income $110k. Total savings 300k (about 100k in taxable, 200k in retirement). No debt.
About her: Age 34, speech-pathologist, income 60k. Total savings 20k. Student loan debt 250k

I admittedly have a lot of concern about what our combined financial situation would look like after getting married. As a teacher, her plan is to work toward loan forgiveness via the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. She has completed about 4 years of payments and has 6 more years to go. (her speech pathology program was extremely expensive and long leading to the 250k debt).
We both currently share an apartment, but we would be looking to purchase a home after marriage. Home values in our area are around 175-200k for a small home.

We are also discussing having children, and she is feeling a lot pressure from her biological clock to have kids shortly after getting married.
This future state (student loan debt, mortgage debt, childcare expenses), basically starting our new life together under a pile of debt, has me in quite a sense of paralyzed fear of moving forward. Our relationship is a good one and I’m sure we could tackle these challenges, but I could use help in understanding exactly how bad of a situation this would be.
First, congratulations on finding that special someone. Second, congratulations on finding that special someone that also doesn't sound as though she mismanages money (Student loan sucks, but some people don't have choices).

I agree about verifying that she is on the right track with PSLF (I've been reading some crappy stories recently.

I don't have much more to add. However, I was listening to a recent Podcast that you might like. It was discussing two people that were in a similar situation as yours. It's produced by MarketPlace.

https://www.marketplace.org/shows/this- ... -it-weird/

Katietsu
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by Katietsu » Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:30 pm

Sometimes anxiety is associated with the unknown. Have you considered sitting down and working out a budget as it would look with post marriage student loan payments, taxes, house payment and child costs?

You mention a house equal to only one year of income. You mention moving ahead with children when the mother would be mid 30’s already. You mention using PSLF. These are all actions consistent with a financially responsible person. I would not let finances stop you from moving forward if you can jointly agree on a budget moving forward.

Is this the only thing holding you back? The challenges most face during a lifelong marriage and parenting will be much more daunting than student loans eligible for an income based repayment plan and PSLF.

TravelforFun
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by TravelforFun » Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:41 pm

yohac wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:58 pm
More important than student loan debt is whether you are on the same page going forward. Is she by nature more of a spender or saver?
A very important question. If you two are on the same page going forward, you can conquer your (no longer her) debts and win financially.

TravelforFun

sd323232
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by sd323232 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 7:54 pm

Cyclesafe wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 5:20 pm
Your business. But you're committing financial hara-kiri here.

Together, the present combination of your finances is awful, but you're also planning an imminent purchase of a house and immediately having children. There is absolutely no positive financial spin to put on this.

[OT comments removed by admin LadyGeek]
OP, i agree with advice above. If you dont get married, you will be millionaire very fast. If you choose to marry her, you may never become financially independent. Are you ok with this? Money is not everything in life, but you have to make a choice, marry her and basically never recover financially (250k student debt, then buying house, having kids, etc....) or break it off and become millionaire before 40 or sooner after that.

If it was me, i would break it off, 250K is a biiiiig burden. Also, there are plenty of quality women out there without this much debt. Your life will not be over, you will meet someone else. I know its tough, but you are having second thoughts here and thats what i would advice if you were my best friend, brother, or someone close.

Whatever you choose, i wish you luck!

junior
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by junior » Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:06 pm

Good lord you've gotten some terrible advice here.You really shouldn't go to the Bogleheads web site for what is really relationship advice.

I'll point out PSLF, if followed properly, makes your girlfriend's debt fairly trivial. The nominal amount of the debt is irrelevent assuming its the right type of loans for PSLF and the right type of payment plan. (Direct loans I think, with income based repayment or REPAYE i think).
Last edited by junior on Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Natsdoc
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by Natsdoc » Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:08 pm

HomeStretch wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:39 pm
Have you had a direct honest conversation with your gf along the lines of what you posted here?
Agree. You need to talk to her ASAP about this. The two of you need to discuss what your financial future will look like and how the two of you will work together approach debt, plan your family, and build wealth.
White coat investor’s blog has lots of good info on student loan management, PSLF, and there are some fee based financial planners who specialize in student debt planning.

Or you could just show her this thread and when she realizes her live-in boyfriend of three years is relying on the advice of strangers on the internet to determine the future of the relationship. It may suddenly become a non-issue.

CoastalWinds
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by CoastalWinds » Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:16 pm

I would recommend a Prenup. Each of your assets and debts going in are yours individually. Anything acquired together once married is community. It’s not about the legal document, it’s about having the open discussion that naturally leads to the content of the document. If you can’t have the discussion now, then be prepared to have it later under more difficult circumstances.

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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by mrspock » Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:33 am

HomeStretch wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:39 pm
Have you had a direct honest conversation with your gf along the lines of what you posted here?
I think this is good advice, it’s a great sign you know here financial situation. Work out the money/debt plan before having kids too... once kids happen, everything will change. Prenup all you want... but after kids, you will forever be in each other’s lives, so figure out the money first.

Wish you all the best in figuring this out!

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Tamarind
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by Tamarind » Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:53 am

I also recommend talking to your gf. She surely knows she has a lot of debt, and her history with and reactions around money are key. You are very unlikely to be held liable for her debt, so I don't think a prenup will do you any good. But you still need to have the discussion about how you want to handle money together.

For example, she needs to know that the idea of drastically increasing your obligations (adding mortgage and kids on top of her loans) makes you really nervous. She might well be nervous too as getting married and adding your income might impact her repayment plan.

What might you both do to find a strategy that works for you both? Perhaps you need to put off the home purchase for a few years and focus on the debt and on starting your family. Perhaps you need to talk in more detail about how many kids each of you wants and with what spacing. The important thing is that you are able to arrive at a strategy together without either of you sweeping your anxiety under the rug.

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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by Nissanzx1 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 6:37 am

I would probably like to know how much of the student loan she has paid off since degree completion? I would certainly not include student loan forgiveness in your financial plan after marriage, because we just don’t know politically what will happen.

That leaves you married, with all these loans and a pretty decent income. If you are willing to focus 100% on the debt and have no life and take extra jobs- you should be able to do this in around 3-4 years. I’d get a firm commitment from her in writing before beginning the journey. Make sure you can stomach this before signing that document. This will be a major sacrifice, she’s made a huge mess here with these loans.

If she’s only willing to pay the minimums, wants a baby and a house immediately...... I’d say you are in trouble. You have to make sure you won’t resent the next 10-20 years.

Vanguard Fan 1367
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by Vanguard Fan 1367 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 7:12 am

My wife and I had parents that grew up in the Great Depression. Both of us learned how to pinch pennies. My wife's grandmother had 12 kids that grew to adults on the farm in AL and they were very poor.

If you and the wife can live on a tight budget I think you have plenty of money to have the kids and buy a house.

If you need expensive cars, vacations, clothes, etc. then it could be a challenge. I like Dave Ramsey's advice to drive a beater car.

I hope that she is indeed crossing all the t's for the student loan forgiveness. That would be a great deal.
Last edited by Vanguard Fan 1367 on Mon Aug 05, 2019 7:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

basspond
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by basspond » Mon Aug 05, 2019 7:12 am

Reality overrides biology. Agree to get married soon, not buy a house, and to not even think about having children until the student loan is cleaned up. I wouldn't use over 50% of your combined taxable savings to throw at the debt. Good luck.

petulant
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by petulant » Mon Aug 05, 2019 7:30 am

Does she plan to work after having children? If she wants to stop working that could cause a problem for PSLF since PSLF requires you to actually keep working.

DVMResident
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by DVMResident » Mon Aug 05, 2019 7:44 am

OP, I went through something similar though was a bit younger. I earned quite a bit less but saved a ton and had much higher salary potential (like 3x-5x higher). My then partner, now wife, had a lot of student debt with much lower earning potential, wanted kids, and hated the debt (though wasn’t and isn’t a ‘saver’ in the BH sense). I went through a similar crisis of ‘what am I committing to?’ 2 years into the relationship, she moved in with me while I paid rent while she paid off her loans. She throw every extra penny for 18 months into those loans. Watching that behavioral discipline really built up my trust. Fast forward, had a kid, wife stayed home for ~3 years and restarting her career now. It was a serious fiscal hit compared to my hypothetical single self but we still saving close to half—so very good. It’s all working out nicely.

I don’t know that have any advice or special insight, but you have the best insight into the her fiscal behaviors and attitudes. Have confidence in your assessment.

I also agree with others about the prenup suggestion. Include the current pension value to date in the prenup.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Mon Aug 05, 2019 7:49 am

Really, you should have gotten better financial advice and less relationship advice from this post. You should treat this more like an MBA case study.

You should look at several options -

1, she stays employed and pays off the loans via PSLF. As mentioned repeatedly above, make sure she is really on the right track to pay off the loans this way - the loans qualify, she is making the right payments and keeping the right records. She should be able to educate you on this, so that you both understand the process. She'll need to feel committed to staying employed long enough to complete this - working and raising kids is possible, many people do it and have done it. It isn't easy, but then neither is staying home with kids. It's all hard, but you have to make your choice and then make your choice work.

2, you give up on PSLF and start paying off her loans aggressively. Probably means living like grad students for a few years, kids or no kids, but it's very doable. This probably also means you quit contributing to your retirement accounts except maybe whatever it takes to get the employer match. Probably means putting off the house purchase and living a lesser lifestyle than your colleagues. But it can work. This option gives you both more freedom to make choices about employment that are not constrained by PSLF rules.

3, she stays with PLSF but takes a break in employment, maybe because your kids have special needs.

4, you lose your job and need to move or live on her income for a while.

5, other possibilities that seem likely to you. I would not consider using your retirement funds to pay off the loans, but you can do the math if you want and see if that makes sense somehow. It's just not obvious to me how it ever would.

Putting numbers down on paper (or on screens) next to stories about how these numbers will come about helps you discuss real plans and their consequences instead of thrashing and fretting.

Right now the loans are in her name. If you commit to PSLF, or if you are going to divorce, it's vitally important to keep them as they are and in her name only. If you decide against PSLF it could make sense to refinance to lower the interest rate, but that might mean putting your name on the new loans.

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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by SRenaeP » Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:00 am

basspond wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 7:12 am
Reality overrides biology. Agree to get married soon, not buy a house, and to not even think about having children until the student loan is cleaned up. I wouldn't use over 50% of your combined taxable savings to throw at the debt. Good luck.
That's not realistic given the gf's age. Age 35 is considered an advanced maternal age for child-bearing. In addition, once you hit 35, and especially if it's your first pregnancy, you're considered high risk. Six years from now, the gf will be 40 at which point her fertility will have further decreased and the probability of birth defects or other issues will increase.

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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by 8foot7 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:02 am

Those of you who are saying the loans are in her name are correct in principle. Technically he will never be liable directly to pay the debt. And for goodness' sake don't ever put your name on these loans through a refinance or anything else! The refinance loses the PSLF eligibility and would probably require you to be a co-borrower, which then does turn this debt into your debt officially.

But should a divorce come, the argument about equitable treatment will go something like this: he makes six figures in a stable federal job and has no debt and a solid pension as well as savings, while she has a low-paying job and has 250k, or 225k, or 190k or whatever of student loans, so what would be fair is a massive transfer of assets from him to her so that they exit the relationship as fairly to both of them as possible.
Or she takes time off to raise the kid and then divorce comes and all of a sudden she is still five years away from forgiveness, a single mother making 60k trying to return to the workforce with 225k of student loan debt. You think that doesnt factor in to what he has to give away? If not, you don't know divorce court.

Again, OP can do all of the life progressions that OP and GF decide to do without getting married. Marriage has no clear financial upside for OP at this current point in time and some real risks whether or not you believe them. If I were OP's GF, I would understand that I'm bringing a lot of baggage to the table and until that was cleaned up, perhaps being in a committed relationship is enough without tying the knot.

Once the debt is forgiven or paid, then that makes for a much more balanced start to an eventual marriage.

Freefun
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by Freefun » Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:11 am

I think the initial step is to have a heart-to-heart conversation to make sure that your financial values, strategy etc. are compatible . If they are not then you’re much better off knowing now.
Remember when you wanted what you currently have?

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8foot7
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by 8foot7 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:27 am

Doing the math here, OP's GF is doing PSLF which is a ten year program. She has completed four years of payments, and is 34 now, which means she was 30 when she graduated with what I'll call a non-medical degree (in that she's not an MD, which is the degree you would expect to receive when you graduate college at 30). That means that, assuming she was eligible for college at 18-20, she took somewhere between 10-12 years to complete her higher education and borrowed $250,000 in the process, and then chose a low-paying profession.

OP, is this correct? If so, it does not seem that she has demonstrated great financial prowess at all in general. Taking a decade to graduate and borrowing the equivalent of a middle-class mortgage to get a degree in a relatively low-paying field is not really a great money move and also did not happen all at once...

Or perhaps there is more to the story that would add some context around this.

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Cyclesafe
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by Cyclesafe » Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:47 am

My post was censored. I respect the rules and believe that posting here is a privilege. I am NOT the arbitrator of what is acceptable and not.

So if I may restate my point in a more indirect manner.....

OP's girlfriend has gotten him into a serious jam. He feels anxiety that he is being forced into something financially foolish. If he commits, he will induce financial hardship at best or financial ruin at worst. If he doesn't, most of his world will think of him as a jerk. But the mistake was made the day they kicked the can down the road and co-habituated. Now he faces the consequences.

Many men have faced this Hobson's choice and will do so in the future. OP should google elsewhere to see how men have (for better or worse) handled (or wish they had handled) this situation.
"Plans are useless; planning is indispensable.” - Dwight Eisenhower

remomnyc
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by remomnyc » Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:21 am

I would postpone children and house until her debt is paid off. If she's advanced maternal age, she may want to freeze some eggs now. For me, age 34 with $250k of student loan debt is a red flag. Make sure she is committed to completing the 10 years of work for the PSLF. I can easily see a scenario where she gets pregnant and quits working and loses her eligibility under the PSLF and you're stuck on your own with her $250k student debt, a mortgage and child(ren). Make sure you're on the same page. If you decide to have children now, make sure you have affordable childcare lined up so she can continue to work.

tea_pirate
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by tea_pirate » Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:24 am

Cyclesafe wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:47 am
Many men have faced this Hobson's choice and will do so in the future. OP should google elsewhere to see how men have (for better or worse) handled (or wish they had handled) this situation.
Google it for what, so he can find his way over to toxic "redpill" communities filled with losers and bitter divorcees?

OP you will be fine. Think of how many people go into marriage and having kids with a hugely negative net worth. And they have no clue how to handle money to get themselves out of the hole, which clearly isn't the case since you saved up $300k by 36. Even if she didn't get the PSLF you'd be totally fine financially in terms of retirement. With the PSLF I think early retirement in your mid-50's is very feasible if that's something you're interested in.

Don't listen to the forum extremists who put money above all else in life - there's a reason they are the way they are.

tea_pirate
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by tea_pirate » Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:32 am

remomnyc wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:21 am
If she's advanced maternal age, she may want to freeze some eggs now.
Absurd. They could wipe out 20% of the debt today with what the costs of treatment and storage would run them. Terrible idea if they're pursuing PSLF, but still.

dbr
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by dbr » Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:34 am

What are the implications for PSLF if the wife continues to work through pregnancy and childbirth with usual provisions for maternity leave, paid or unpaid? Lots of couples continue in employment while having children, but the PSLF is a special circumstance the technicalities of which need to be understood. Here is an article addressing maternity leave and PSLF https://www.deeplyindebt.com/pslf-and-maternity-leave/ Note that school teaching can include summer vacation and maternity leave for a longer time home if the couple is successful at timing the pregnancy.

I think the best antidote for financial anxiety is thinking through the situation and having a good plan and a good backup plan.

I would also observe that this couple has better resources for meeting financial needs than probably 90% of potential couples in this country today.

remomnyc
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by remomnyc » Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:08 am

tea_pirate wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:32 am
remomnyc wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:21 am
If she's advanced maternal age, she may want to freeze some eggs now.
Absurd. They could wipe out 20% of the debt today with what the costs of treatment and storage would run them. Terrible idea if they're pursuing PSLF, but still.
Freezing eggs is $5k to $8k. I know many women who did it because they wanted to wait for a partner before having children but were afraid their eggs would no longer be viable. Every place I have worked has covered a few rounds of IVF. Freezing eggs is cheaper than rushing to have children when one is feeling anxious and uncertain.

delamer
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by delamer » Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:21 am

Cyclesafe wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:47 am
My post was censored. I respect the rules and believe that posting here is a privilege. I am NOT the arbitrator of what is acceptable and not.

So if I may restate my point in a more indirect manner.....

OP's girlfriend has gotten him into a serious jam. He feels anxiety that he is being forced into something financially foolish. If he commits, he will induce financial hardship at best or financial ruin at worst. If he doesn't, most of his world will think of him as a jerk. But the mistake was made the day they kicked the can down the road and co-habituated. Now he faces the consequences.

Many men have faced this Hobson's choice and will do so in the future. OP should google elsewhere to see how men have (for better or worse) handled (or wish they had handled) this situation.
You write as if only men in the position to make difficult financial decisions with regard to relationships. Would you like to hear about my co-worker who worked full-time (with a long commute) while managing a chronic illness? In the meantime, her husband spent his days “developing clients” on the golf course for his small business.

And OP’S girlfriend didn’t get him “into a serious financial jam.” They are both adults and have made choices that led to their current circumstances. OP’S concerns are valid, but there are no guarantees going forward. He could end up on disability in 10 years and she’ll be the main source of the family’s income.

Know the character of the person you are marrying, plan to carry your fair share of the load, and expect that sometimes things will go off track.

mptfan
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by mptfan » Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:28 am

delamer wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:21 am
You write as if only men in the position to make difficult financial decisions with regard to relationships.
Cyclesafe was responding to a man's post and offering the male point of view, I don't see how the post was written "as if only men in the position to make difficult financial decisions with regard to relationships."

shell921
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by shell921 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:28 am

"We are also discussing having children, and she is feeling a lot pressure from her biological clock to have kids shortly after getting married."

How do YOU feel about having children? The marriages I knew about -where the woman rushed the man into fatherhood- all fell apart.
Like someone else said, rushing to have children when one is feeling anxious and uncertain is a bad idea.

Also do you know it costs about $250K in today's money to raise a kid to age 18?
That's a no-frills upbringing too- no music lessons, braces etc. It's expensive.

Also know that once you become a parent, YOUR needs will now come last.
It's a 24/7 job that will last a minimum of 18-20 years [ if you're lucky] with no pay and no days off.

260chrisb
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by 260chrisb » Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:43 am

If she's getting forgiveness hopefully most of that debt will be gone in the next 5-6 years before you start having kids. At your combined income you can pay off a lot of things. Good luck, I'm sure you'll do well. On a separate note and nothing personal; when is our society and this generation going to understand that 250K in student loan debt for a 60K a year income isn't a good idea?? Wow! I can't imagine it at my age and it's unfathomable at your ages!

Freetime76
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by Freetime76 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:00 am

junior wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 9:06 pm
Good lord you've gotten some terrible advice here.You really shouldn't go to the Bogleheads web site for what is really relationship advice.

I'll point out PSLF, if followed properly, makes your girlfriend's debt fairly trivial. The nominal amount of the debt is irrelevent assuming its the right type of loans for PSLF and the right type of payment plan. (Direct loans I think, with income based repayment or REPAYE i think).
+1000 on this one. I can assure you that if my DH talked about money the way some of these comments are written, I would not have deigned to marry his sweet self - lol :!: His life is considerably richer with me in it :D both in color, fun, AND financially.

I’ve found that the most critical thing is that we map a plan together for our finances and goals, and discuss (with great vigor at times :shock: ) changes. In a good marriage, you will both/each grow as people, and so will your finances. My husband has accomplished far more for us than he would ever bother for himself (he can live on nothing, whereas I have expectations to enhance both of our lives...). FWIW, this is my 2nd marriage, no kids, we live below our means. Our situation was the opposite-his credit was awful, no savings, unemployed when we met, and at a turning point in his life. I had escaped a boring marriage to a fiscally conservative IT guy, who was not at all frugal person (if that makes any sense). This person looks way better on paper. My DH of today is way better for me, and we’ve created a life of abundance and wealth together.

“Marriage isn’t for you, it’s for her” - meaning marriage is about the Other person, not yourself. There’s nothing that says you can’t have a house, kids, etc. you may choose to prioritize when/how much to ensure a financially stable life. Good luck!

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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by fru-gal » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:05 am

8foot7 wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:35 pm
I understand that she probably feels the biological clock ticking. But sometimes your choices have consequences and if you take a long time and borrow a lot of money to get a degree, then that may mean you don’t get to have kids on your schedule.
She's 34. Female fertility starts going into the bit bucket in the second half of the thirties. If she were 24, it would be a different situation. A previous poster who suggested waiting "5 or 6 years" that is, until she's 39 or 40 is living in fantasy land.

JHU ALmuni
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by JHU ALmuni » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:09 am

🏃🏃🏃🏃🏃
Last edited by JHU ALmuni on Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

yohac
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Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by yohac » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:09 am

mstone3 wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 4:52 pm
Our relationship is a good one and I’m sure we could tackle these challenges, but I could use help in understanding exactly how bad of a situation this would be.
The OP was kinda asking for a cost-benefit analysis (otherwise why come here) but not quite everything in life is about money. If you can have "the talk", which is a major buzzkill for a prospective bride, and both come out of it smiling, you'll be fine. If you can't, better to know now. It doesn't get any easier later.

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