Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
User avatar
8foot7
Posts: 1736
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:29 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by 8foot7 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:13 am

fru-gal wrote:
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.
I stand by what I said. She made choices throughout her 20s and 30s in life and money. Whether she hears her biological clock or not, she put herself in a position where she may not be able to afford children when she is fertile.

rgzeta
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu May 17, 2018 6:47 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by rgzeta » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:13 am

You need real numbers on cash flow -- with those loans, you can't afford to not have a financial plan at all, but in my opinion it's by no means anywhere near as dire as you appear to fear (speaking as a stranger reading words on a screen!).

Like others have said, ideally your girlfriend will know the details on how she's been following the requirements for PSLF; it sounds like you would be reassured if you reviewed that plan with her. From there, depending on the exact flavor of repayment plan she's on (e.g. REPAYE / PAYE / etc), the immediate cash-flow situation for the loans, by my understanding, can be approximated as an additional N% tax rate (where N ranges from 10-20) on income that is visible to the servicer in calculating the income-based repayment plan. Whether your income can be shielded by filing MFS depends on the exact plan and isn't something I'm certain on. Even if not, I'm not remotely convinced that there is an imminent financial catastrophe without seeing numbers to support that. Note that while student loans aren't dischargeable in bankruptcy (and thus somewhat scary), federal ones have reasonable protections -- in the event of unemployment causing a cash flow crisis, you can recertify your income in light of unemployment to throttle down your payments.

Maverick3320
Posts: 530
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 2:59 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by Maverick3320 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:19 am

tea_pirate wrote:
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.
"Don't listen to the forum extremists who put money above all else in life..."

Yes, Bogleheads have been known to be extremists when it comes to financial prudence. I'm not sure what any of this has to do with "redpill" communities, but to me, the only people bringing up redpill anything in everyday conversation are the actual extremists.

User avatar
8foot7
Posts: 1736
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:29 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by 8foot7 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:21 am

OP, is it 250,000 in debt or 175,000? viewtopic.php?f=2&t=214847&p=3299214#p3299214

Another red flag is that the debt seems to increase, although I suppose that might be from a repayment program that doesn't require enough of a payment to pay down principal. But that's a huge increase in debt load from one thread to the next over two years. What happened?

Whatever the ultimate answer is, you need to make the call now if you're going to end the relationship. Otherwise you are not being fair to her, continuing in a relationship for two additional years while knowing roughly the state of this debt. If it's a deal breaker, then let it break the deal. Otherwise suck it up and figure out the best way forward with it in mind (I still vote don't get married until it's gone).
Last edited by 8foot7 on Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

Maverick3320
Posts: 530
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 2:59 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by Maverick3320 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:23 am

delamer wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:33 am
mptfan wrote:
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."
I take your point that he wasn’t claiming that women don’t have financial issues in relationship.

I don’t agree that he is “offering the male point of view.” He is offering his own point of view that has a very cynical perception of women.
Perhaps his "cynical" views have some basis in divorce court reality?

surfstar
Posts: 1893
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:17 pm
Location: Santa Barbara, CA

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by surfstar » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:23 am

Geez

If you feel like this is the person you want to spend your life with, do it. If she (and you!) want kids, that should happen sooner than later.
Finances will be fine.

Would you be happier with more money and without her? Or would you be happier with less money, but with her and a family. That's the choice here. Listen to yourself, not random downers online.

Katietsu
Posts: 2747
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:48 am

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by Katietsu » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:25 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.
Biology is reality. She will already be considered of advanced maternal age even if she got pregnant now.

PSLF is legitimate. Working towards PSLF is cleaning it up. I am debt averse. But you must consider the risk of needing donor eggs, of miscarriage, of birth defects vs the risk that the federal government gets rid of PSLF even for someone halfway through with only a 60k income.

This is about whether they can work together with an acceptable budget in the future. They need to discuss this. An earlier thread says that she is financially responsible and frugal.
Last edited by Katietsu on Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

delamer
Posts: 9492
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by delamer » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:38 am

Maverick3320 wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:23 am
delamer wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:33 am
mptfan wrote:
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."
I take your point that he wasn’t claiming that women don’t have financial issues in relationship.

I don’t agree that he is “offering the male point of view.” He is offering his own point of view that has a very cynical perception of women.
Perhaps his "cynical" views have some basis in divorce court reality?
Undoubtedly.

Just like everyone’s personal experiences informs their opinions. And relating those personal experiences can be helpful to others.

But Cyclesafe blaming the OP’s girlfriend for getting OP “into a serious jam” and saying that “if he commits, he will induce financial hardship at best or financial ruin at worst” is taking things too far.

Suggesting caution is different than fearmongering.

nexesn
Posts: 136
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:15 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by nexesn » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:54 am

delamer wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:38 am
Maverick3320 wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:23 am
delamer wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 10:33 am
mptfan wrote:
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."
I take your point that he wasn’t claiming that women don’t have financial issues in relationship.

I don’t agree that he is “offering the male point of view.” He is offering his own point of view that has a very cynical perception of women.
Perhaps his "cynical" views have some basis in divorce court reality?
Undoubtedly.

Just like everyone’s personal experiences informs their opinions. And relating those personal experiences can be helpful to others.

But Cyclesafe blaming the OP’s girlfriend for getting OP “into a serious jam” and saying that “if he commits, he will induce financial hardship at best or financial ruin at worst” is taking things too far.

Suggesting caution is different than fearmongering.

+1 to this.
None of us can predict the future. Life is complicated. Finances are complicated. Politics is complicated. I think what we all hope to strive for is being in a better position than we were in the past. It's hard to say what financial road this relationship will take you (There have been relationships with couples both starting with positive savings that have seen those savings turn to negative and there are couples who have had far more debt to deal with that have found ways to save and be happy).

If you think this person is right for you, and the only thing holding you back is nerves of finances, then I'm sorry there is debt, but congratulations for finding someone whom you love and are compatible with.

If she is on the same page as you financially, then I think you are in good hands. The debt is obviously there, but so is -hopefully- the love.

As a dear friend of mine used to say "Life doesn't offer rematches".

Edit: Think of it this way. If she'd never taken out the debt to get this current career, the two of you possibly never would have met. Again, it all comes down to "Going forward, are the two of you on the same financial page?".
Last edited by nexesn on Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

GCD
Posts: 1003
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:11 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by GCD » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:55 am

I'll stay out of the relationship stuff, but I want to re-emphasize that you have to dial down on the PSLF details. Back in the early 90's I took out a lot of student loan debt thinking that I would qualify for it to be forgiven. It turned out I had the wrong kind of loans. Those loans, by the time I paid them back with interest, cost me about $96,000. It was obviously a costly mistake. Make sure she isn't on cruise control headed down the wrong road.

BarbBrooklyn
Posts: 593
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:33 am
Location: NYC

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by BarbBrooklyn » Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:09 pm

I just read your post from 2 years ago, in which you said that she is financially very prudent.

This issue has been on your mind for a long time now. I wonder if you ever considered sitting down with a counselor who does pre-marriage sessions. My daughter and son in law, who come from very VERY different social/economic and cultural backgrounds, have said it was the single smartest thing they ever done. (His mom worked on the "envelope system". My daughter thought that was a great idea until she realized that my SIL was talking about actual envelopes.)

Consider sitting down with a skilled professional in this field and find some way to allay your nagging doubts about this relationship, or move on. (EDITED for typos)
BarbBrooklyn | "The enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."

CoastalWinds
Posts: 717
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:28 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by CoastalWinds » Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:15 pm

mstone3 wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 4:52 pm
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:
I admittedly have a lot of concern about what our combined financial situation would look like after getting married.
There is a lot in these words.

“It is time” ... says who?? Is one of you self-imposing a clock on the relationship? Is it because of the maternal clock ticking? If so, IMHO, these are not good reasons to get married. Marriage should be because you have found someone who shares your values, life’s dreams, goals, and ups/downs with.

You said you have a lot of concern. Marriage should also be about supporting each other during times of struggle, which you are going through right now. So, what an amazing test opportunity this presents! Is she understanding of your struggles? Are you able to bring them up with her? How does she react? Is she helping, especially considering she is the one bringing the financial woes into the situation?

You should take all the time you need/want to get this right. If that precludes having kids, so be it. Marriage should not be a means to an end.
Last edited by CoastalWinds on Mon Aug 05, 2019 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

H-Town
Posts: 2264
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2017 2:08 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by H-Town » Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:23 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.
Take a deep breath and plan it out with your gf. Put it on Excel the cost of each decision and put a priority for each decision.

1) Wedding: can it be as simple as it can be? Maybe just an event for both of you and your immediate family members?
2) House: do you really need to buy a house right after marriage? Can it still be an apartment/condo?
3) Debt: I would be worried that PSLF is not a guarantee. It's still on gf's books and will be on yours when you get married.
4) Kids: Don't do it when you can't financially support them. I would only bring kids in the world only when I can financially support the kids. I'm not talking about millions of dollars. But just a good state of minimal debt and surplus of monthly cash flow after you save for retirement.

So after you go through this exercise, you both should have a good idea of the cost of each decision and which decision is more important to both of you. Then, set out goals and timeline for each of the decision that you have considered. Let's face the fact that you're going to have to make some sacrifice. But hopefully you both can focus on what are really important to you.

shell921
Posts: 356
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:13 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by shell921 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:35 pm

BarbBrooklyn wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:09 pm
I just read your post from 2 years ago, in which you said that she is financially very prudent.

This issue has been on your mind for a long time now. I wonder if you ever considered sitting down with a counselor who does pre-marriage sessions. My daughter and son in law, who come from very VERY different social/economic and cultural backgrounds, have said it was the single smartest thing they ever done. (His mom worked on the "envelope system". My daughter thought that was a great idea until she realized that my SIL was talking about actual envelopes.)

Consider sitting down with a skilled professional in this field and find some way to allay your nagging doubts about this relationship, or move on. (EDITED for typos)
+1

Excellent advice. My late husband and I went to a counselor for pre-marital advice and it affirmed what we thought-that we had much to offer one another and were well suited for marriage. The therapist did give us a few things to watch out for and that was so helpful. This was back in 1975 before pre-marital counseling was very popular. We were so glad we went. We were married for almost 39 years before he died 5+ years ago. We had a wonderful life together and a solid relationship. We were a team-partners in every sense of the word.

Thegame14
Posts: 1354
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 11:53 am

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by Thegame14 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:38 pm

You aren't the youngest person either. Your combined income is very good, I would have a serious sit down and go over goals and issues. IF she wants to get married, first you have to get engaged, I assume and then at least a year for a wedding, then trying for kids to having a kids so absolute quickest, you will be married with a baby in 2 years, so that gives you two years to get finances in order.

#1 absolute deal breaker, is a pre-nup, you are coming in positive $300K and she is negative $230K, so that isn't negotiable, if she doesn't understand, then you should move on
#2 yes she is going to forgiveness route, I would still save aggressively in case that doesn't work out.
#3 I would not take on any new debts ie car loans, until you have a savings account with her loan balance parked in it in case the forgiveness route doesn't work out
#4 If she is ok with thse things, then tighen the belts for two years, try to keep wedding to $20K or less, try to take on a side hustle to increase savings and go for it. But as unfair as it is for her to be coming in with all the debt while you save, it is more unfair for you to "waste" her child bearing years, if you aren't going to have children with her, so both of you need to decide on those things and do it or move on...

abc132
Posts: 317
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:11 am

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by abc132 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:40 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.
Disagreement over money is a common cause for divorce. All you need to do is sit down with your girlfriend, express your anxieties, and work with her to develop a plan moving forward. If you are anxious over her not getting PSLF, and that is a deal breaker for you, then I would say you are not yet ready for marriage. Be honest about it with her. Once you get married, your combined income is 170k and it doesn't matter who earns more. That debt is both of yours, not hers. 170k is enough to get married, buy a house, have a kid, pay off loans, and invest responsibly if you are both committed to these tasks. People do these things with median US income in the 60-70k's and little money down, so don't let 240k of debt with 320k of assets scare you from progressing forward in life.

I would form two plans, one where the PSLF happens, and one where it does not. Figure out if you can make a wedding, house and/or baby work in each case. The financial plan should be doable in each case, but doing the exercise with your girlfriend will likely tell you more about if you are each ready to move forward.

DirtyBottles
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:35 am

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by DirtyBottles » Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:48 pm

Do you want to spend the rest of your life with her? How are her money management skills on a day to day, month to month basis?

If answer to the first one is a emphatic yes and you both are in sync on how to manage money on a day to day basis, then chances are you can figure out the rest. Go get hitched, make some babies and live life. You only get one shot at it and life isn't just about dollars.

GoldenFinch
Posts: 2005
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2014 11:34 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by GoldenFinch » Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:54 pm

It sounds like if you got married you would be starting out with a combined net worth of about 70k (assets minus debt). If this really bothers you, tell her it bothers you and ask her how she feels about it. The conversation will help you both make the right decision and move on with your lives together or apart. Good luck.

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 18103
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by Watty » Mon Aug 05, 2019 1:17 pm

By all means get a pre-nup and don't put the debt in your name but if things don't work out and you get divorced then the student loan money will just be minor salt in all your other post marital wounds, especially if you have kids then. You live in a low cost of living area so you can just live as if you were also making $60k and in a few years the debt will be gone and you can just work a year or two more if you need more savings to retire. I know people who have had bad divorce situations but don't totally regret their marriage because of their kids from the marriage. It is a bit trite but the old saying that there is more to life than money is true.

fposte
Posts: 1764
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:32 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by fposte » Mon Aug 05, 2019 1:23 pm

surfstar wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:23 am
Geez

If you feel like this is the person you want to spend your life with, do it. If she (and you!) want kids, that should happen sooner than later.
Finances will be fine.

Would you be happier with more money and without her? Or would you be happier with less money, but with her and a family. That's the choice here. Listen to yourself, not random downers online.
Similarly, if you can't face having kids in this situation and she wants them, you owe it to her to be honest and let her find what she needs, even if it's not with you.

User avatar
LilyFleur
Posts: 844
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:36 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by LilyFleur » Mon Aug 05, 2019 1:43 pm

Katietsu wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:25 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.
Biology is reality. She will already be considered of advanced maternal age even if she got pregnant now.

PSLF is legitimate. Working towards PSLF is cleaning it up. I am debt averse. But you must consider the risk of needing donor eggs, of miscarriage, of birth defects vs the risk that the federal government gets rid of PSLF even for someone halfway through with only a 60k income.

This is about whether they can work together with an acceptable budget in the future. They need to discuss this. An earlier thread says that she is financially responsible and frugal.
+1
If she must continue to work full-time during parenthood in order to get loan forgiveness, are you willing to take time off work to take children to the doctor, stay home with them when they are sick, etc.?

Sometimes a five-figure income = frugality with a healthy dose of excellent parenting ability. People who work with children for a living tend to be very good parents. I was a teacher and every day with my children was an opportunity to teach, ask questions, make observations, read... I had my children at 33 and 37. The youngest has graduated from a highly ranked public university, debt free, and the other will graduate in a year, also debt free, or close to it. I never earned more than a five-figure income.

I do wonder at the size of her debt (has it increased due to the interest, or did she go to an expensive private university?) Would she be supportive and strategic in helping your children approach college/master's degrees in a way that was cost-effective?

Congratulations on your ability to save! I wish you the best, and keep us posted! 8-)

DarkHelmetII
Posts: 435
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:25 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by DarkHelmetII » Mon Aug 05, 2019 1:55 pm

nexesn wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:54 am
If you think this person is right for you, and the only thing holding you back is nerves of finances, then I'm sorry there is debt, but congratulations for finding someone whom you love and are compatible with.
This, plus other advice on other pointers particularly clarifying the "facts" e.g. amount of debt, is it really subject to loan forgiveness etc...

Basically, I see it as a two-step process. 1) Do you want to get married, and 2) if so, what is the best way to proceed financially. Generally the two are separate, consecutive decisions, with the caveat that you should make sure you at least have all of the "raw facts" on #2. To say differently, while I don't think you have to have the (financial) plan completely ironed out before getting married (or engaged), the lack of ability to finalize the facts, or if the facts keep on changing, amounts to a possible red flag with "feedback loop" to #1.

My 2 cents. I echo other sentiments that this is a balance ... yes, even for many BH's, there is more to life than money and expense ratios, yet still very rational to understand what both sides of the relationship are bringing finance-wise.

Deighve
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:30 am

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by Deighve » Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:25 pm

I think the loan forgiveness changes the picture and makes her path reasonable. Maybe you could save a backup fund in a conservative allocation that you can use to pay off loans if forgiveness does not work out.

Consider putting off the house until loans under control or forgiven. Where you want to live may change with kids.

If you know you want to get married and know you want to have children. I strongly advise NOT putting this off. At her age that decision could have real consequences.

User avatar
bengal22
Posts: 1858
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:20 pm
Location: Ohio

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by bengal22 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:32 pm

Getting married is not a financial decision. If you both truly love each other then things will work out fine. Perhaps if you have doubts then maybe the love just ain't there. You will know if it's right. To me getting a prenup is reaching for the back door while you're opening the front.
"Earn All You Can; Give All You Can; Save All You Can." .... John Wesley

cashboy
Posts: 197
Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2018 5:03 pm
Location: USA

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by cashboy » Mon Aug 05, 2019 4:21 pm

mstone3 wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 4:52 pm

I admittedly have a lot of concern about what our combined financial situation would look like 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.

.... I could use help in understanding exactly how bad of a situation this would be.

since this is a finance forum, i will give a finance response. :happy

my opinion, and just my opinion, is that this is not the best of financial situations (for anyone).... and perhaps you already know that (by your comments above). :(

but, all is not lost. from a 'pure financial perspective' (putting emotion aside), come up with a plan to see how it 'adds up' over the next 3-5 years (as suggested by others as well). include plans for contingencies. ex: consider what you would do if you lose your job. after that you will have the facts and can act based on facts, not fear (and i mean that in a nice way).

what you and you GF 'want to do' might be different (sadly) from what you 'can do'.

good luck!
Last edited by cashboy on Mon Aug 05, 2019 4:38 pm, edited 7 times in total.
Three-Fund Portfolio: FSPSX - FXAIX - FXNAX (with slight tilt of CDs - CASH - Canned Beans - Rice - Bottled Water)

mptfan
Posts: 5724
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:58 am

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by mptfan » Mon Aug 05, 2019 4:24 pm

bengal22 wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:32 pm
If you both truly love each other then things will work out fine.
I think that's a bit naive. I suspect that most people who get married think that they truly love each other when they get married, and yet the divorce rate is quite high so clearly things often do not work out fine. And money is either ranked as number one or number two among the most common reasons for divorce.

User avatar
CyclingDuo
Posts: 2829
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:07 am

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by CyclingDuo » Mon Aug 05, 2019 4:50 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.
How bad? Well it is bad, but we see two options - or rather courses of direction.

$250K in student loans? :shock:

I trust that includes a Master's Degree?

Obviously, what's done is done.

If you marry her, you also marry her debt. Period.

Option #1: With a combined income of $170K, you could easily live on the cheap for the next 2-3 years and knock out all of that debt as a team yourselves. The math is easy, after taxes - live on $50-70K per year and all the rest goes to service the debt. End of crisis, and the start of a great teamwork to building wealth over the next few decades. Insert typical "Dave Ramsey" advice for doing it that way. Rice and beans, beans and rice, stop all retirement contributions and use that money to service the debt as you "lean into it"! No vacations. No eating out at restaurants. You focus 100% on retiring the debt. You can do it, and all that stuff....

That's option #1, and is a very viable one based on on your combined income. It's too difficult to predict the next 6 years in terms of the student loan forgiveness, so wiping out the debt frees up some options.

Option #2: The option of continuing the PSLF program is also a directional course to take, but it includes the inherit risks of potential loss of job with her current position, or you getting transferred to a different job/location that pulls her out of her current position - both of which then leads back to option #1 of you two having to knock it out yourselves. We would be very leery of taking on a mortgage with regard to the $250K in student loan debt with the uncertainty of whether or not the PSLF actually will indeed be the end result that leads to retiring the debt. As asked above, how does the PSLF work with regard to having a child, maternity leave, childcare, and remaining on track to qualify for the PSLF? Will she be able to navigate all of that and not miss a beat with the PSLF? Does she want to take more time off to raise a child? Can you take time off to be a stay at home Dad if she must keep working to qualify for the PSLF?

We don't think there is any rush to buy a house at this point in your scenario (many of us waited until we were in our 40's as apartment living with a child or two can be just fine and dandy). If going with option #2, you could both continue to sock away money in a home purchase fund to build up enough of a fund to pretty much buy a home outright as on option a few years from now once you know or get much closer to that massive $250K loan monkey being off of your backs via the PSLF panning out as originally intended.

Seems like the odds of combining student loan debt of $250K, a child, childcare, and a mortgage (plus all the "life happens" what ifs) all at once prevents plenty of challenge that has the potential to work out fine or dig a larger hole if something goes wrong on the PSLF plan. Well worth considering each element and choosing the best way to proceed as a couple that benefits both of you and be in agreement on as a plan.

Does your wife's position in her school district include a pension, and SS in your state of residence? The female in our marriage is a speech pathologist as well, and we had our first child when she was 35 and second at age 38. She took a few years off of work at two points for raising our children (ages 37-40; and ages 45-49), so the PSLF option probably would not have been an option if she had been carrying any student loan debt. Fortunately, she had no student loans which allowed for flexibility to utilize the stay at home years. We would be curious if your GF's desire and plans fit with the PSLF plan in terms of taking time off to raise a child or not. It's well worth discussing in full about all of your options and what the battle plan is actually going to be to retire the $250K in debt. Are the plans for more than one child?

Plenty of challenges, but you both need a plan and both need to be on board with that plan as a couple to make it successful - whether you attack the student loans on your own via option #1 using your salary to create more options going forward for time off and child rearing, or option #2 by navigating having a child and maintaining the PSLF plan.

We would simply put off a home purchase until the debt is gone, or nearly gone to remove the potential of a big debt hole you could both get yourselves into beyond the size it already is...
"Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time." ~ Steven Wright

GibsonL6s
Posts: 296
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:17 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by GibsonL6s » Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:02 pm

I have another key thing I would want to know. Was the SL debt the result of a more expensive choice to go to a private school or out of state option instead of a local in state school that would have resulted in way less debt. The answer to this would be key to one's attitude toward money. If someone took the more expensive path because they "wanted to", I would be extremely cautious.

fru-gal
Posts: 1285
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2019 9:48 pm
Location: New England

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by fru-gal » Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:05 pm

fposte wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 1:23 pm
surfstar wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:23 am
Geez

If you feel like this is the person you want to spend your life with, do it. If she (and you!) want kids, that should happen sooner than later.
Finances will be fine.

Would you be happier with more money and without her? Or would you be happier with less money, but with her and a family. That's the choice here. Listen to yourself, not random downers online.
Similarly, if you can't face having kids in this situation and she wants them, you owe it to her to be honest and let her find what she needs, even if it's not with you.
Let me really emphasize that. You have been involved for some time. If you can't commit to start having kids soon, like in 1-2 years, and she wants them, you have to let her go so that she can have them with someone else. Otherwise dragging things out is doing her significant harm.

User avatar
MrBobcat
Posts: 338
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:19 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by MrBobcat » Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:20 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.
You're 3 years into the relationship and you are just now worrying about the SL debt? If it wasn't a deal breaker 3 years ago why is it now? That being said there is more to life than just saving a lot of money and retiring early. If you love each other, both want children and have a plan to get the finances under control eventually go for it.

getthatmarshmallow
Posts: 443
Joined: Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:43 am

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by getthatmarshmallow » Mon Aug 05, 2019 6:00 pm

Honestly this forum sometimes is what would happen if Ebenezer Scrooge had access to redpill.

Talk to her, and figure out if you're on the same page regarding how you plan to pay off the loans and manage the rest of your life plans together. But you're in a better position financially than a lot of people who get married. She has a lot of debt, but it's not insurmountable.

User avatar
bengal22
Posts: 1858
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:20 pm
Location: Ohio

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by bengal22 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 7:18 pm

mptfan wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 4:24 pm
bengal22 wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:32 pm
If you both truly love each other then things will work out fine.
I think that's a bit naive. I suspect that most people who get married think that they truly love each other when they get married, and yet the divorce rate is quite high so clearly things often do not work out fine. And money is either ranked as number one or number two among the most common reasons for divorce.
"Truly" is the important word in my statement. Going into a marriage one should lower their expectation of their spouse and raise their commitment to their spouse. If getting married is a financial decision the relationship is on shaky crowd from the start. I do not believe money is number 1 or 2 reason for divorce. I do not have facts on my side but I think it's a byproduct or excuse for a failed commitment to your spouse or marriage.
"Earn All You Can; Give All You Can; Save All You Can." .... John Wesley

User avatar
Elsebet
Posts: 809
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:28 pm
Location: Washington state

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by Elsebet » Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:13 pm

This thread has some rather interesting opinions. I doubt many people have the perfect set of circumstances for both partners before they get married.
My husband and I certainly didn't and we have been together for 16 years now.

If you are both on the same page financially and are both committed to managing debt you have a much better start that we did. Please sit down with your fiancee and express your concerns about the debt, future finances, and timing of house/kids. If you cannot have this honest conversation now then it will only get more difficult. Let us know how that conversation goes.
"...the man who adapts himself to his slender means and makes himself wealthy on a little sum, is the truly rich man..." ~Seneca

dcw213
Posts: 158
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:04 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by dcw213 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:17 pm

I am a little surprised at some of the responses you are getting. You and only you can know if this is truly a woman that you love and are compatible with. Your situation may be sub optimal but is very possible to manage. That should not deter you from proceeding.

Your post, however, implies that you are unwilling to be this direct with your girlfriend. If true, that is a bad sign. You need to honestly express your concerns and be open to her responses. If she is unconcerned about the debt or shuts down conversations about it, big concern. If she is ignorant to the real consequences of living with it and won’t listen, big concern. You have to achieve a consensus about what the next few years will realistically look like budget wise.

The above, while opinions, are pretty firm in my opinion. On the other points, I believe you don’t need to buy a house at this stage. Renting in a cheap but safe neighborhood is a great way to save. Your infant/toddler won’t know the difference and you can save 5 years of incrementally larger expenses associated with owning a home. I would not be as dismissive of biological clock issues as others have suggested. It is very real and can be very tough dealing with struggles with conception or pregnancy after intentionally delaying, based on many I know who have encountered this.

Good luck to you but pl see be open with your potential partner, it is essential in your situation.

Cmnilz87
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:58 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by Cmnilz87 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:33 pm

I’d be very very cautious. She started paying loans back at 30? After she got her masters, What was she doing for the 8 years after her bachelors? 250k is a decent house where I live. She’s 34, so what’s her plan for kids, 1 or 2 in the next couple years? Well is she then going to stay home so you have to provide 100% then the bills all fall on you. There’s a lot of if’s here and this only works if you go 100% in and help her out, while she’s like “hey help me with my student loans”.

Ask yourself this question, if this was reversed, would your GF help you pay your debt off or no?

gmc4h232
Posts: 374
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:11 am

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by gmc4h232 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:56 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.
Did you not get the answer you were looking for in the last thread you started about your girlfriend with the huge pile of debt?

Here are the likely outcomes:

Worst case - You get married and spend a bunch of money on an overpriced wedding and then you have kids shortly thereafter so she stays at home to watch the kid(s) and you will buy the most expensive house you can qualify for and you are stuck clearing up her debts, because she didnt do the PSLF correctly. Once you have all her debt paid back she divorces you and takes the kid and you pay child support until the kid turns 18 and alimony because shes gotten used to not working. This puts you mid-50s still working with no discernible savings other than 200k you started with + growth because all your money went to student loans, child support, alimony, and mortgage payments.

Best case - her parents are rich and they die shortly after you get married and her inheritance pays all the debts.

I suspect you will land somewhere in between.

NxNW
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:15 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by NxNW » Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:07 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 also disagree. If you wait until you can afford children you never will. $170k annually is a lot of money. Even with that student loan debt. Totally manageable if you have a plan.

NoFred
Posts: 41
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:29 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by NoFred » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:53 pm

If you both want kids, get started. It might take time, you might want more, whatever. Once mid -30s earlier the better. Biology *is* reality. So nothing to wait on this one, unless you want to be engaged first then just do that.

Forget a house for now. Rent even if there’s a premium, stay free and flexible here - take housing out of the long term worry equation.

Do whatever possible regarding her loan.

Get married if you both want to get married. Divorce you’re going to lose money (at time or divorce or earlier during the marriage) but that’s fine, we all do when it comes to that.

ETA: if you decide you don’t want kids until she pays her loan let her know ASAP. Could quickly resolve all of your other worries.
-NoFred

SlowlySaving
Posts: 43
Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:49 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by SlowlySaving » Tue Aug 06, 2019 12:20 am

Very few if any (PSLF) get their loans forgiven, google it:
https://about.bgov.com/news/student-loa ... -hopefuls/

Vanguard Fan 1367
Posts: 1249
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2017 3:09 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by Vanguard Fan 1367 » Tue Aug 06, 2019 12:24 am

SlowlySaving wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 12:20 am
Very few if any (PSLF) get their loans forgiven, google it:
https://about.bgov.com/news/student-loa ... -hopefuls/
Interesting post. Sounds sort of like trying to qualify for social security disability. Difficult!

User avatar
MortgageOnBlack
Posts: 281
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2012 8:50 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by MortgageOnBlack » Tue Aug 06, 2019 1:30 am

For me, a potential partner’s current income/income potential was never that important to me. I value character (genuine good person with a good heart), job stability (is she willing to consistently work?), spending habits (high maintenance? expensive taste or a saver)

Although 250k student loan debt sounds daunting, I’d try to understand the thought process with how it was racked up to begin with. If mistakes were made, did she learn from them? How has her employment been since you’ve known her? Is she a “grass is greener” type of person? How has her spending been since she graduated. Putting her credit score aside, is her credit good with you? What kind of houses would make her happy? Try to evaluate any areas of doubt for potential longterm problems.

I trust my fiancée so much I don’t feel any desire for a pre-nup because I know in my heart if things don’t work out we would both do the right thing for each other. For me, this is a big reason why I’m marrying her. She meets all my checkboxes.

Grt2bOutdoors
Posts: 21764
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:20 pm
Location: New York

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Tue Aug 06, 2019 3:40 am

bengal22 wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:32 pm
Getting married is not a financial decision. If you both truly love each other then things will work out fine. Perhaps if you have doubts then maybe the love just ain't there. You will know if it's right. To me getting a prenup is reaching for the back door while you're opening the front.
+1.

The other thing is, where does it say if you get married you are both responsible for loans taken out individually, when you were single?
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

halfnine
Posts: 1005
Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:48 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by halfnine » Tue Aug 06, 2019 3:44 am

If you are both looking at having two or more kids then you have to start moving in that direction now or let her go.

Once you have children with her you are likely are looking at a huge financial commitment if you split that would derail your plans whether married or not (although it does depend on the state).

Forget about owning a house for now. A young child, debt, and mortgage will likely see you split within a year. Plus if you wait until your kids are a little older you will have a better feel for what size/type of house you really need.

(edited for clarity)
Last edited by halfnine on Tue Aug 06, 2019 5:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

Grt2bOutdoors
Posts: 21764
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:20 pm
Location: New York

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Tue Aug 06, 2019 3:46 am

MortgageOnBlack wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 1:30 am
For me, a potential partner’s current income/income potential was never that important to me. I value character (genuine good person with a good heart), job stability (is she willing to consistently work?), spending habits (high maintenance? expensive taste or a saver)

Although 250k student loan debt sounds daunting, I’d try to understand the thought process with how it was racked up to begin with. If mistakes were made, did she learn from them? How has her employment been since you’ve known her? Is she a “grass is greener” type of person? How has her spending been since she graduated. Putting her credit score aside, is her credit good with you? What kind of houses would make her happy? Try to evaluate any areas of doubt for potential longterm problems.

I trust my fiancée so much I don’t feel any desire for a pre-nup because I know in my heart if things don’t work out we would both do the right thing for each other. For me, this is a big reason why I’m marrying her. She meets all my checkboxes.
Another +1. It sounds like imo the OP is NOT ready for marriage and if that’s the case the sooner he tells his current girlfriend, the better. It’s quite selfish to be dragging his feet, delaying while this other person may have a real shot at happiness and fulfillment with someone else.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

FireProof
Posts: 731
Joined: Thu May 05, 2011 12:15 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by FireProof » Tue Aug 06, 2019 4:14 am

I think you need to think this through clearly yourself. What's the upside of marriage in this situation?

Generally, the principle practical purposes are for visa purposes, or a single-income couple to reduce taxes and get health insurance for the other partner. At the moment, neither of these seems applicable. The latter might be applicable if your girlfriend is planning to stop working when she has kids, but that mean the PSLF is torpedoed. as well. So I don't know that I see a situation where you'd be better off married.

Now, I realize that for many people outside my coastal bubble there are also religious purposes, but in this case I think God will understand, given the big financial downside. You can behave exactly the same in every way, just without the expensive bureaucracy of marriage.

User avatar
CyclingDuo
Posts: 2829
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:07 am

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by CyclingDuo » Tue Aug 06, 2019 6:39 am

gmc4h232 wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:56 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.
Did you not get the answer you were looking for in the last thread you started about your girlfriend with the huge pile of debt?
I just searched, and the previous thread got locked (most likely this one will as well). In addition, the amount of student loan for the GF has grown from what he posted as $175K in the previous thread, to the new number of $250K in this thread.

From my post upthread, I think Option #1 for this couple to aggressively tackle the debt over the next 2-3 years using their combined $170K of income would be the course of action we would take to free up all their other goals they have (marriage, children, home ownership, moving closer to "home", etc...).

The PSLF just sounds too precarious to rely on with the amount of time remaining - and all of their other goals.
"Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time." ~ Steven Wright

User avatar
Cyclesafe
Posts: 1006
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2014 1:03 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by Cyclesafe » Tue Aug 06, 2019 6:54 am

Crickets from the OP.

Wish I had that 10 minutes back.
"Plans are useless; planning is indispensable.” - Dwight Eisenhower

User avatar
8foot7
Posts: 1736
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:29 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by 8foot7 » Tue Aug 06, 2019 6:58 am

FireProof wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 4:14 am
I think you need to think this through clearly yourself. What's the upside of marriage in this situation?

Generally, the principle practical purposes are for visa purposes, or a single-income couple to reduce taxes and get health insurance for the other partner. At the moment, neither of these seems applicable. The latter might be applicable if your girlfriend is planning to stop working when she has kids, but that mean the PSLF is torpedoed. as well. So I don't know that I see a situation where you'd be better off married.

Now, I realize that for many people outside my coastal bubble there are also religious purposes, but in this case I think God will understand, given the big financial downside. You can behave exactly the same in every way, just without the expensive bureaucracy of marriage.
Ding ding ding. What I've said all along. You can still be with her, father her children, buy a house (or one or neither of those things) while remaining in a committed relationship without getting married. You can always marry later when the situation is cleaned up. It's a lot harder to get divorced later. You don't even need the pre-nup conversation with this route. Tell her you'll marry her the day the loan forgiveness goes through and you'll have the wedding and honeymoon of her dreams. If she loves you, she'll understand your wanting to protect against any number of situations that would end up badly for you, and if you love her, you'll stop wasting her time dithering about whether this is the right one for you, address the roadblock by going around it, and live your life.

You're fine to worry about this, but it's no longer fair to your gf to continue to be on the fence. You need to decide what your boundaries are, and stick to them, and tell her, and then she can react accordingly. "Honey, I'm sorry, but I can't see getting married with this quarter of a million in debt hanging over us for another six years. I'm committed to you and I want us to live our life but I'm just not willing to get married until that is gone. I've worked too hard, made too many sacrifices, and my financial security is too important to me and to us to jeopardize that. I really think you and I are better off in a committed relationship unmarried for a lot of reasons, x, y, z. I understand this might be hard to hear and you might disagree with me, but it's the way I feel and after 2-3 years I owe it to you to be honest and transparent about how I feel."

It is now your duty to stop wasting her fertile years if you have no serious intentions of moving forward, so you need to be very clear about the conditions under which you would move forward and if that's not agreeable to her, then that ought to be the end of it. Sometimes being an adult sucks.

harvestbook
Posts: 725
Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:12 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by harvestbook » Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:27 am

You'd have been better off marrying her and then posting on the forum. This thread is proof enough that money doesn't buy happiness.

I married into debt and I'd have paid ten times as much to be where we are now, and facing the challenge together was a wonderful exercise in growth. You don't know the future--you might become the one who is financially dependent on her.
I'm not smart enough to know, and I can't afford to guess.

yohac
Posts: 219
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2018 1:42 pm

Re: Financial anxiety and next steps in relationship

Post by yohac » Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:38 am

"I'll have kids with you but I won't marry you until you pay off your debt" almost comes off like an ultimatum. It would most likely end their three year relationship. But yes, better that than a divorce.

OP, time's up. Make a decision.

Locked