As many of us understand, debt can become an emotional and very overwhelming subject to tackle and to then add a partner to the equation really fuels those feelings more. As many of us also understand, planning financially together helps couples stay together and this is not only for the flowery stuff like short and long-term goals and savings whilst having ample money, but also when there is lack of money. According to SmartMoney’s survey, the Number 1 issue that sparked a fight was debt at 37%. It’s one of those issues where there are the most disagreements. We have different views on how much is too much debt, or what’s good and bad debt and our ‘how we are going to repay it’ plan. Also a fact is that men and women spend money differently.
So to move forward in your lives and really build a solid foundation for your marriage, no more ‘that’s your debt and you better repay it quickly,’ but, ‘that’s our debt and how can we repay it efficiently?’
Firstly there are a few ground rules you must both agree with:
1) No judgments, criticism or blaming each other or yourself – This will only get you into a fight or argument and then you are in no position to make smart choices. Also many of us are angry at ourselves for getting into such a situation, focusing on what you should have done will not take you to where you want to go.
2) Leave the past behind and agree to work on the future – Like the first rule, focusing on past decisions and trying to justify why you are in this debt and the story behind it will not help you to move forward. Knowing where you are now NOT where you have been, will help you know what you need to do next.
3) No labeling – ‘you’re a spender and I’m the saver’ – Start accepting that you both spend but perhaps on different things. In fact noticing what each other spend on, will help you to identify each others most important values. This is such an important ingredient for a healthy life-long lasting marriage.
4) Be open and honest with no secrets – you have made a commitment together one of them being to be faithful – trusting one another comes under this vow. Financial secrets can ruin a marriage. Again, you can only deal with the debt if you lay out on the table exactly how it is. It’s time to look at the debt in the eye and start your ‘paying it off’ plan.
Now you are in the right frame of mind to work on your plan of action. Agree on a monthly amount to pay of the combined debt. Remember you are a team and there to support each other.
By Rasheda Khatun Khan
Wellness & Wealth Expert, Kinesiology Practitioner
Rasheda has been inspiring thousands of people across the globe for over 8 years. With her corporate financial background, mastery in leadership & mentoring and her gained wisdom from healing herself from cancer, she has become a leading expert in personal wellness in the areas of financial wellbeing, increasing your vitality and KinesioCoaching.