Finance

The Complete Guide to Your Partner's Debts

The “for poorer” part of your marriage vow is never truer than when your spouse has debt. Your spouse’s debt is now your debt so you need to know everything about it and what you can do about it.

First things first: Understanding good debt vs bad debt.

Good debt is debt you choose to take on when you buy things that can appreciate in value. Examples of good debt is a home mortgage because real estate will, more often than not, increase in value over time.

Bad debt, on the other hand, is debt you take on when buying things that depreciate over time. Examples include clothing, electronics, and most goods that you can buy with a credit card.

If your partner has bad debt.

While it’s more convenient to pool all your money into a shared account, it’s smart to keep a separate account under your own name. Also, make sure your name is not on any of your partner’s debts so that those bad debts won’t impact your individual finances.

Protect yourself from your partner’s debt.

Even if your partner has good debt, it’s smart to keep your finances separate if you have nothing to do with those debts. This will encourage your partner to pay off their own debts. It may be better to hold off on joining accounts until your partner’s debts are cleared. Also, keep an eye on your credit score and make sure your score keeps rising. Pay off your personal credit cards and stay on top of all liabilities under your name.

Questions you need to ask about your partner’s finances.

Right after deciding whether your partner’s values are compatible with yours, you must discuss finances ideally before you get married. Understanding how your partner handles money is key to a healthy, trusting relationship and will help the both of you develop a unified strategy towards handling your finances.

You can start off by asking these questions to get a better understanding of your partner’s debt situation:

  • What kinds of debt do you have right now?
  • What are the interest rates on those debts?
  • Have you been making regular payments?
  • When did you start making those payments?
  • Are you making the minimum payment, or are you paying more?
  • How much do you have left to pay off?

 

Understanding your partner’s debt is essential for not just your peace of mind, but also so the both of you know what you need to do to ensure a healthy financial future.

Kaitlyn Lo

Kaitlyn is a blogger and professional writer. While specializing in health and relationship topics, she also writes articles on a variety of topics, including culture, food, technology, and politics. Her written work can be found on pilcrowmagazine.com and newbiechef.wordpress.com. Her portfolio can be found at kaitlynlo.com.