If you're engaged, there are reasons why you shouldn't get married with debt. I realize that being completely debt-free when planning a marriage is easier said than done, especially with car loans or student loans. Although you may not be able to eliminate these types of debt before walking down the aisle, there are good reasons to pay off credit card debt before saying “I do.” Here are seven reasons why you shouldn't get married with debt.
1. Might Be Unable to Buy a Home
After saying “I do,” purchasing a home might be at the top of your to-do list. Unfortunately, if you or your spouse has too much credit card debt, a lender may conclude that your debt-to-ratio is too high for a loan. This is one of the biggest reasons why you shouldn't get married with debt. Even if you qualify for a loan, debt can reduce how much you’re able to get from the bank, thus reducing purchasing power
2. Reduces How Much You Have for Emergencies
If you or your spouse has a ton of credit card debt, you're probably paying several hundred dollars just on minimum payments each month. These payments limit your ability to save. And if you have less money for savings, you’ll have a smaller financial cushion for emergencies
3. Can Trigger Money Problems
Not only can credit card debt reduce how much you have in an emergency savings account, these payments can reduce how much you have available for normal household expenses. If you’re already living paycheck to paycheck, spending $200 or $300 a month just on credit card payments can strain your finances.
4. Brings Baggage into the Marriage
Marriage is hard enough, and the last thing you need to worry about is credit card debt. To get your marriage off to a good start, it helps to have a fresh financial start. If you can alleviate most or all of your unnecessary debt, such as credit card balances, you can build a solid financial future with your partner from the beginning.
5. The Problem Might Get Worse
If you or your partner has a lot of credit card debt when planning a marriage, you can't ignore the possibility that the problem could get worse. By paying off debt, you prove to each other (and perhaps yourself) that you have control over your finances and that you’re ready to make wiser decisions in the future.
6. Innocent Spouse Could Become Resentful
When you're in love and planning a marriage, the fact that your future spouse has debt might not seem like a big issue. But if you're responsible with money, and if your spouse’s debt starts to hold you back financially after tying the knot, you could start to feel resentful. If the two of you resolve to settle balances before getting married, you might avoid these types of issues.
7. Might Delay Starting a Family
If you're eager to have children, delaying this plan can be heartbreaking. But the truth is, if you and your spouse have a bunch of debt and no extra money because you’re paying creditors, this can affect plans to start a family in the near future. And if you were to have children before getting your finances in check, this decision could create bigger financial problems for your family.
Unfortunately, debt is common if you’re planning to buy a house, a car or go to college. But this doesn't mean that you should finance your entire life and get in over your head. Marriage starts a new chapter. For that matter, do whatever it takes to get your financial life off to a good start.
Do you think it matters whether couples get married with debt?