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Getting married for most people is the happiest day of their lives, until debt is added to the equation. Debt can destroy a marriage and leave the remaining pieces on the floor. To ensure that your marriage is all that it can be, and stays that way, there are a few things that can be done. Before you get married, consider your finances from a "debt perspective."

Debt-Free Happiness?

Yes, there is such thing as debt-free happiness! When you or your spouse are up to your ears in debt, more than likely, you will not be a happy camper. When you get married, debt does not disappear. Although getting married may be your new beginning, the same cannot be said for debt. When you get married, your spouse's debt becomes yours and vice versa. This is one factor that has a major impact on the rest of your happily ever after.

Over the years, you may have done things that you wish you would have taken the time to reconsider, but the past is the past, and what is done, is done. What can you do? Take control! Debt-free happiness for most couples begins with their credit report. When you are in debt, this is one or a few documents that can put you on the right track to becoming debt free. Once you obtain your credit report, view all of the discrepancies that are present. These are previous accounts that you had that have been reported to collection agencies and several other instances. Take one bill at a time and pay it off. While this may not instantly increase your credit score, you are taking steps to get out of debt.

Some bills can easily be paid off, and others may have to be paid off over a period of time. Such instances can be put on a payment plan, where you pay a certain amount of money every week, two weeks, or monthly until the grand total is paid off.

Marriage, by far, is not a walk in the park, but adding debt to this situation will not make things better. In most relationships, there is a spender and a saver. More than likely, the person who is the spender will have the most debt to worry about. This is a grand slam conflict that many couples do not consider. Conflict that involves financial matters do not end well, and should be avoided.

Avoiding Conflict

There are many things that occur in a relationship, and conflict is one of those things. When financial matters are involved, there is a different type of conflict that comes about which is known as a financial conflict. Financial conflict and normal conflict are two different instances. While normal conflict can usually be resolved by means of communication and simple changes here and there. Financial conflict is not easily solved. These conflicts can drive two people who love each other apart quicker than anything else. Financial matters are a sensitive subject for many couples, young and old.

A financial conflict is one that does not disappear as time progresses. This type of conflict should be handled in a timely manner. Unlike other types of conflict, financial conflict has to be handled by creating a plan and strategizing. This is one type of conflict that cannot be solved overnight. It can take weeks, and even months to come to a conclusion regarding financial conflict.

Disagreements regarding money can escalate out of control in the blink of an eye. When this happens, a lot of couples spend most of their time arguing, and less time together which is the primary reason why financial conflict should be avoided.

One way to get the fire out of the kitchen in this instance is to find common ground and agree on which items are needs and which are wants. A great way to do this is to create a list. When couples focus on necessities instead of wants, they are able to budget in an effective manner. This is a great method to use to save money for future expenses and an emergency fund.

Many couples may frown at the sound of the phrase "emergency fund", but when an emergency occurs, they are grateful for this reserve. The primary focus in this instance is getting out of debt. While you are enduring this process, it will be in you and your spouse's best interest to avoid unnecessary purchases until you both have your debt situations taken care of. Purchasing wants should be kept to a minimum to avoid further debt.

Eliminate Debt Conflict in Your Marriage

Eliminating debt before you get married is more difficult than trying to get rid of debt in the course of a lifetime. As a newlywed couple, there will be a lot of different things that are new, and debt does not have to be one of them. If you are an older married couple, there is still hope! It is never too late to get your finances on track and be married and out of debt.

Getting Out of Debt for Good

Getting out of debt for good is a challenging and daunting task for many people, but it can be done. Some people give up because there are a lot of steps that are required. This is true, but the reward of living debt free is priceless. Getting out of debt permanently requires consistency and proper planning.

The good news here is that it can be done! Depending upon how much debt you and your partner have, there are several different measures that can be taken. If you have less than $10,000 in debt, it may seem heartbreaking, but in time, you can handle this on your own. Some credit repair agencies will not view your case unless you are at least $10,000 in debt. It will take some time to pay off $10,000 or more of a debt, but you shouldn't run away from this challenge.

The best thing to do is take this challenge head-on. Once you view your credit report and see the instances that are listed, and the amounts that are due, you may want to throw your hands up, and call it quits, but this is the wrong thing to do. For couples, be there to support each other through these difficult financial times. Strength and wisdom are two characteristics that are great to have when you and your spouse are dealing with this situation.

What to Pay Off First?

The CARD Act of 2009 brought in many sweeping changes to the credit card industry. One of them requires credit card companies to print on your monthly statement, in clear language, how long it will take you to pay off your balance if you only pay the minimum. It will also denote how much you would have to pay per month in order to completely pay off your account. The latter value is a useful metric that provides a reasonable approximation of what it will really take to eliminate the balance on a particular account.

Now that you know what you're dealing with, in terms of pay-offs, determining what to pay off first can be tricky. Often times, tackling the accounts with the lowest balance first can reap psychological gains when you pay them off. This can be a great motivator when it comes time to eliminate your larger debts. The monies previously dedicated to smaller, resolved debts can now be reallocated to other, larger debts. It's also one less due date or potential missed payment to worry about.

If you're not the type who cares about psyching yourself out, focusing on whichever account carries the highest interest rate is a smart approach.

Credit Counseling

For couples who have severe debt (think $10,000 and above), there is help! Credit counseling can provide different avenues of repairing your credit and showing different ways that you can stay out of debt. Your case will be viewed, and from there, they will inform you of the steps that should be taken that will help you decrease your amount of debt.

Conduct Research

Before you pay any credit counseling or consolidation company, you should conduct some research. Researching via Internet is the best way to find what you are looking for quick and easy. When you are conducting your research, think about the facts and the services that pertain to your needs. If you are the only person who needs help with debt issues, look for an agency that helps individuals get their credit back on track.

A well-known resource for locating a certified credit counselor is the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. They represent hundreds of local offices that specialize in financial education and debt counseling.

If you and your spouse are seeking credit counseling and consolidation services, it will be in both of your interests to find an agency who specialize in these matters for couples. This is the perfect way to get two things handled simultaneously and out of the way.

Once you find at least two or three agencies that seem promising, conduct more research and see what they have to offer. Just because they offer some or all of the services you and your spouse need, does not mean that they are your best option. When you are looking for the best services from the best agency, you need to find out how many cases they have taken on and what was the outcome of each case or claim. This is what is referred to as their "track record." The company's track record is the best of the best and the worst of the worst of the business. It reveals their good and bad days. The track record is great to use because you and your spouse can get a good idea of how well the agency will do with your case. In this instance, try to look for certificates and similar instances that show their field of expertise and their knowledge.

Being married and being in debt is a tricky situation to overcome, but it is not impossible. These simple steps can help you, and your spouse, control your debt and eventually get out of debt for good. In previous years, people got married and let their debt continue to pile up, but in today's society, there is help that is available so you can be free. Getting married and getting out of debt does not have to be as difficult as it seems.

2 Comments

  1. Maya

    One thing about the annual credit report site you linked to. Don't make the same mistake I did by ordering all your credit reports at once. I got them all together to compare but found out after that I couldn't renew them until after a year later.

    I wasted all my free slots in one day. big mistake. So space them out every couple months instead.

    Reply
    1. Valera

      Don't make the same mistake I did by ordering all your credit reports at once.

      True. You can order reports from all three credit bureaus back-to-back, but if you do that you'll lose the ability to get another free look-up until a year later. Ordering one every four months is a good way to space them out so that you'll always have a reasonably up-to-date report at your disposal.

      Having said that, even though there's a lot of overlap between the three credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian), they can provide different information. So acquiring all three can be useful, if you're certain you have a clear need for them. So do it if you need to, but just be aware of the downside.

      Reply

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