Marriage Money Tips: Should You Pay Off Debt Of Your Future Spouse?

Marriage Money Tips :Should You Pay Off Debt Of Your Future Spouse?

In today’s marriage money tips, we’re talking about whether you should pay off debt of your future spouse. Finances within relationships and marriage can be one of the toughest spots to handle.  Not only will you regularly have one person not agreeing with the other, you have potential for major credit issues long term if you aren’t careful.  This brings us to a place of asking the question – Should You Pay Off Your Future Spouses Debt?  For some the answer is an instant yes.  For others it is an instant no.  Let’s look at some of the reasons you should say yes, and some reasons you should say no.


Reasons Yes Is The Answer

Are you planning to buy a home in the next 5-10 years?  If your goal is to buy a home together in the next 5-10 years then paying off debt and working toward building a better credit score is optimum.  You do have to consider though, how paying off large amounts of debt will effect your income and ability to save toward a home purchase.

Is the debt a small amount?  If your future spouse owes a small amount that could easily be paid off in just a few payments it may be a good idea to start your journey married with that debt out of the way.  Not only will it help you with your overall credit and budget, but it can be a great way to start your family budget out on a good note toward savings for the future.

Was it a necessary emergency expense and not frivolous spending?  There are things on occasion that will put you into debt that are seemingly necessary.  Medical expenses, emergency car repairs and bills due to job loss are items that could be filed in the category of necessary expenses.  If you look at your future spouses debt and see that it is not from their poor spending habits but because of an emergency expense or job loss, it may be a good choice to pay off and start anew together.

Reasons No Is The Answer

Will you hold a grudge?  While some would say this is a choice and you shouldn’t hold a grudge, we must be realistic.  If paying off your spouses debt will end up with you being resentful of that money spent, or constantly waiting for them to pay you back it isn’t a good idea.  If you keep your finances separate and arrange for repayments each month directly to you it might work out.  Having finances mingled together can often leave one spouse feeling like they pull more weight than the other spouse – and this isn’t good in some relationships.

Is this debt from poor spending habits and bad choices?  Did your future spouse simply buy everything on credit and not pay attention to what they could actually afford?  Bailing them out is not going to teach them how to handle their or your joint finances any better.  If they created debt due to poor spending habits, it would be wise to make them pay that debt off for themselves in their own time.

When dealing with finances within relationships, every individual is unique.  There are many conservative views which state you should always have joint accounts and mingled finances upon marriage, regardless of what either person brings to the table.  Reality is, the debts incurred prior to your relationship are the individuals responsibility, not their future spouse.  While there are some instances a debt being paid off by a future spouse is a good choice, it is my opinion that it typically will only enable the poor spender to continue with bad habits.

We strive to bring you money tips that will help your relationships and marriage be healthier overall.  Making the decision if you should pay off debt of your future spouse isn’t something we can tell you the right answer for.  We can however share some key reasons to consider when making a decision regarding money within your marriage. Find more money tips in our should you split expenses article.

Do you have any marriage money tips on this subject?

11 thoughts on “Marriage Money Tips: Should You Pay Off Debt Of Your Future Spouse?”

  1. This post is so helpful. I really want my children to see we can live debt-free so they will do the same when they get older.

  2. My wife and I always contribute to each other as a family but sometimes when I make a mistake she will let me pay for it…literally.

  3. That’s a tough one; however, I agree with your pros and cons above. If the debt is simply from poor choices and choosing want over need, then definitely not. Money issues are a huge reason for divorce, so if that is the reason, you don’t want to go into a marriage with someone that can’t manage their money. I would suggest a meeting with a financial planner for guidance and advice.

  4. My brother did this with his now ex fiancee and with all that happened, I wouldn’t do it. I’ve seen what can happen and I wouldn’t want to risk it.

  5. Tricky situation. I suppose I was lucky that my husband handles is 60K in law school loans on his own. I helped finance our first house more than he did, but it wall worked out in the end.

  6. When we got married we both had debt. But it was student loans and we were both still in school. It wasn’t much issues then cause we both owed the same amount and it was less than $2000 each. So for us it was not an issue. We worked together to pay off both student loans. Now the husband went back to school and got more student loans. Sadly. We worked hard to take out as little as possible, but it was something we both agreed upon so there is no hard feeling and it’s not from poor spending that it was accumulated. So it is definitely something we work together to both pay off with both incomes.

    But that being said. My niece got married and her husband had a lot of debt from bad habits. She paid it off. And then he kept accumulating it. It was a bad situation. It didn’t end well in that relationship.

  7. I helped my husband with debt before we got married. I’m glad I did because it enabled us to buy real estate and end up in a much better position today!

  8. The definitive answer is “No”. If it is a small amount, it won’t affect anything so don’t worry about it and let them pay it off on their own. If it is a large amount, you have to really look at the reasons behind it – it may tell you more about their personality than you care to know!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *