Debt can drive you and your spouse apart. It’s that toxic. It brings stress and trouble in a relationship. If you love your wife and financial life, then it’s imperative that you stop blaming each other for debt troubles, and take steps to solve them. Hiding debts or fighting with each other is not a solution at all.
Here are a few steps you can take to manage debt without hurting your financial life.
1. Stop hiding your debts: If both of you have avoided discussing debts with each other, then it’s high time to open your mouth. Admit that debt is lurking over your married life and can devastate both of you anytime. Disclose how much you owe, and what interest rate you’re paying.
Understand that it takes a lot of courage to disclose debt details upfront. So if you’re the responsible one, and your spouse is the debt accumulator, then you should have an empathetic attitude towards your spouse. Set a goal to pay off debt as soon as possible. Create a game plan to decide how both of you’re going to pay back your creditors. The conversation should focus on the bills you need to pay off – how and when.
2. Get to the basics: When you’re in debt, luxurious expenses shouldn’t be in your mind at all. You should always focus only on the necessary expenses right now. Create a budget and schedule expenses only for the necessary items. Exclude unnecessary expenses like new clothes, dine-outs, and movies.
3. Think how to repay debt: After you have taken care of your necessary expenses, it’s time to think how you’re going to repay debts. The choice is yours. Discuss with your spouse and choose one of the following debt payoff options:
Debt settlement: In this option, your payoff amount is reduced.
Debt consolidation: Here you have to follow an affordable monthly payment plan.
Debt management: Here you have to pay a low interest rate on your bills.
Debt avalanche: Here you have to pay off debts from the highest interest to lowest interest.
Debt snowball method: Here you have to make payments from lowest balance to highest balance.
Debt snowflake: Here you make micro-sized extra payments on your debts till they are paid off.
Each debt payoff plan has pros and cons. Speak to your spouse about each of them, and then make the final decision.
4. Change your spending habits: Who is the spender and who is the saver? If you’re the spender, then it’s high time you stop spending on vacations, eating outs, shopping, etc. Develop good spending habits and maintain them throughout your life.
If your wife is the spender, then ask her to stop splurging money. Ask her to stop making extravagant expenses.
Once you pay off debt, stop purchasing new things with credit cards or loans. If you do make fresh charges, then you won’t gain anything in the long run. You’ll be in debt again.
If you’re into risky investment ventures like stocks, then it’s better to avoid them right now. You can’t afford to waste money at present.
A word of wisdom
As you plan to pay off debts and strengthen marriage, you and your spouse should think about how to avoid financial problems in the future. Speak to each other about how much both of you should spend every month. Make a promise that both of you wouldn’t spend a huge amount without consulting each other. The goal is to not to invite more financial problems in your life that can create bitter moments in the marriage.
Whenever you’re buying something, purchase it with cash or a debit card. It will be easier to avoid debts.
Last but not least
While it’s good to repay bills on own, it’s better to negotiate with creditors and save money on your debts. Call your creditors and inquire if you’re eligible for any hardship program. If you’re really in financial hardship, creditors can create an affordable repayment plan for you. For instance, if you’re out of work in the last few months and you have just got a job, then creditors may become a little bit lenient for you.