Committing to a marital partnership can be one of the most intimidating life events that two individuals may face. But when you add personal finances woes, for example uncontrollable debt to the mix; the combination can be lethal to a relationship. Debt problems can either arise before a marriage or during the marital union, recognizing the warning signs are key. Here are 6 tips to help married couples manage and eliminate debt.
- Make small strides. To eliminate debt, start with the smallest to the largest debt. Make a spreadsheet with a combination of separate and joint debts, and make a plan to contribute extra money to eliminate the smallest debt first.
- Identity is important. Once the debts are put in a spreadsheet listing, its important to determine what is current, late or a defaulted debt. Identification is key, you always want to continue to pay current debts on time, bring late payments up to date and put together a strategy to tackle defaulted debts.
- To separate or not separate. Debts that were accumulated before marriage are a sensitive matter and should be approach with caution. Decide how the debt will be a paid down and decide if it will be paid from a joint or separate bank account.
- Commit to savings. A savings plan should be set up to work systematically on an ongoing basis. Creating an emergency savings plan of 9-12 months of expenses should be a goal to reach by both spouses.
- Don’t argue. Arguing will never provide solutions to spouses who are having financial problems. It only causes a blame game session with no end results. Instead of arguing, couples should face their financial problems together and put together a realistic strategy that both spouses can commit too.
- Don’t keep secrets. Whether the debt was accumulated before or after the marriage, secrets are never a good thing. Both spouses should commit to a personal oath to one another, this will deter sneaking behind each other backs; that will only cause havoc once the truth comes to light.
About the Author:
Lorillia Brown-Phillips is a Financial Literacy Educator and Author of “Jump Start Your Credit: How to Negotiate and Settled Your Debts in 10 Steps”, she can be reached at http://www.yourmoneymentor.com