The Money Mentor: How to Manage Debt for Married Couples

2 Mar

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.

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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


One Response to “The Money Mentor: How to Manage Debt for Married Couples”

  1. Julie March 4, 2012 at 2:05 am #

    Some great points. I never give it much thought as my husband and I started dating when we were 15 & 18 – and we have all the same finance habits and beliefs. Needless to say money management has been a breeze!

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