My girlfriend and I have been in a relationship for seven months, and it’s getting worse. I don’t expect to get married next year, but I like to plan ahead and if things continue to work out, I see we get married in two or three years.
Finances are important to me and I know that finances should be looked at without emotion, but emotions and money collide. I get nervous when I read things like the divorce rate is 50% and it increases.
Our parents got married in the mid to late 20’s and are still together, but I’ve seen family friends break up and both parties are in a worse financial situation. I’m worried about some of my girlfriend’s financial habits. I don’t want what I’m building and hopefully someday what she and I are building to be affected by them.
“Revenue is growing steadily”
A little background. I am a 27 year old man and I will earn $ 90,000 this year before the bonus. My income is constantly growing as I grow in my career. I have $ 100,000 in various investments and I have no debt. My finances and future planning are important to me.
Money is not everything, but it is a tool that helps us navigate life. I have big plans for myself. I want to buy investment properties, grow my investment portfolio, and so on. My parents helped me with college, but the loans I got after I graduated paid off quickly. I lived in my parents ’house for 2.5 years after college; I bought a car with cash well below my means and saved well. You understand the point.
He is 24 years old and has recently graduated with a master’s degree in special education. He will soon start teaching and is also on his way to a great career. We have many similar interests and we love spending time together. She is a dream. I love her! But I’m worried.
She is not as expert or as financially motivated as I am. Like me, most of his education has been paid for by his parents, but he has some student loans. He mentioned his student loans and how after 10 years the government will forgive them all, so all he has to do is pay the minimum for 10 years and the government will do the rest.
This worried me, so I asked her to discuss it with her and after doing so I found that there were tons of hurdles to forgive her loans after 10 years. I tried to explain some of the obstacles. I don’t know if it’s denial or what, but I’m worried she won’t see that her loans won’t be forgiven, especially after they get married and file the file together.
I’m a little upset that she doesn’t see the big picture. I talked about how you should pay off your student loans as soon as possible so that you can earn as little interest as possible. Plus, you don’t have a lot of expenses, so you should pay for them, so when things go wrong, kids don’t care about their loans. She still doesn’t understand.
Live beyond your means
He also moved into an expensive apartment above his means, so the idea of not understanding finances scares me. I was wrong myself and I’m still learning too, but I feel like I was going much further than her at 24 years old. That said, it has started to save money from our conversations.
He still drives an old car that is fully paid and has no interest in buying something new soon, so he makes good financial decisions. If we get married, I don’t want your financial mistakes to affect what I plan to grow. What are your thoughts?
Divorce on the horizon
I’m also worried about divorce. I know it’s a bad / weird way of thinking, especially at a young age and because our family histories are stable. It’s a risk. What if I started a small real estate business and bought rental property and then divorced? So instead of growing the business, he should sell a property or two to give him what he earned.
Or I could end up selling my houses and start from scratch when I don’t have that much time to pay off my mortgage before retirement. To be clear, I’m not saying you don’t deserve anything. You will also make money and your line of work will have good profits.
Because she is a woman, she will have to have our children, and in some things she is better than me. For example, if one day we buy a house, I know it will make this house a real house. I know it sounds like a cliché, but that’s the truth for our relationship and I understand it’s worth it, but that doesn’t eliminate the risk.
How can I deal with this risk but also make sure it doesn’t affect our relationship?
Youth and Learning
Student loan forgiveness is complicated. It’s hard to blame your girlfriend for not understanding the process. She would be one of millions. You did him a favor by looking at his repayment schedule. In recent years, MarketWatch has largely covered the challenges that nurses, teachers like your girlfriend, social workers, and other public officials have faced in fulfilling the pardon promised to them after that 10-year period.
Many of these borrowers only found that they were not even eligible for relief, often due to a minor but important error in the process, after working for years on a job because they believed that forgiveness of the loan was on the horizon. You and your girlfriend can read this step-by-step guide to relief. Your annual tax returns should not affect your forgiveness as long as you follow the correct procedures.
She is 24 years old and you are 27. Three years can be a long time in your 20s. But not everyone works at the same pace, and has the same constellation of family, economic and professional factors. There is a fine line between helping a friend or partner manage their finances and expecting them to be (a) someone they are not or (b) just like us. We all have quirks, qualities, and things about ourselves that others would like to change!
But what can you do to make it constructive? You could see a financial planner together and talk about your shared financial beliefs, values, and goals. Where you want to be when you’re 30 or 35, and what changes you both need to make to get there. Taking this trip with her, instead of telling her what she is doing wrong, will be a happier experience and create a more fluid template for other decisions that you make and that affect each other.
As for your plans to get married and your fears of divorce. To remove a sheet from your organization’s playbook: Vote, and sign the contract at the same time. You’ve only been together for seven months. Marriage is a contract, a kind of business contract, so you should get to know each other much better before you get into the marriage business together. As with any new business, there is an element of risk involved.
In business, you have insurance policies. In marriage, you can agree to sign a prenuptial agreement. Take out of the marriage what you contributed, for example, and you can also outline who is responsible for the debts and how the property you own should be divided. You acknowledge a lot of fears and worries, and that’s okay, but be aware of imposing those worries on others, because it could reach every aspect of your life.
I’m glad you pointed out his qualities. If you are pursuing a special education career, you must have many wonderful qualities: compassion, humor, discipline, and emotional strength. If you are the teacher / preacher, and your girlfriend / wife is always the one who is not doing things perfectly, you may need this prenuptial before both of you have agreed. Just be careful that your girlfriend doesn’t become a human receptacle for your own anxieties.
He may have something of his own that he would like to express and, hopefully, dissipate.
Check out Moneyist’s private Facebook group, where we look for answers to the most thorny monetary problems of life. Readers write to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more, or rate the latest Moneyist columns.
Moneyist regrets not being able to answer the questions individually.
By sending your questions by email, you agree to have them posted anonymously to MarketWatch. By submitting your story to Dow Jones & Company, the publisher of MarketWatch, you understand and agree that we may use your story, or versions thereof, on all media and platforms, including through third parties..
‘At our age, should we do this?’ We’re retired, we have $ 5 million in savings, and we make $ 7,000 a month. Should we spend more than $ 2.1 million to build the house of our dreams?
“We have no children”: My family owns land that has been in our family for 100 years. I would like to leave this land to my wife. But what if you remarry?
“How can I be fair to both of you?”: I spent $ 20,000 more on my daughter’s education than on my son’s education. Do I have to level the playing field and invest $ 20,000 in shares for my child’s retirement?