Marriage can be a life-defining event. It’s a major undertaking, and plenty of things can get lost in the shuffle. Unfortunately, many newlyweds experience financial struggles which, if not addressed early on, can worsen. In fact, tension over credit card debt and other financial obligations is the single biggest cause of divorce in the U.S. If you’ve recently tied the knot or are preparing to do so soon, you need to know a few things about debt.
Newlyweds: Often Young, Often in Debt
Newlyweds often operate on tight budgets. Many are just beginning promising careers and lack robust incomes or substantial savings. To compensate, they often use credit cards to make necessary purchases or respond to unexpected emergencies. This unavoidable cycle creates a debt burden that can become overwhelming without careful management.
Bringing Debt into a Marriage
Whether they’re in their 20s or 70s, many newlyweds also bring past debts into their marriages. In addition to existing credit card debts, these may include student debts, old medical bills, personal loans and more. For partners who don’t carry as much debt, these obligations can be a source of tension and frustration. Many arguments arise when spouses blame one another for their debt issues and neglect to seek solutions like credit counseling or debt management.
Paying off Old Debts
Whether you’re bringing credit card debt into a marriage or are tying the knot with someone who has such a burden, it’s important to make a plan to pay them off before they become overwhelming. In addition to a strict household budget, this may require the assistance of a credit counseling professional who can negotiate with your creditors and help you set up healthy, long-term financial habits.
Making Smart Decisions as You Grow
The key to a stable marriage may be a smart financial plan. As you purchase a home, plan for a family and notch other big milestones, make sure your expenses aren’t growing faster than your income. While it’s okay to use credit cards for necessary purchases, it’s crucial to do so in a responsible manner. Instead of buying a fancy new grill or computer on credit, gradually save your income until you can afford to do so with cash.
The Benefits of Credit Counseling and Debt Management Plans
A credit counseling agency may be able to help with persistent credit card debts that don’t seem to respond to budgeting. When you enroll in a debt management program, you’ll enjoy access to a team that negotiates lower credit card interest rates and consolidates your monthly balances to reduce confusion and risk. You can also build on your long-term planning with a debt management plan that helps track, control and plan your household expenses.
No marriage is free of stress, but reducing your financial burdens can greatly strengthen your union. With careful planning and a little help from a credit counseling professional, you and your new spouse can look forward to a bright future.
Looking for more information on proper money management? Take a look at CreditGUARD’s financial management page to learn valuable information on home buying, financing and more.