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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: ak907 on August 23, 2018, 11:00:48 AM

Title: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: ak907 on August 23, 2018, 11:00:48 AM
  I am looking for some advice. I (30) just learned this week that my GF (30) of nearly 2 years has $211,000 (edit: at 6.5%) in student loans. She currently earns ~$60,000 working for a non profit in marketing. Her degrees (undergrad and masters) are not in exactly high paying/high demand fields.

  I knew she had significant student loans, but had been under the impression they were ~100,000. We have been talking about marriage, looking at rings. I quite a bit upset by this. Unhappy that she hid it and sad about what this would mean for my (now our) plans. This amount wipes our more than a third of my own net worth. She wanted to tell her if I want to break up by then end of the week. With this and other issues I am honestly conflicted... If I had known about this much earlier in the relationship I definitely would have bailed.

  I understand why she hid it (I have asked about her loans and finances in general in the past). She says she has been dumped twice before because of it. She also feels very ashamed about it, "like a complete failure". I think she has been ignoring it, pretending it didn't exist, as looking at it straight in the face was to overwhelming and she did not have the financial skills and understanding to truly mitigate it or its impact (since googling around after confessing she has found several missed opportunities in her past which would have relieved or significantly reduced the impact of the debt).

  On the other hand. Before this she made a very brave move last month to get rid of her clown car luxury SUV (2015 Nissan rouge with almost all the options, bought used), which I had been unable to believe she had when we first started talking general money/earnings and have been encouraging her to get rid of, and move to commuting to her job via electric bicycle (used from craigslist). I helped with this by covering the gap between the cars value and the loan and purchasing the e-bike with the understanding she would repay when she could. She also has completely come around to the FI mindset after largely resisting with many of the usual arguments (what would you do with time, work is example for children, would be bored, impossible to do, etc).

  In looking at addressing this it looks like there a could of ways forward but we could really use some help analyzing which way is the correct way to jump.
  As I mentioned she currently works for a nonprofit and currently earns ~$60,000 and was just turned down for a raise or promotion after working a lot of overtime for the org on the technicality of she has not worked there long enough (convenient excuse due to lack of budget in my opinion, her missing the time requirement was due to screw-ups in their HR departments on-boarding) despite having been promised this promotion upon satisfactory performance when hired.  This is while she was managing 5 contracts in comparison to her direct superior's single less valuable contract, She was hired directly into the org after working as a temp due to her performance. Unfortunately from her perspective they have also hired another temp to perm empl. into a higher pay band recently with less education and skills (because that was the open spot available). In my opinion this is unfortunately common in work, but even more so in the non profit do good for the world jobs (particularly with many of my generation looking for meaningful work).*
  She has recently been accepted into the federal student loan forgiveness program and has 6 months into the 10 years you have to be in working in non-profit in to get the loans forgiven. Unfortunately only approximately half the loans qualify, however apparently she can reroll them so that all of them so that they are eligible, but the timer will have to restart for 10 year period. The disadvantage of following this path is that it limits her salary and job selection for the next 10 years.
  The other route would be for her to pursue the highest paying jobs she can and re-consolidate the loans into private ones which offer lower interest rates (but less forgiveness/flexibility in hard times).
  Another would for me to shoulder the loans and pay them off completely when we get married, but the capital gains from sales of enough stock would be significant and it would wipe out most of my non tax sheltered investments, likely preventing a house purchase in the near-to-mid term.
  There are other options like the income based repayment program, which will forgive loans after 20-25 years of payments based on your HOUSEHOLD income (which would put us in the top 15% of income per year payment bracket), but they do not seem particularly well advised for those attempting to save for FIRE.

Does anyone know of any or have the skills to make a spreadsheet to answer the question of the best path forward for quickest FIRE and highest net worth. I.e. take all the variables, salary, 401k match, expected investment earnings, salary increases and spit out which is better, non-profit with minimal payments and forgiveness, or highest salary and with that path should the loans be paid down as quickly as possible (back of the napkin I believe this would be the correct approach with high salary)?

I found this spreadsheet when googling for solutions and it is is a good start but stops short of answering these questions. https://millennialmoola.com/2016/08/29/student-loan-analysis-tool/ (https://millennialmoola.com/2016/08/29/student-loan-analysis-tool/)
Sorry for the book. I can maybe make these calculations myself eventually. I guess with no real family or social network who can effectively comment I am reaching out here for guidance from a community of like minded people.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: nkt0 on August 23, 2018, 11:14:17 AM
Sounds like first you have to decide if being misled about the loans (even if it can be justified) is a good omen for long-term commitment/marriage. She also might have some mental health issues wrapped in that.

Good luck. These are truly difficult life decisions, but only you can make them.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Retire-Canada on August 23, 2018, 11:18:27 AM
If you would have bailed on her had you known this why would you not do so now? That is essentially rewarding the deceit. Ignore the sunk cost of time and make a clear headed decision as to whether or not you want this particular lady as your life partner. If you don't we can save a lot of time working on how to pay off those loans.

If you are staying with her I would direct her towards the highest paying career option she can reasonably be expected to attain with her education and skills/experience. She's 30 with a huge debt and not that much time left to pay it off and make headway financially. She doesn't have the luxury of pursuing what she is interested in or passionate about until that debt is paid off.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: MilesTeg on August 23, 2018, 11:18:43 AM
  I am looking for some advice. I (30) just learned this week that my GF (30) of nearly 2 years has $211,000 in student loans. She currently earns ~$60,000 working for a non profit in marketing. Her degrees (undergrad and masters) are not in exactly high paying/high demand fields.

  I knew she had significant student loans, but had been under the impression they were ~100,000. We have been talking about marriage, looking at rings. I quite a bit upset by this. Unhappy that she hid it and sad about what this would mean for my (now our) plans. This amount wipes our more than a third of my own net worth. She wanted to tell her if I want to break up by then end of the week. With this and other issues I am honestly conflicted... If I had known about this much earlier in the relationship I definitely would have bailed.

  I understand why she hid it (I have asked about her loans and finances in general in the past). She says she has been dumped twice before because of it. She also feels very ashamed about it, "like a complete failure". I think she has been ignoring it, pretending it didn't exist, as looking at it straight in the face was to overwhelming and she did not have the financial skills and understanding to truly mitigate it or its impact (since googling around after confessing she has found several missed opportunities in her past which would have relieved or significantly reduced the impact of the debt).

  On the other hand. Before this she made a very brave move last month to get rid of her clown car luxury SUV (2015 Nissan rouge with almost all the options, bought used), which I had been unable to believe she had when we first started talking general money/earnings and have been encouraging her to get rid of, and move to commuting to her job via electric bicycle (used from craigslist). I helped with this by covering the gap between the cars value and the loan and purchasing the e-bike with the understanding she would repay when she could. She also has completely come around to the FI mindset after largely resisting with many of the usual arguments (what would you do with time, work is example for children, would be bored, impossible to do, etc).

  In looking at addressing this it looks like there a could of ways forward but we could really use some help analyzing which way is the correct way to jump.
  As I mentioned she currently works for a nonprofit and currently earns ~$60,000 and was just turned down for a raise or promotion after working a lot of overtime for the org on the technicality of she has not worked there long enough (convenient excuse due to lack of budget in my opinion, her missing the time requirement was due to screw-ups in their HR departments on-boarding) despite having been promised this promotion upon satisfactory performance when hired.  This is while she was managing 5 contracts in comparison to her direct superior's single less valuable contract, She was hired directly into the org after working as a temp due to her performance. Unfortunately from her perspective they have also hired another temp to perm empl. into a higher pay band recently with less education and skills (because that was the open spot available). In my opinion this is unfortunately common in work, but even more so in the non profit do good for the world jobs (particularly with many of my generation looking for meaningful work).*
  She has recently been accepted into the federal student loan forgiveness program and has 6 months into the 10 years you have to be in working in non-profit in to get the loans forgiven. Unfortunately only approximately half the loans qualify, however apparently she can reroll them so that all of them so that they are eligible, but the timer will have to restart for 10 year period. The disadvantage of following this path is that it limits her salary and job selection for the next 10 years.
  The other route would be for her to pursue the highest paying jobs she can and re-consolidate the loans into private ones which offer lower interest rates (but less forgiveness/flexibility in hard times).
  Another would for me to shoulder the loans and pay them off completely when we get married, but the capital gains from sales of enough stock would be significant and it would wipe out most of my non tax sheltered investments, likely preventing a house purchase in the near-to-mid term.
  There are other options like the income based repayment program, which will forgive loans after 20-25 years of payments based on your HOUSEHOLD income (which would put us in the top 15% of income per year payment bracket), but they do not seem particularly well advised for those attempting to save for FIRE.

Does anyone know of any or have the skills to make a spreadsheet to answer the question of the best path forward for quickest FIRE and highest net worth. I.e. take all the variables, salary, 401k match, expected investment earnings, salary increases and spit out which is better, non-profit with minimal payments and forgiveness, or highest salary and with that path should the loans be paid down as quickly as possible (back of the napkin I believe this would be the correct approach with high salary)?

I found this spreadsheet when googling for solutions and it is is a good start but stops short of answering these questions. https://millennialmoola.com/2016/08/29/student-loan-analysis-tool/ (https://millennialmoola.com/2016/08/29/student-loan-analysis-tool/)
Sorry for the book. I can maybe make these calculations myself eventually. I guess with no real family or social network who can effectively comment I am reaching out here for guidance from a community of like minded people.

Breaking up with someone because of a debt would be remarkably stupid.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Retire-Canada on August 23, 2018, 11:21:33 AM
Breaking up with someone because of a debt would be remarkably stupid.

I wouldn't agree with that. Being able to make intelligent financial decisions would be one of the things I'd be looking for if I found myself single. Getting into $200K debt for a low demand degree that gets you a $60K/yr job would not exemplify that. Lying to me about the debt would exacerbate matters.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Capt j-rod on August 23, 2018, 11:24:48 AM
Life after marriage is very different from the dating scene. No need to break up, but postpone? Long engagements happen every day. Signing the paper? Well that requires 100% transparency. I believe there is a loan repayment plan that takes a percentage of your pay for 10 years and forgives the loan. The catch is it has to be a state or federal type job. I think teachers are eligible too. My wife and I had $250k in student loans 7 years ago. We make considerably more money with the fields we chose. the remaining balance is just under $50k now. Rather than making this the end then use it to strengthen and better understand one another. Just make sure that she is not telling you what you want and then doing what ever she feels like doing later. My wife hated mustache life at first but quickly realized that it was the path to freedom.

Finally pull both credit reports and make sure there aren't any "surprises" in the credit card world
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Noodle on August 23, 2018, 11:40:54 AM
Plenty of people are married to partners with major and expensive liabilities--children and difficult exes from previous relationships, disabilities, family members requiring long-term care, etc.--and consider it totally worth it. I don't think it has to be a deal-breaker, but I do think you have a lot of long conversations ahead of you, and thinking to do. The fact that she hid her debt and hasn't really been engaging with possible solutions isn't great, but the real question is what she does now. Does she start looking at different jobs or side hustles? Does she fully participate in the process of figuring out what to do next, and act emotionally mature about it? Does she think it would be better to go all in on debt repayment, even if it means putting off other life stages, or does she think the process should be spread out longer, and how does she work through the conversations about that? Does she follow through on what she tells you she will do? While this is an expensive way to find out, you will know through this whether this person has it in her to be a great life partner. This is not the last major crisis you will be through together if you choose to stay together long-term.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Jon Bon on August 23, 2018, 11:40:58 AM
Well that kind of sucks to learn, but honestly that is part of the process. So can't tell you what to do about your relationship, only you know the answer to that. But I can tell you how our process went of uniting 2 households with debt.

I had zero debt, she had 'some loans'  not enough to be worrisome, but I think it was in the 25-50k range.  So eventually I learn what the exact total amount of debt is. Again it kind of sucks to have that as one of the things you bring to a marriage, but no one is perfect.  We get marriage and are  pretty happy in our newlywed lifestyle. So we left it on autopay for about a year after married. That is when I wanted to have control over the payment and amount (I mean this is MMM gotta micromanage your accounts and kill that debt right?!)

So she gives me access to her loan accounts. It was then that I realized what the interest rate was, and how much of that payment went to interest.  This is the point where I starting viewing them as no longer 'her loans' but 'mutual debt that must be killed' so we paid aggressively on these loans, I used some personal savings and had them gone in a year.

If you decide to stay this is important that you both take ownership here. Both of you should be focused on the goal and working to pay them down asap.

My .02 of advice is to forget the federal student loan forgiveness. I feel like 10-20 years in a career that either you dont like or pays poorly or both is a horrible way to live. Work towards making more money and paying them down. 

Also not everyone is good at the same things, you are on this forum so you are probably good with money, your GF probably is not. So you manage the finances and she manages something else you know? Sucks that you are in this situation, I feel for both of you.

Good luck.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: magnet18 on August 23, 2018, 11:42:34 AM
Can you measure your love in a dollar value?
I would happily pay $100,000 to be with you forever, but $200,000, sorry my dear, I just don't love you that much

Regarding hiding it, it had to come up at some point, and she obviously wasn't going to put it on her dating profile.  She told you BEFORE you got engaged, that's doing the right thing.

Ever watch how I met your mother?
Get a comically large bottle of champagne.

If she's come around to FI and is no longer a spender, it seems like after you get married you should be able to pay it off entirely in ~3 years on just her salary alone, assuming promotions and yada yada.
If she was net worth of zero, but you knew she would be earning zero while being educated or job hunting for the next 3 years, would you dump her? Probably not, so it's not about the money.

We can't help with "other issues", whatever those may be. (Unless you post them, that is)
If she was still a spendypants, it would be a different story
As is, nobody comes without baggage and past mistakes, hers just happens to be a large financial one

Onece you get married, a lof of fixed costs cutting in half will help immensely.  (I'm assuming you're not already living together))
If you had your FI plan for yourself based on your single salary, getting married isn't going to drag you two down, it just won't be a huge boost, at least for the first 3 years.  You already have that much to throw at it, meaning you're at least halfway to my fire goals.  You hint you make more than her, indicating to me you could still comfortably fire in another few years
Were you planning to fire in the next 2 years?

I wouldn't be considering 10 years in the nonprofit sector just to avoid 2 years of paying it off

Tldr/my$.02
She told you before you got engaged, and the dollar value itself shouldn't be a deal breaker
Refinance as low as possible & get married (whichever order is best)
She pays it off ASAP
You are set back whatever her salary for 3 years would have been.  I would happily make that trade if the alternative was to lose my wife.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: MilesTeg on August 23, 2018, 11:43:20 AM
Breaking up with someone because of a debt would be remarkably stupid.

I wouldn't agree with that. Being able to make intelligent financial decisions would be one of the things I'd be looking for if I found myself single. Getting into $200K debt for a low demand degree that gets you a $60K/yr job would not exemplify that. Lying to me about the debt would exacerbate matters.

So you would reject someone for making a mistake? Someone who, as the OP describes, is already working to correct that mistake and not keep making it?

I've never found a perfect person who doesn't make mistakes (even big ones). Especially myself. Where did you find such a person, if I may ask?
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: kitty_boos on August 23, 2018, 11:45:20 AM
This isn't some little harmless white lie told in the beginning of your relationship that no one would even remember 2 years later.

This is a life altering, calculated lie that she's kept up for TWO YEARS.

Who in their right mind would want to marry someone like that?!

and just something else to ponder...if you decide to actually put up with her and marry her, for the love of god don't drain your savings just to pay her stupid loans.  She can leave you in a heartbeat and she's debt free, livin' the life and you're with zero savings and not a damn thing you can do about it.

I think your post has me a little fired up.  :)
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Jon Bon on August 23, 2018, 11:47:17 AM
This isn't some little harmless white lie told in the beginning of your relationship that no one would even remember 2 years later.

This is a life altering, calculated lie that she's kept up for TWO YEARS.

Who in their right mind would want to marry someone like that?!

and just something else to ponder...if you decide to actually put up with her and marry her, for the love of god don't drain your savings just to pay her stupid loans.  She can leave you in a heartbeat and she's debt free, livin' the life and you're with zero savings and not a damn thing you can do about it.

I think your post has me a little fired up.  :)

Sounds like it!

I think OP stated he knew she had some debt, but only now is learning the entire story.

Do you know the interest rates as well? that's damn important! I would probably sit down and have a long talk and have her log into her accounts so you can do some math.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Jrr85 on August 23, 2018, 11:54:42 AM
  I am looking for some advice. I (30) just learned this week that my GF (30) of nearly 2 years has $211,000 in student loans. She currently earns ~$60,000 working for a non profit in marketing. Her degrees (undergrad and masters) are not in exactly high paying/high demand fields.

  I knew she had significant student loans, but had been under the impression they were ~100,000. We have been talking about marriage, looking at rings. I quite a bit upset by this. Unhappy that she hid it and sad about what this would mean for my (now our) plans. This amount wipes our more than a third of my own net worth. She wanted to tell her if I want to break up by then end of the week. With this and other issues I am honestly conflicted... If I had known about this much earlier in the relationship I definitely would have bailed.

  I understand why she hid it (I have asked about her loans and finances in general in the past). She says she has been dumped twice before because of it. She also feels very ashamed about it, "like a complete failure". I think she has been ignoring it, pretending it didn't exist, as looking at it straight in the face was to overwhelming and she did not have the financial skills and understanding to truly mitigate it or its impact (since googling around after confessing she has found several missed opportunities in her past which would have relieved or significantly reduced the impact of the debt).

  On the other hand. Before this she made a very brave move last month to get rid of her clown car luxury SUV (2015 Nissan rouge with almost all the options, bought used), which I had been unable to believe she had when we first started talking general money/earnings and have been encouraging her to get rid of, and move to commuting to her job via electric bicycle (used from craigslist). I helped with this by covering the gap between the cars value and the loan and purchasing the e-bike with the understanding she would repay when she could. She also has completely come around to the FI mindset after largely resisting with many of the usual arguments (what would you do with time, work is example for children, would be bored, impossible to do, etc).

  In looking at addressing this it looks like there a could of ways forward but we could really use some help analyzing which way is the correct way to jump.
  As I mentioned she currently works for a nonprofit and currently earns ~$60,000 and was just turned down for a raise or promotion after working a lot of overtime for the org on the technicality of she has not worked there long enough (convenient excuse due to lack of budget in my opinion, her missing the time requirement was due to screw-ups in their HR departments on-boarding) despite having been promised this promotion upon satisfactory performance when hired.  This is while she was managing 5 contracts in comparison to her direct superior's single less valuable contract, She was hired directly into the org after working as a temp due to her performance. Unfortunately from her perspective they have also hired another temp to perm empl. into a higher pay band recently with less education and skills (because that was the open spot available). In my opinion this is unfortunately common in work, but even more so in the non profit do good for the world jobs (particularly with many of my generation looking for meaningful work).*
  She has recently been accepted into the federal student loan forgiveness program and has 6 months into the 10 years you have to be in working in non-profit in to get the loans forgiven. Unfortunately only approximately half the loans qualify, however apparently she can reroll them so that all of them so that they are eligible, but the timer will have to restart for 10 year period. The disadvantage of following this path is that it limits her salary and job selection for the next 10 years.
  The other route would be for her to pursue the highest paying jobs she can and re-consolidate the loans into private ones which offer lower interest rates (but less forgiveness/flexibility in hard times).
  Another would for me to shoulder the loans and pay them off completely when we get married, but the capital gains from sales of enough stock would be significant and it would wipe out most of my non tax sheltered investments, likely preventing a house purchase in the near-to-mid term.
  There are other options like the income based repayment program, which will forgive loans after 20-25 years of payments based on your HOUSEHOLD income (which would put us in the top 15% of income per year payment bracket), but they do not seem particularly well advised for those attempting to save for FIRE.

Does anyone know of any or have the skills to make a spreadsheet to answer the question of the best path forward for quickest FIRE and highest net worth. I.e. take all the variables, salary, 401k match, expected investment earnings, salary increases and spit out which is better, non-profit with minimal payments and forgiveness, or highest salary and with that path should the loans be paid down as quickly as possible (back of the napkin I believe this would be the correct approach with high salary)?

I found this spreadsheet when googling for solutions and it is is a good start but stops short of answering these questions. https://millennialmoola.com/2016/08/29/student-loan-analysis-tool/ (https://millennialmoola.com/2016/08/29/student-loan-analysis-tool/)
Sorry for the book. I can maybe make these calculations myself eventually. I guess with no real family or social network who can effectively comment I am reaching out here for guidance from a community of like minded people.

Breaking up with someone because of a debt would be remarkably stupid.

Breaking up with someone because of a debt would potentially be stupid depending on the length of the relationship.  Breaking up with someone because they misled you about debt seems considerably less stupid.

Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: mozar on August 23, 2018, 11:58:06 AM
I can't tell you whether the relationship will work or not but I think you should at least postpone the marriage discussion until she has a plan. I paid off 100k in loans in 5 years making 54k a year. I think she makes plenty of money to pay this off herself. Starting next paycheck most of her income needs to go towards the debt. If you can afford it you can cover more of rent. When I was paying down my debt my ex and I moved to the cheapest place possible so I could pay down my debt and they could do the Americorp program.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: magnet18 on August 23, 2018, 11:58:16 AM
If you would have bailed on her had you known this why would you not do so now? That is essentially rewarding the deceit. Ignore the sunk cost of time and make a clear headed decision as to whether or not you want this particular lady as your life partner. If you don't we can save a lot of time...
That's terrible advice

Nobody's perfect, and nobody goes around bragging about everything wrong with them on the first date.  OP never says she lied, just that it never really came out. It makes sense to me, the bigger a debt is, the further along in a relationship you go before talking about it.  IMO, the deadline to clear the air about something like this is before engagement, rather than after.  She owned up to a huge mistake while he can still exit cleanly, respect for that (unless she was hiding it and lying and he just happened to find a bank statement or something, that's a slightly different situation)

To your other point about someone who can make sound financial decisions, if she sold her car and bikes to work, sounds like that box is checked
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: bognish on August 23, 2018, 12:00:29 PM
If she got sick after you got married and incurred $200k medical debt would you dump her? 2 years doesn't seem like too long to me before you have a deep financial picture conversation. Why would she be obligated to show you her financials, debt and interest payments if you are dating? Yes its something the MMM crowd obsesses over, but most other people don't. She came clean when you got serious and started to look at rings. Sounds ok to me.

Help her come up with a plan on how to deal with it. Making her ashamed or feel bad about it won't be healthy for your relationship. You are going to need to figure out how to deal with unexpected surprises if you want a long term relationship. Don't help with payments until you walked down the aisle.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: ixtap on August 23, 2018, 12:01:13 PM
Am I the only one who is disturbed by the idea that she has given OP a deadline to decide whether or not to break up over this?  Like, you have three days to get over it or not, sort out whether you are more perturbed by the breech of trust or touched by the current opening up. Three days to completely rethink your priorities for at least the next 10 years... I kept this from you for two years, now you have three days to decide what to do with the information.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: MilesTeg on August 23, 2018, 12:01:59 PM
  I am looking for some advice. I (30) just learned this week that my GF (30) of nearly 2 years has $211,000 in student loans. She currently earns ~$60,000 working for a non profit in marketing. Her degrees (undergrad and masters) are not in exactly high paying/high demand fields.

  I knew she had significant student loans, but had been under the impression they were ~100,000. We have been talking about marriage, looking at rings. I quite a bit upset by this. Unhappy that she hid it and sad about what this would mean for my (now our) plans. This amount wipes our more than a third of my own net worth. She wanted to tell her if I want to break up by then end of the week. With this and other issues I am honestly conflicted... If I had known about this much earlier in the relationship I definitely would have bailed.

  I understand why she hid it (I have asked about her loans and finances in general in the past). She says she has been dumped twice before because of it. She also feels very ashamed about it, "like a complete failure". I think she has been ignoring it, pretending it didn't exist, as looking at it straight in the face was to overwhelming and she did not have the financial skills and understanding to truly mitigate it or its impact (since googling around after confessing she has found several missed opportunities in her past which would have relieved or significantly reduced the impact of the debt).

  On the other hand. Before this she made a very brave move last month to get rid of her clown car luxury SUV (2015 Nissan rouge with almost all the options, bought used), which I had been unable to believe she had when we first started talking general money/earnings and have been encouraging her to get rid of, and move to commuting to her job via electric bicycle (used from craigslist). I helped with this by covering the gap between the cars value and the loan and purchasing the e-bike with the understanding she would repay when she could. She also has completely come around to the FI mindset after largely resisting with many of the usual arguments (what would you do with time, work is example for children, would be bored, impossible to do, etc).

  In looking at addressing this it looks like there a could of ways forward but we could really use some help analyzing which way is the correct way to jump.
  As I mentioned she currently works for a nonprofit and currently earns ~$60,000 and was just turned down for a raise or promotion after working a lot of overtime for the org on the technicality of she has not worked there long enough (convenient excuse due to lack of budget in my opinion, her missing the time requirement was due to screw-ups in their HR departments on-boarding) despite having been promised this promotion upon satisfactory performance when hired.  This is while she was managing 5 contracts in comparison to her direct superior's single less valuable contract, She was hired directly into the org after working as a temp due to her performance. Unfortunately from her perspective they have also hired another temp to perm empl. into a higher pay band recently with less education and skills (because that was the open spot available). In my opinion this is unfortunately common in work, but even more so in the non profit do good for the world jobs (particularly with many of my generation looking for meaningful work).*
  She has recently been accepted into the federal student loan forgiveness program and has 6 months into the 10 years you have to be in working in non-profit in to get the loans forgiven. Unfortunately only approximately half the loans qualify, however apparently she can reroll them so that all of them so that they are eligible, but the timer will have to restart for 10 year period. The disadvantage of following this path is that it limits her salary and job selection for the next 10 years.
  The other route would be for her to pursue the highest paying jobs she can and re-consolidate the loans into private ones which offer lower interest rates (but less forgiveness/flexibility in hard times).
  Another would for me to shoulder the loans and pay them off completely when we get married, but the capital gains from sales of enough stock would be significant and it would wipe out most of my non tax sheltered investments, likely preventing a house purchase in the near-to-mid term.
  There are other options like the income based repayment program, which will forgive loans after 20-25 years of payments based on your HOUSEHOLD income (which would put us in the top 15% of income per year payment bracket), but they do not seem particularly well advised for those attempting to save for FIRE.

Does anyone know of any or have the skills to make a spreadsheet to answer the question of the best path forward for quickest FIRE and highest net worth. I.e. take all the variables, salary, 401k match, expected investment earnings, salary increases and spit out which is better, non-profit with minimal payments and forgiveness, or highest salary and with that path should the loans be paid down as quickly as possible (back of the napkin I believe this would be the correct approach with high salary)?

I found this spreadsheet when googling for solutions and it is is a good start but stops short of answering these questions. https://millennialmoola.com/2016/08/29/student-loan-analysis-tool/ (https://millennialmoola.com/2016/08/29/student-loan-analysis-tool/)
Sorry for the book. I can maybe make these calculations myself eventually. I guess with no real family or social network who can effectively comment I am reaching out here for guidance from a community of like minded people.

Breaking up with someone because of a debt would be remarkably stupid.

Breaking up with someone because of a debt would potentially be stupid depending on the length of the relationship.  Breaking up with someone because they misled you about debt seems considerably less stupid.

OP says he knew the magnitude of the debt (six figures). Obviously she was not totally transparent, but it's not like she hid the fact that she was heavily in debt. And when it became important and his business (talking about marriage) she told him.

I can't fully judge the situation, but the characterization of her as some deceit filled gold digger (or whatever) just doesn't match with what the OP has actually said. Everyone screws up. Screwing up does not define one's character. What you do AFTER you screw up is what defines your character. From the limited info the OP has said, his GF sounds like a pretty high character person.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Askel on August 23, 2018, 12:04:47 PM
For the record: Although our numbers aren't as impressive as yours, my spouse's student loan debt totaled ~1/3 of my net worth at the time we were married- and we were both significantly older than you at the time. 

We went with pay it down as soon as possible using incomes, not cashing out any investments. 

Our debt to income ratio might be a little different than yours, but we will have it wiped out in just a couple years. 

Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Ecky on August 23, 2018, 12:07:54 PM
If she was dumped over her debt before, it's easy for me to see why she'd be reluctant to be up-front about it. Sounds like she has the right mindset now though, and is being open and honest. If everything else is going well, I'd say keep her.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: v8rx7guy on August 23, 2018, 12:10:27 PM
On the other hand. Before this she made a very brave move last month to get rid of her clown car luxury SUV (2015 Nissan rouge with almost all the options, bought used)

Wow, I would have never considered a used 2015 Nissan Rogue a luxury clown car, even "with all the options".  Carry on.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Askel on August 23, 2018, 12:12:14 PM
On the subject of whether to break up with her over the debt:

Yeah, you can rationalize a break up on this six ways from sunday and nobody will question you (not even her, apparently). 

But, overcome this together and you're probably off to a pretty good start on a solid marriage. 

It's clear she's willing to make some sacrifices to do so.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: magnet18 on August 23, 2018, 12:17:57 PM
Am I the only one who is disturbed by the idea that she has given OP a deadline to decide whether or not to break up over this?  Like, you have three days to get over it or not, sort out whether you are more perturbed by the breech of trust or touched by the current opening up. Three days to completely rethink your priorities for at least the next 10 years... I kept this from you for two years, now you have three days to decide what to do with the information.

I would assume OP has been stewing about it for awhile

I remember something similar happening in my life at some point
When that statement develops out of a situation organically it's not as bad as it sounds on paper
"So I told you my issue, are you gonna dump me, or are we getting married?"
"I don't know"
A couple awkward emotionally tumultuous days later
"Soooooo..."
"<Groans of uncertainty>"
A couple awkward emotionally tumultuous days of "I can't believe you didn't tell me this"  later
"Look, I told you before we got engaged, I don't blame you if you dump me, just let me know by the end of the week if I need to be apartment shopping"
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: cats on August 23, 2018, 12:20:23 PM
I am also in the camp of not automatically dumping her over this alone, though I also would not rush to buy a ring or get married.  While I did not have significant student loan debt, I can think of a lot of stupid stuff I spent money on in my 20s.  I also spent probably 2 years longer in grad school/low paying jobs than I really "needed" to, which easily has an opportunity cost on the order of $100k+, so between my stupid spending and having spent too long in school, I have cost our household quite a bit in NW.  My frugal husband married me anyway.

I would take a look at her behavior now and going forwards--sounds like she is open to changing her ways quite a bit, and if she is really getting on board the frugality train, that could be very good for your finances over the next 30+ years.  I would rather be married to someone who has a debt from the past but has drastically changed their spending habits vs. someone who hasn't carried debt but also sees no value in frugality and spends most of what they earn.  As mentioned above, I probably could have brought another $100k into my marriage if I was more motivated career-wise or had been smarter about spending in my early 20s, but on the other hand, I do a lot to keep our household spending down now and going forwards (my husband does too, obviously).  I feel pretty comfortable guessing that our annual spending is at least $10-20k below what many of our financially responsible but not extreme frugal peers are likely spending, and a good chunk of that is definitely due to my valuing frugal living NOW, even if I wasn't as cognizant about it at age 18 or 22.

Assuming this is the ONLY thing you have doubts about, I would tell her that you still love her and are thinking of marriage, but that you also want to make sure you two have this debt cloud cleared up before you move further along.  That doesn't necessarily mean the debt is all paid off, but that she needs to be on a path to paying it off herself (maybe you eventually do pay it some of it off, but I think it's likely important for her own feeling of self-worth to feel that she CAN get out of this hole on her own).  Do what you can to help her navigate the process, increase her earnings, or save money.  And, make sure you guys talk a lot about what sort of future you want and what sort of spending and savings habits you will need to develop to make it a reality.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: FIRE47 on August 23, 2018, 12:21:40 PM
On the other hand. Before this she made a very brave move last month to get rid of her clown car luxury SUV (2015 Nissan rouge with almost all the options, bought used)

Wow, I would have never considered a used 2015 Nissan Rogue a luxury clown car, even "with all the options".  Carry on.

Agreed - that stuck out to me as well. If you can convince someone of that and to buy an ebike instead then she is already on board.

Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: magnet18 on August 23, 2018, 12:22:59 PM
This isn't some little harmless white lie told in the beginning of your relationship that no one would even remember 2 years later.

This is a life altering, calculated lie that she's kept up for TWO YEARS.

Who in their right mind would want to marry someone like that?!

and just something else to ponder...if you decide to actually put up with her and marry her, for the love of god don't drain your savings just to pay her stupid loans.  She can leave you in a heartbeat and she's debt free, livin' the life and you're with zero savings and not a damn thing you can do about it.

I think your post has me a little fired up.  :)

If she was just getting married for the money and running, usually you would spring this right after the honeymoon, not before the engagement, this would make her the worst gold digger ever

Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: charis on August 23, 2018, 12:29:12 PM
Assuming this is the ONLY thing you have doubts about, I would tell her that you still love her and are thinking of marriage, but that you also want to make sure you two have this debt cloud cleared up before you move further along.  That doesn't necessarily mean the debt is all paid off, but that she needs to be on a path to paying it off herself (maybe you eventually do pay it some of it off, but I think it's likely important for her own feeling of self-worth to feel that she CAN get out of this hole on her own).  Do what you can to help her navigate the process, increase her earnings, or save money.  And, make sure you guys talk a lot about what sort of future you want and what sort of spending and savings habits you will need to develop to make it a reality.

The OP said "With this and other issues I am honestly conflicted."  He also said that she hid it from him.  I think we need to take him at his word that she hid the debt and there are other issues in the relationship.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: MilesTeg on August 23, 2018, 12:31:35 PM
On the other hand. Before this she made a very brave move last month to get rid of her clown car luxury SUV (2015 Nissan rouge with almost all the options, bought used)

Wow, I would have never considered a used 2015 Nissan Rogue a luxury clown car, even "with all the options".  Carry on.

Yeah, a 18-20k used vehicle (KBB on 2015 rogue fully loaded) is hardly a terrible decision. But hey, she went even better and got rid of it in favor of a bike which isn't some small platitude.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: DreamFIRE on August 23, 2018, 12:31:49 PM
  I am looking for some advice. I (30) just learned this week that my GF (30) of nearly 2 years has $211,000 in student loans.

Just don't get married or ever make yourself liable in any way for her debt.  Maybe you can find a better replacement that isn't carrying such a burden.

Edit:  And for anyone trolling, that is a gender neutral piece of advice.  Anyone can have debt.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Slee_stack on August 23, 2018, 12:35:20 PM
Are the only options Marry or Break-up?

Why not continue as you are and learn if there is any more to the story?
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: SillyPutty on August 23, 2018, 12:36:28 PM
If she got sick after you got married and incurred $200k medical debt would you dump her? 2 years doesn't seem like too long to me before you have a deep financial picture conversation. Why would she be obligated to show you her financials, debt and interest payments if you are dating? Yes its something the MMM crowd obsesses over, but most other people don't. She came clean when you got serious and started to look at rings. Sounds ok to me.

Help her come up with a plan on how to deal with it. Making her ashamed or feel bad about it won't be healthy for your relationship. You are going to need to figure out how to deal with unexpected surprises if you want a long term relationship. Don't help with payments until you walked down the aisle.

Agreed. I don't think she did anything wrong. She shouldn't have told you ~$100,000, because she shouldn't have told you a number at all. That was her business. And when it looked like it might become your business (when you began talking about marriage), she was honest.

That said, if you're really on the fence about breaking up or getting married, I think I'd probably take that as a sign. If you can quantify the worth of the relationship, it's probably not enough. If my partner told me I wasn't worth $200,000, I would definitely leave.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: MilesTeg on August 23, 2018, 12:40:13 PM
  I am looking for some advice. I (30) just learned this week that my GF (30) of nearly 2 years has $211,000 in student loans.

Just don't get married or ever make yourself liable in any way for her debt.  Maybe you can find a better replacement that isn't carrying such a burden.

Is this sarcasm I am missing? If not, I have a truly morbid curiosity as to how this perspective (money > love/relationship/companionship) develops in a person. Again, it's pretty clear this gal is putting real effort into fixing her mistakes and making better decisions going forward (see, trading in car for a bike).
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: MilesTeg on August 23, 2018, 12:42:51 PM
If she got sick after you got married and incurred $200k medical debt would you dump her? 2 years doesn't seem like too long to me before you have a deep financial picture conversation. Why would she be obligated to show you her financials, debt and interest payments if you are dating? Yes its something the MMM crowd obsesses over, but most other people don't. She came clean when you got serious and started to look at rings. Sounds ok to me.

Help her come up with a plan on how to deal with it. Making her ashamed or feel bad about it won't be healthy for your relationship. You are going to need to figure out how to deal with unexpected surprises if you want a long term relationship. Don't help with payments until you walked down the aisle.

Agreed. I don't think she did anything wrong. She shouldn't have told you ~$100,000, because she shouldn't have told you a number at all. That was her business. And when it looked like it might become your business (when you began talking about marriage), she was honest.

That said, if you're really on the fence about breaking up or getting married, I think I'd probably take that as a sign. If you can quantify the worth of the relationship, it's probably not enough. If my partner told me I wasn't worth $200,000, I would definitely leave.

Several in this crowd seem to thing she was obligated to bring her previous 10 years of tax returns, bank statements, loan documents, proof of employment and the whole 9 yards to the first date or she's not being honest enough, lol

and if there's any problem, well he shoulda just moved on to a better model!
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Retire-Canada on August 23, 2018, 12:43:21 PM
Am I the only one who is disturbed by the idea that she has given OP a deadline to decide whether or not to break up over this?  Like, you have three days to get over it or not, sort out whether you are more perturbed by the breech of trust or touched by the current opening up. Three days to completely rethink your priorities for at least the next 10 years... I kept this from you for two years, now you have three days to decide what to do with the information.

Nope.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: MilesTeg on August 23, 2018, 12:45:58 PM
I dub this concept of dumping people because they have debt "inverse gold digging".
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: magnet18 on August 23, 2018, 12:46:12 PM
OP casually mentioned "other issues".  Maybe those are "she leaves dirty dishes in the sink and towels on the floor". Maybe those are "she's addicted to opioids and won't stop cheating on me"

Hard for us to speculate, all relationships have "issues", some breakup worthy, some not

There's also the element of cold feet

I've never known anybody that went through the engagement/marriage process without a lot of stress and panic and thoughts of "OMG I'm making a huge mistake but I'm already committed"
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Zikoris on August 23, 2018, 12:47:07 PM
Yeah, debt like that would turn a person toxic to me immediately, unless they had some sort of logical system in place to wipe it out rapidly (that didn't require me to pay for it). It's similar to people who pretend their kids don't exist when they're dating. Not cool. Tells you two things that are really not flattering:

1. She has a propensity towards making bad financial decisions and sticking her head in the sand
2. She has questionable morals and is untrustworthy (re: hiding it for two years)

Neither of those make me think "Wow, this person would make a great life partner!"
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Lulee on August 23, 2018, 12:47:17 PM
Please don't tie yourself to this woman.  Yet.

Explain to her that you'll work with her to get this debt resolved but you won't pay it off for her.  For now, because your trust in her is so damaged, you want to go to couples counseling to work through your ability as a couple to communicate, especially on difficult issues (I'd also recommend the book "Difficult Conversations" which I've just started reading myself) and to find out what other things on your relationship could tank your marriage.  Tell her you know it will be difficult and uncomfortable at times but it's the only way to repair and build up a healthy relationship on which you two can create a lasting marriage.  If you put it to her as a way to go forward and grow closer as a couple and not as a punitive measure, she'll likely agree.  What you two uncover in the course of the next few months of counseling will tell you if you can be a couple or not.

Personally, I think waiting for loan forgiveness is in most instances a bit of magical thinking --- someone (Mommy, Daddy, SO, or government) will come rescue me from the consequences of my decisions.  Back burner it for now.

As others here have done, she should be able to pay off her loans as long as she aggressively works toward it.  If she's made lots of progress in becoming more money-savvy since she's met you, that says a lot about how she's growing as a person.  Let her continue to grow by NOT handling this problem for her, only assist her in her own efforts to solve the debt.  Fixing things for her will wreck your financial future and stunt her growth as an adult.

If, after a few months of counseling, your trust has been re-built and you believe you have a future with her, offer to move in together (if you're not already) with an agreement about what standard of living you two will have (cable or no, how often you go out to eat or get take out, how fancy a place to live-in, etc.) with her paying a very small portion of the expenses WITH THE PROVISO that she is enrolled to the max for whatever retirement account(s) she can have at work and that the majority of the rest of her income go to paying off her student loan.  You'd be agreeing to carry most of the day to day weight but ONLY so she can free herself from her debts.  To help further, she can take on extra work to pay off her debt and you could, if you felt financially up to it, offer to match debt payments from her extra work as long as it goes to her debt.  She's in a hair on fire situation and she needs to live like it.  If she's not willing to make the effort to pay off her debt with your assistance, then it's a deal breaker and time to move on your separate ways.

But for all you may hold sacred, DO NOT destroy your financial future to help her out of this mess.  She can resolve it all on her own if she tries and she won't die from the effort.  It will instead make her a stronger, more adept person.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Retire-Canada on August 23, 2018, 12:49:20 PM
I dub this concept of dumping people because they have debt "inverse gold digging".

You keep conveniently overlooking the fact she mislead him on purpose for 2 years because she didn't want to get dumped again. I sympathise with her, but I can't overlook the self-serving deception.

People select partners for all sorts of reasons - face shape, height, body type, etc... none of that is even in a person's control and we don't blink an eye when those criteria are used to make a choice, but lying, poor life choices and debt are somehow off limits? Makes no sense to me.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: SillyPutty on August 23, 2018, 12:50:05 PM

Several in this crowd seem to thing she was obligated to bring her previous 10 years of tax returns, bank statements, loan documents, proof of employment and the whole 9 yards to the first date or she's not being honest enough, lol

and if there's any problem, well he shoulda just moved on to a better model!

Hahaha. Seriously! And that post about "Maybe you can find a better replacement that isn't carrying such a burden"... truly hoping (but doubting) it was sarcasm. Is it really that easy!?! I should've upgraded years ago (jkjk, mean)
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: driftwood on August 23, 2018, 12:55:56 PM
OP, just like any consenting adult, has EVERY right to end ANY relationship for ANY reason. $200K student debt? sure, a child from a previous relationship, sure, snoring in your sleep, sure, previous arrest record, sure, differences in house temperature preferences, sure.  I believe we as the US are starting to recognize that consent is important (#metoo), so criticizing him or calling him stupid for considering breaking up over this is a bit crazy. Breaking up isn't a punishment for her choices, it is him deciding if he wants to continue a relationship or not with this new information that he's been provided (debt amount and deception).


Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Yankuba on August 23, 2018, 01:00:23 PM
OP casually mentioned "other issues".  Maybe those are "she leaves dirty dishes in the sink and towels on the floor". Maybe those are "she's addicted to opioids and won't stop cheating on me"

Hard for us to speculate, all relationships have "issues", some breakup worthy, some not

There's also the element of cold feet

I've never known anybody that went through the engagement/marriage process without a lot of stress and panic and thoughts of "OMG I'm making a huge mistake but I'm already committed"

Yes, we need to know more. Aside from the debt is she someone you want to spend the rest of your life with? Would you have difficulty attracting a quality partner if you do decide to move on? If you're a catch, then feel free to break up and move on to someone with better finances. You're only 30 - you can date for ten years before settling down. 

My wife has always earned very little and at first I didn't mind paying for everything and doing all the saving/investing. But fast forward 14 years and it has become a large tension in our marriage because I hate my job and want to get out but I can't because my wife has very little earnings potential and we have small kids. I would recommend that people marry people with similar wealth/income. One person shouldn't pay for everything.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: magnet18 on August 23, 2018, 01:03:14 PM
I dub this concept of dumping people because they have debt "inverse gold digging".

You keep conveniently overlooking the fact she mislead him on purpose for 2 years because she didn't want to get dumped again. I sympathise with her, but I can't overlook the self-serving deception.

People select partners for all sorts of reasons - face shape, height, body type, etc... none of that is even in a person's control and we don't blink an eye when those criteria are used to make a choice, but lying, poor life choices and debt are somehow off limits? Makes no sense to me.

You keep convienently overlooking the fact that it doesn't appear she coldly dieceved him for 2 years.  He knew she had ~6 figures of student loan debt from ~ 10 years ago that was a mistake, and assumed it started with a 1
She brings the books to the table before either of them actually get committed while he can exit cleanly before family announcements and such, turns out she has ~6 figures of student loan debt, and it starts with a 2
If she agrees to a plan where they move in and 100% of her salary goes towards paying it off, i fail to see how this is a giant issue
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: PoutineLover on August 23, 2018, 01:05:26 PM
Ouch. I get that for her it must be very difficult to talk about, since that's an astounding amount of debt, especially without a corresponding salary to show for it. And 2 years is a very long time for that to stay hidden, although I can somewhat understand if the relationship didn't start out super seriously or if the discussions about future plans weren't really brought up. Whether or not you stick with her depends partly on how much you love each other and are compatible in other ways, and whether there are any other huge issues (since you kinda alluded to some). And whether you think she can commit to paying it off, and become a partner that contributes positively to your combined finances rather than negatively.
I didn't find out the exact balance of my partner's debt until we were dating for a while, but it wasn't a huge amount and he didn't purposely hide it. When we started talking about moving in together I got the exact number. I didn't consider that a lie, because it was initially not relevant to "us" and when it became relevant he didn't hesitate to say it, and he had a plan in motion to pay it off.
It sounds to me like she knows it's bad, she knew you wouldn't like it, and she chose to put off telling you until she couldn't anymore. I'd be a bit wary, especially with the ultimatum as well. Sounds like a bit of manipulation and lack of communication that could spell trouble in other areas too. Tread carefully, and don't get married yet.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: FINate on August 23, 2018, 01:05:50 PM
Based only on the details provided, I would move on.

In the West we have this naive notion that love is just something that happens. "I fell in love!" It's a force we have no control over, and when it strikes well... you get married 'cause that's the penultimate event of the relationship. But love in the context of marriage is not an emotion or a feeling, it's a choice, a deep commitment between two people that legally binds them together. You are not yet married, there is no commitment implied or otherwise at this juncture.

This commitment must be predicated on mutual trust. The issue isn't really the money, though going into massive debt in a low paying field is a red flag. No! The issue is that she hid it from you for 2 years. (And yes, letting on that it was $100k instead of $200k is misleading.) The justification that she did this because she was dumped over this issue before makes it worse, not better. It indicates intent to deceive.

And then giving you a short deadline to make such a major life altering decision likely indicates a deeper underlying control issue. Think about it, what's the rush?

IMO, you're better off not marrying than marrying into a situation with major trust and/or control issues. Yes, no one is perfect, but that's not excuse to just ignore obvious issues before jumping into a lifelong commitment with someone.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: TheExplorer on August 23, 2018, 01:08:57 PM
Is there a risk that by staying together longer will make you de fecto married and you liable for her debts even if you do not get actually married?

If so, given you have already been together 2 years, this might be something of an urgent issue to consider...
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: magnet18 on August 23, 2018, 01:10:12 PM
OP casually mentioned "other issues".  Maybe those are "she leaves dirty dishes in the sink and towels on the floor". Maybe those are "she's addicted to opioids and won't stop cheating on me"

Hard for us to speculate, all relationships have "issues", some breakup worthy, some not

There's also the element of cold feet

I've never known anybody that went through the engagement/marriage process without a lot of stress and panic and thoughts of "OMG I'm making a huge mistake but I'm already committed"

Yes, we need to know more. Aside from the debt is she someone you want to spend the rest of your life with? Would you have difficulty attracting a quality partner if you do decide to move on? If you're a catch, then feel free to break up and move on to someone with better finances. You're only 30 - you can date for ten years before settling down. 

My wife has always earned very little and at first I didn't mind paying for everything and doing all the saving/investing. But fast forward 14 years and it has become a large tension in our marriage because I hate my job and want to get out but I can't because my wife has very little earnings potential and we have small kids. I would recommend that people marry people with similar wealth/income. One person shouldn't pay for everything.

So you regret marrying your wife because you wish she made more money?
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: MilesTeg on August 23, 2018, 01:10:23 PM
I dub this concept of dumping people because they have debt "inverse gold digging".

You keep conveniently overlooking the fact she mislead him on purpose for 2 years because she didn't want to get dumped again. I sympathise with her, but I can't overlook the self-serving deception.

People select partners for all sorts of reasons - face shape, height, body type, etc... none of that is even in a person's control and we don't blink an eye when those criteria are used to make a choice, but lying, poor life choices and debt are somehow off limits? Makes no sense to me.

I'm not overlooking it at all. As I already said, she didn't show him her statements, but had communicated the magnitude of the debt. And like another poster said, that's fine, because it wasn't his business (just like it wasn't my wife's business about my exact financials or mine about hers until we started talking about getting married).

However, when it became his potential business, she provided full disclosure. There's nothing at all wrong with her not giving him an exact figure until now.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Jouer on August 23, 2018, 01:11:00 PM
On the other hand. Before this she made a very brave move last month to get rid of her clown car luxury SUV (2015 Nissan rouge with almost all the options, bought used)

Wow, I would have never considered a used 2015 Nissan Rogue a luxury clown car, even "with all the options".  Carry on.

It is for someone with $200k in debt
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: ak907 on August 23, 2018, 01:13:54 PM
Sounds like it!

I think OP stated he knew she had some debt, but only now is learning the entire story.

Do you know the interest rates as well? that's damn important! I would probably sit down and have a long talk and have her log into her accounts so you can do some math.

Correct, I did know she had debt. I could have sworn she had told me it was "around" $100,000 before, when she brought up the 200 number she says she did not when I said "What?!! I thought it was 100."
I do know, good point, the interest rate is 6.5%. But as I understand it rolling it over to private lenders can reduce it but then you cannot receive loan forgiveness.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: ak907 on August 23, 2018, 01:16:20 PM
Am I the only one who is disturbed by the idea that she has given OP a deadline to decide whether or not to break up over this?  Like, you have three days to get over it or not, sort out whether you are more perturbed by the breech of trust or touched by the current opening up. Three days to completely rethink your priorities for at least the next 10 years... I kept this from you for two years, now you have three days to decide what to do with the information.
To be fair she told me on Sunday, I only decided to post today. Her concern is being 30 and wanting to have children if we break up she does not have much time to get into and feel out a serious relationship left before she wants to have kids.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Retire-Canada on August 23, 2018, 01:16:30 PM
However, when it became his potential business, she provided full disclosure. There's nothing at all wrong with her not giving him an exact figure until now.

It was his business as soon as he asked about and not after they were picking out rings. She admitted she was hiding it to avoid having him break up with her. It was not just deceitful it was well planned out.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: simonsez on August 23, 2018, 01:19:56 PM
Yeah, debt like that would turn a person toxic to me immediately, unless they had some sort of logical system in place to wipe it out rapidly (that didn't require me to pay for it). It's similar to people who pretend their kids don't exist when they're dating. Not cool. Tells you two things that are really not flattering:

1. She has a propensity towards making bad financial decisions and sticking her head in the sand
2. She has questionable morals and is untrustworthy (re: hiding it for two years)

Neither of those make me think "Wow, this person would make a great life partner!"
That's a reasonable thought process but what can this woman do moving forward?  Is she forever condemned to be single since she is expected to have '211k loan debt' tattooed on her forehead?

What's done is done.  Maybe the bad financial decisions are in the past.  I'm not sure how much of it was hidden if the OP already suspected it was low six figures  In fact, maybe she had mentioned "low six figures" two years ago and the OP took that to mean perhaps a hair over 100k and the other thought they told (enough of) the truth at that stage of the relationship.  If I was single now I certainly wouldn't be spouting off about my 401k on a first date.

OP, think about your future.  If this person is right for you, get married (eventually)!  If not, get out!  Note that a ring or expensive ceremony is not required up front or at all.  Also, many ways to treat finances in a relationship.  If the pomp and circumstance is important, you could do court nuptials in the near term and then after the debt is repaid, celebrate however you want.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: mrsnamemustache on August 23, 2018, 01:22:39 PM
Although there are a lot of details missing, something about this post makes me think that I would dump OP if I was his dear GF.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: charis on August 23, 2018, 01:30:07 PM
OP casually mentioned "other issues".  Maybe those are "she leaves dirty dishes in the sink and towels on the floor". Maybe those are "she's addicted to opioids and won't stop cheating on me"

Hard for us to speculate, all relationships have "issues", some breakup worthy, some not

There's also the element of cold feet

I've never known anybody that went through the engagement/marriage process without a lot of stress and panic and thoughts of "OMG I'm making a huge mistake but I'm already committed"

What?  Is this a joke?  The only people I know about having such thoughts before getting married are now divorced or close to it.

It's the OP's decision whether the issues that he stated were causing him to be conflicted about the relationship are worth breaking up over.  Finding out that your partner was hiding a 200+K debt while you were talking about marriage and looking at rings raises several big red flags, not just one, to most people.  He said previously asked, and she hid it. 

She's not necessarily condemned forever, but the OP is not a bad person to be reconsidering whether this is the person he should really spend the rest of his life with.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: L2 on August 23, 2018, 01:32:41 PM
I'm not gonna tell you what to do in regards of keeping her, but what I do think is if you do decide to keep her, PSLF is far and away the best bet. 60k isn't bad money. 60k is really good money for a marketing major where I live in a L to M COL area. I don't think she will be limiting herself to the tune of nearly 250k+ in the next decade, and there are NFP options that can pay well, such as hospitals. Get all of them PSLF eligible ASAP though, and make sure your i's are dotted and t's crossed because the paperwork/qualifications isn't something you want to mess up.

There are the pessimists out there who believe it's going to go away and those currently in the program won't be allowed to complete it, but I don't buy it for one second. Political suicide if that happens if you ask me.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Zikoris on August 23, 2018, 01:37:49 PM
Yeah, debt like that would turn a person toxic to me immediately, unless they had some sort of logical system in place to wipe it out rapidly (that didn't require me to pay for it). It's similar to people who pretend their kids don't exist when they're dating. Not cool. Tells you two things that are really not flattering:

1. She has a propensity towards making bad financial decisions and sticking her head in the sand
2. She has questionable morals and is untrustworthy (re: hiding it for two years)

Neither of those make me think "Wow, this person would make a great life partner!"
That's a reasonable thought process but what can this woman do moving forward?  Is she forever condemned to be single since she is expected to have '211k loan debt' tattooed on her forehead?

What's done is done.  Maybe the bad financial decisions are in the past.  I'm not sure how much of it was hidden if the OP already suspected it was low six figures  In fact, maybe she had mentioned "low six figures" two years ago and the OP took that to mean perhaps a hair over 100k and the other thought they told (enough of) the truth at that stage of the relationship.  If I was single now I certainly wouldn't be spouting off about my 401k on a first date.

OP, think about your future.  If this person is right for you, get married (eventually)!  If not, get out!  Note that a ring or expensive ceremony is not required up front or at all.  Also, many ways to treat finances in a relationship.  If the pomp and circumstance is important, you could do court nuptials in the near term and then after the debt is repaid, celebrate however you want.

I think she should come up with a system to pay it off, and work hard on that. I bet the debt conversation would have gone very differently if she'd said something like "I've been paying down these loans with 50% of my income, have paid off X amount so far, and will be completely finished in X time according to my calculations." As far as I can see, she's made zero progress in what, 10 years?

There are also lots of guys who don't care a huge amount about financial stuff. She just probably won't end up dating a financially super-savvy mustachian, but that hardly eliminates anyone since we're such a rarity.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Slee_stack on August 23, 2018, 01:39:33 PM
Although there are a lot of details missing, something about this post makes me think that I would dump OP if I was his dear GF.
More OP shaming...nice.   smh.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Schaefer Light on August 23, 2018, 01:44:31 PM
I would advise you to consider not only the implications to your savings rate, but also think about what would happen in the event of divorce.  If I was going to marry someone with that kind of debt, I would want to protect myself against helping to pay it off and then getting nothing in return if she decided she wanted a divorce.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Yankuba on August 23, 2018, 01:44:37 PM
OP casually mentioned "other issues".  Maybe those are "she leaves dirty dishes in the sink and towels on the floor". Maybe those are "she's addicted to opioids and won't stop cheating on me"

Hard for us to speculate, all relationships have "issues", some breakup worthy, some not

There's also the element of cold feet

I've never known anybody that went through the engagement/marriage process without a lot of stress and panic and thoughts of "OMG I'm making a huge mistake but I'm already committed"

Yes, we need to know more. Aside from the debt is she someone you want to spend the rest of your life with? Would you have difficulty attracting a quality partner if you do decide to move on? If you're a catch, then feel free to break up and move on to someone with better finances. You're only 30 - you can date for ten years before settling down. 

My wife has always earned very little and at first I didn't mind paying for everything and doing all the saving/investing. But fast forward 14 years and it has become a large tension in our marriage because I hate my job and want to get out but I can't because my wife has very little earnings potential and we have small kids. I would recommend that people marry people with similar wealth/income. One person shouldn't pay for everything.

So you regret marrying your wife because you wish she made more money?

75% yes, 25% other reasons
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Yankuba on August 23, 2018, 01:49:37 PM
Am I the only one who is disturbed by the idea that she has given OP a deadline to decide whether or not to break up over this?  Like, you have three days to get over it or not, sort out whether you are more perturbed by the breech of trust or touched by the current opening up. Three days to completely rethink your priorities for at least the next 10 years... I kept this from you for two years, now you have three days to decide what to do with the information.
To be fair she told me on Sunday, I only decided to post today. Her concern is being 30 and wanting to have children if we break up she does not have much time to get into and feel out a serious relationship left before she wants to have kids.

That's another issue. If you have kids, what happens then? Will she be a SAHM and then you will have to support the family and pay off the debt? Or does she earn enough that you would pay for daycare and she could hammer away at the debt and contribute to family finances?
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Slee_stack on August 23, 2018, 01:51:38 PM
Am I the only one who is disturbed by the idea that she has given OP a deadline to decide whether or not to break up over this?  Like, you have three days to get over it or not, sort out whether you are more perturbed by the breech of trust or touched by the current opening up. Three days to completely rethink your priorities for at least the next 10 years... I kept this from you for two years, now you have three days to decide what to do with the information.
To be fair she told me on Sunday, I only decided to post today. Her concern is being 30 and wanting to have children if we break up she does not have much time to get into and feel out a serious relationship left before she wants to have kids.
Do you share the goal of having children relatively quickly?  Or is that another point of concern (kids or timing for kids)?

Its a tough situation.  A financial bomb is dropped along with an expectation of potentially 'kids....now'.  That adds to the challenge of cleaning up the debt if you do stay together.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: ak907 on August 23, 2018, 01:53:58 PM
OP casually mentioned "other issues".  Maybe those are "she leaves dirty dishes in the sink and towels on the floor". Maybe those are "she's addicted to opioids and won't stop cheating on me"

Hard for us to speculate, all relationships have "issues", some breakup worthy, some not

There's also the element of cold feet

I've never known anybody that went through the engagement/marriage process without a lot of stress and panic and thoughts of "OMG I'm making a huge mistake but I'm already committed"

Other issues
:) pretty accurate. Nothing as major as this. Cleanliness is part of it, I was raised by a very tidy woman and have perhaps higher expectations/preferences of cleanliness than most (like not having visible dirt, no dirty dishes on counter/sink, no dirty clothes on floor/around house). It is much easier to keep and have things stay clean on my own than it is with her. But on the flip side she provides many things like the delicious dinners she cooks when she make the kitchen into a Pollock painting (obvious exaggeration).
The one other issue that really bothers me is that she has persistently difficult time achieving what would be defined as a healthy weight. To be honest this currently probably bothers more from an appearance standpoint but I also worry about long term health and activity capability (particularly after giving birth which frequently makes things much more difficult for women from what I have seen/been told).
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: v8rx7guy on August 23, 2018, 01:55:22 PM
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Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Padonak on August 23, 2018, 02:00:05 PM
Run!
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: ak907 on August 23, 2018, 02:03:26 PM
I am also in the camp of not automatically dumping her over this alone, though I also would not rush to buy a ring or get married.  While I did not have significant student loan debt, I can think of a lot of stupid stuff I spent money on in my 20s.  I also spent probably 2 years longer in grad school/low paying jobs than I really "needed" to, which easily has an opportunity cost on the order of $100k+, so between my stupid spending and having spent too long in school, I have cost our household quite a bit in NW.  My frugal husband married me anyway.

I would take a look at her behavior now and going forwards--sounds like she is open to changing her ways quite a bit, and if she is really getting on board the frugality train, that could be very good for your finances over the next 30+ years.  I would rather be married to someone who has a debt from the past but has drastically changed their spending habits vs. someone who hasn't carried debt but also sees no value in frugality and spends most of what they earn.  As mentioned above, I probably could have brought another $100k into my marriage if I was more motivated career-wise or had been smarter about spending in my early 20s, but on the other hand, I do a lot to keep our household spending down now and going forwards (my husband does too, obviously).  I feel pretty comfortable guessing that our annual spending is at least $10-20k below what many of our financially responsible but not extreme frugal peers are likely spending, and a good chunk of that is definitely due to my valuing frugal living NOW, even if I wasn't as cognizant about it at age 18 or 22.

Assuming this is the ONLY thing you have doubts about, I would tell her that you still love her and are thinking of marriage, but that you also want to make sure you two have this debt cloud cleared up before you move further along.  That doesn't necessarily mean the debt is all paid off, but that she needs to be on a path to paying it off herself (maybe you eventually do pay it some of it off, but I think it's likely important for her own feeling of self-worth to feel that she CAN get out of this hole on her own).  Do what you can to help her navigate the process, increase her earnings, or save money.  And, make sure you guys talk a lot about what sort of future you want and what sort of spending and savings habits you will need to develop to make it a reality.

Just wanted to say I like this response a lot. Its very nice and understanding of both sides, and does not come off as stridently judging (surely unintentional) as many. Reminds me of frugalwoods.

You are right she has made huge strides growing and learning about finance and has made sacrifices that make me very proud. She has also taught me a lot and brought skills (like proper delicious cooking/food prep), and risk tolerance and encouragement that has improved my life and happiness.

I fear she would not necessarily be accepting of a delay in marriage, but its not a bad idea, I will try discussing it. When we first started talking about marriage at the beginning of this year she had requested that I propose not to far out in the future ~6-8mo. Her concern with having turned 30 is that she wants to have kids and if we break up this does not leave much time for her to date, develop a serious relationship and get married before she wants to have kids.

This quote particularly stuck home for me:
I would rather be married to someone who has a debt from the past but has drastically changed their spending habits vs. someone who hasn't carried debt but also sees no value in frugality and spends most of what they earn.
Neither of us are perfect. But we work together well, love each-other, and envision compatibly adventurous lives and that is worth a whole lot.

I have addressed the other issues here: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/gf-has-$211-000-in-student-loans/msg2113975/#msg2113975
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: magnet18 on August 23, 2018, 02:06:15 PM
OP casually mentioned "other issues".  Maybe those are "she leaves dirty dishes in the sink and towels on the floor". Maybe those are "she's addicted to opioids and won't stop cheating on me"

Hard for us to speculate, all relationships have "issues", some breakup worthy, some not

There's also the element of cold feet

I've never known anybody that went through the engagement/marriage process without a lot of stress and panic and thoughts of "OMG I'm making a huge mistake but I'm already committed"

What?  Is this a joke?  The only people I know about having such thoughts before getting married are now divorced or close to it.

It's the OP's decision whether the issues that he stated were causing him to be conflicted about the relationship are worth breaking up over.  Finding out that your partner was hiding a 200+K debt while you were talking about marriage and looking at rings raises several big red flags, not just one, to most people.  He said previously asked, and she hid it. 

She's not necessarily condemned forever, but the OP is not a bad person to be reconsidering whether this is the person he should really spend the rest of his life with.

Not at all a Joke
Like before any major life commitment, job change, geographical move,  etc. people get nervous when things get serious.  When the wheels start turning you wonder if you should jump off before the train really gets underway.  DW and I both had massive amounts of stress and doubts, all for reasons that were unfounded, every little molehill can seem like a mountain when you're stressed about a massive life changing event

EDIT

Not to say OP has a molehill! OP definitely has a 200000 mountian to consider! Don't flame me!
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: ak907 on August 23, 2018, 02:09:44 PM
I'm not gonna tell you what to do in regards of keeping her, but what I do think is if you do decide to keep her, PSLF is far and away the best bet. 60k isn't bad money. 60k is really good money for a marketing major where I live in a L to M COL area. I don't think she will be limiting herself to the tune of nearly 250k+ in the next decade, and there are NFP options that can pay well, such as hospitals. Get all of them PSLF eligible ASAP though, and make sure your i's are dotted and t's crossed because the paperwork/qualifications isn't something you want to mess up.

There are the pessimists out there who believe it's going to go away and those currently in the program won't be allowed to complete it, but I don't buy it for one second. Political suicide if that happens if you ask me.

Good to thanks :)
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: DreamFIRE on August 23, 2018, 02:21:56 PM
I think this is something that is going to bother the OP for many years if he stays in this relationship.

It might be time to get out why the gettin's good.  Trade in on a new model, kick the tires, hope you don't run into the same problem.

And for anyone trolling, this advice would apply to any partner, irrespective of gender.  "Debt" is certainly not gender specific.  It just means that you should do your due diligence up front to prevent yourself from getting into the same mess.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: SimpleCycle on August 23, 2018, 02:31:26 PM
Is there a risk that by staying together longer will make you de fecto married and you liable for her debts even if you do not get actually married?

If so, given you have already been together 2 years, this might be something of an urgent issue to consider...

No, this is not a risk in any U.S. jurisdiction.  Common law marriage only exists in 9 states and D.C., requires intent to be common law married, and is difficult to prove even when it legally exists.  Even if OP did find himself common law married somehow, he is not legally responsible for a debt in her name only that was obtained before the marriage.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: haflander on August 23, 2018, 02:36:19 PM

I think this is something that is going to bother the OP for many years if he stays in this relationship.

It might be time to get out why the gettin's good.  Trade in on a new model, kick the tires, hope you don't run into the same problem.

Dude...on the first page you mention getting a "better replacement." And here you double down with the words "new model" and the used car metaphor "kick the tires."

WTF? Your comments strongly suggest that you've had serious issues with women, only value them as you would a used car, and/or have a terrible sense of humor. Pleeeeease tell us that you're being sarcastic (you're not doing it well) or STFU with the misogyny.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: L2 on August 23, 2018, 02:36:53 PM
I think its pretty rude to attack OP/other members of the forum because of financial concerns with SO. If you claim that you were married and all of the sudden your spouse wanted to be a stay at home parent without your buy-in and leave you on the hook for 250K + in student loan payments or you found out that your spouse had a gambling addiction and you were 200k in debt and you wouldn't have to seriously contemplate your marriage, you're a liar.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: SillyPutty on August 23, 2018, 02:37:31 PM

I think this is something that is going to bother the OP for many years if he stays in this relationship.

It might be time to get out why the gettin's good.  Trade in on a new model, kick the tires, hope you don't run into the same problem.

Dude...on the first page you mention getting a "better replacement." And here you double down with the words "new model" and the used car metaphor "kick the tires."

WTF? Your comments strongly suggest that you've had serious issues with women, only value them as you would a used car, and/or have a terrible sense of humor. Pleeeeease tell us that you're being sarcastic (you're not doing it well) or STFU with the misogyny.

WTF is right. So, so inappropriate.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Jrr85 on August 23, 2018, 02:41:47 PM
If she got sick after you got married and incurred $200k medical debt would you dump her? 2 years doesn't seem like too long to me before you have a deep financial picture conversation. Why would she be obligated to show you her financials, debt and interest payments if you are dating? Yes its something the MMM crowd obsesses over, but most other people don't. She came clean when you got serious and started to look at rings. Sounds ok to me.

Help her come up with a plan on how to deal with it. Making her ashamed or feel bad about it won't be healthy for your relationship. You are going to need to figure out how to deal with unexpected surprises if you want a long term relationship. Don't help with payments until you walked down the aisle.

Agreed. I don't think she did anything wrong. She shouldn't have told you ~$100,000, because she shouldn't have told you a number at all. That was her business. And when it looked like it might become your business (when you began talking about marriage), she was honest.

That said, if you're really on the fence about breaking up or getting married, I think I'd probably take that as a sign. If you can quantify the worth of the relationship, it's probably not enough. If my partner told me I wasn't worth $200,000, I would definitely leave.

If you are just casually dating and not exclusive, you don't owe anybody anything.  But if you are dating exclusively and seriously, you owe somebody honesty about your situation well before two years into a relationship, even if marriage hasn't come up.  Things like, I have kids from a previous relationship, I have an STD, I have a terminal illness, I have non-bankruptable debt that exceeds three times my income, I am a felon, etc. are all things you should bring up if you've been seriously dating somebody for any period of time.  Doesn't have to be in the first three to six months, but you owe it to yourself and your partner not to spend two years of each other's time, especially if the female would like to have kids and is approaching 30.   

Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: ETBen on August 23, 2018, 02:50:47 PM
Iím divorced, so I either know nothing or everything about marriage. But I have a few thoughts here as a woman who has seriously and unashamedly considered finances in new relationships. :

Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: SimpleCycle on August 23, 2018, 02:58:31 PM
No one can tell you what to do, obviously.  So instead, you'll get my philosophy of marriage.

Basically to me the point of a marriage it to create something greater together than you would be able to achieve on your own.  Often this involves marrying someone who is not 100% like you.  It also means marrying someone who is enough like you that you are both headed in the same direction and are reasonably certain that you will enjoy a similar path throughout the rest of your lives.  Reasonably, that means marrying someone who shares your core values and supports your aspirations.  You may not know now how it's all going to play out, but you are sure you're going to get somewhere happy and awesome because you are together.

Did you feel that way before you knew about her student loans?  How much does the realization of the student loans change that?  Obviously the trade offs are different because you want to FIRE.  My value system says not everything is about money and FIRE, but you have to decide how you draw those boundaries yourself.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: WranglerBowman on August 23, 2018, 02:59:35 PM
If I were you, and not in a rush to get married yourself, I would evaluate the rate at which she's been paying her loans off since she started working, is it improving/getting better, is she truly committed to sacrificing lifestyle/spending to pay down loans?  If you love her I would wait, maybe a year or more, to see how she's doing paying down the student loans and just being financially fit in general.  If she truly loves you I would expect she would be willing to do the same on nearly an open ended timeline.  If you truly believe she's being honest, changed her spendy habits, means well, and has good fiscal work ethics after a given time frame, which she doesn't know, then I would take the plunge.

If I was in the same position it would be hard for me see past big debt BUT if everything else was great in the relationship I would also be willing to accept and see past the debt(s) knowing you're both on the same page financially NOW and it was a mistake she made in the past.  Sadly it really does come down to placing a value on a person but that could also be my ENTJ programming and I'm sure the Feelings crowd will scoff at this.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: ETBen on August 23, 2018, 03:01:31 PM
No one can tell you what to do, obviously.  So instead, you'll get my philosophy of marriage.

Basically to me the point of a marriage it to create something greater together than you would be able to achieve on your own.  Often this involves marrying someone who is not 100% like you.  It also means marrying someone who is enough like you that you are both headed in the same direction and are reasonably certain that you will enjoy a similar path throughout the rest of your lives.  Reasonably, that means marrying someone who shares your core values and supports your aspirations.  You may not know now how it's all going to play out, but you are sure you're going to get somewhere happy and awesome because you are together.

Did you feel that way before you knew about her student loans?  How much does the realization of the student loans change that?  Obviously the trade offs are different because you want to FIRE.  My value system says not everything is about money and FIRE, but you have to decide how you draw those boundaries yourself.

This is really good. Bc if you donít have something bigger holding you together (not just common interests) when things inevitably get tough, then itís too easy to blame, fight, or walk away. I think people get into trouble when they share interests and believe in marriage, but there isnít something else binding them. Purpose, I suppose.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: sol on August 23, 2018, 03:06:49 PM
I probably couldn't marry someone who would lie to me for so long, about something so big.  Girl has integrity issues, and so I would have trust issues.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: DreamFIRE on August 23, 2018, 03:07:48 PM

I think this is something that is going to bother the OP for many years if he stays in this relationship.

It might be time to get out why the gettin's good.  Trade in on a new model, kick the tires, hope you don't run into the same problem.

And for anyone trolling, this advice would apply to any partner, irrespective of gender.  "Debt" is certainly not gender specific.  It just means that you should do your due diligence up front to prevent yourself from getting into the same mess.


Dude...on the first page you mention getting a "better replacement." And here you double down with the words "new model" and the used car metaphor "kick the tires."

WTF? Your comments strongly suggest that you've had serious issues with women, only value them as you would a used car, and/or have a terrible sense of humor. Pleeeeease tell us that you're being sarcastic (you're not doing it well) or STFU with the misogyny.

I updated my previous post, which you might want to review before attacking me based on your own incorrect and vastly wrong assumptions.

STFU is right.  If you don't like my advice, feel free to ignore it, especially when you are reading something into it that was never stated.  It looks like various people in this thread agree with my advice to move on.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: nessness on August 23, 2018, 03:11:06 PM
With a $600k net worth at 30, you are presumably a fairly high earner, so I think you need to look at this debt in the context of your whole future together. Does she want to stay home with the kids? Do you want her to? Do you want to delay kids until FIRE? How will the debt affect these goals? If she continues making $60k (plus inflation) the rest of her career, will you resent her for it? Does she want to leave the nonprofit world in pursuit of a higher salary, or does she feel fulfilled by her work? And so on. If your answers to these questions aren't compatible with each other's, or if you can't imagine a future with her at all, I think it's time to cut your losses.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Jrr85 on August 23, 2018, 03:14:49 PM
Can you measure your love in a dollar value?
I would happily pay $100,000 to be with you forever, but $200,000, sorry my dear, I just don't love you that much

Regarding hiding it, it had to come up at some point, and she obviously wasn't going to put it on her dating profile.  She told you BEFORE you got engaged, that's doing the right thing.

Ever watch how I met your mother?
Get a comically large bottle of champagne.

If she's come around to FI and is no longer a spender, it seems like after you get married you should be able to pay it off entirely in ~3 years on just her salary alone, assuming promotions and yada yada.
If she was net worth of zero, but you knew she would be earning zero while being educated or job hunting for the next 3 years, would you dump her? Probably not, so it's not about the money.

We can't help with "other issues", whatever those may be. (Unless you post them, that is)
If she was still a spendypants, it would be a different story
As is, nobody comes without baggage and past mistakes, hers just happens to be a large financial one

Onece you get married, a lof of fixed costs cutting in half will help immensely.  (I'm assuming you're not already living together))
If you had your FI plan for yourself based on your single salary, getting married isn't going to drag you two down, it just won't be a huge boost, at least for the first 3 years.  You already have that much to throw at it, meaning you're at least halfway to my fire goals.  You hint you make more than her, indicating to me you could still comfortably fire in another few years
Were you planning to fire in the next 2 years?

I wouldn't be considering 10 years in the nonprofit sector just to avoid 2 years of paying it off

Tldr/my$.02
She told you before you got engaged, and the dollar value itself shouldn't be a deal breaker
Refinance as low as possible & get married (whichever order is best)
She pays it off ASAP
You are set back whatever her salary for 3 years would have been.  I would happily make that trade if the alternative was to lose my wife.

That would require about 123% of her pretax salary going to loan payments. 

If you assume that he suddenly pays for all her expenses and she pays approximately 10% in federal and state income taxes plus SS tax, it'd be about 4.75 years. 

That's not insurmountable but that is a very big long term impact . 
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Bee21 on August 23, 2018, 03:23:51 PM
Hiding this for 2 years of dating is a huge red flag. That would bother me too and if you decide to stay together it will always create trust issues.

What are her plans? Is she waiting for somebody to rescue her or she has an actionable and detailed plan to pay it off herself? Is she proactive? Is she educating herself financially or waiting for you to sort this out? Are there other spending issues?  Planning babies at this stage is scary.



Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: tyrannostache on August 23, 2018, 04:12:36 PM
OP casually mentioned "other issues".  Maybe those are "she leaves dirty dishes in the sink and towels on the floor". Maybe those are "she's addicted to opioids and won't stop cheating on me"

Hard for us to speculate, all relationships have "issues", some breakup worthy, some not

There's also the element of cold feet

I've never known anybody that went through the engagement/marriage process without a lot of stress and panic and thoughts of "OMG I'm making a huge mistake but I'm already committed"

Other issues
:) pretty accurate. Nothing as major as this. Cleanliness is part of it, I was raised by a very tidy woman and have perhaps higher expectations/preferences of cleanliness than most (like not having visible dirt, no dirty dishes on counter/sink, no dirty clothes on floor/around house). It is much easier to keep and have things stay clean on my own than it is with her. But on the flip side she provides many things like the delicious dinners she cooks when she make the kitchen into a Pollock painting (obvious exaggeration).
The one other issue that really bothers me is that she has persistently difficult time achieving what would be defined as a healthy weight. To be honest this currently probably bothers more from an appearance standpoint but I also worry about long term health and activity capability (particularly after giving birth which frequently makes things much more difficult for women from what I have seen/been told).

I gotta say, I think you're overthinking this. Aside from the debt, you're nitpicking about her weight and about a mismatch in tidiness. It sounds like you're talking yourself out of wanting to be together. Why is that? Only you can answer whether those issues are "cold feet" or part of a more fundamental incompatibility. 

Let's hear about the other side. Why do you want to be with her? Aside from the debt, would you want to be together? Do you think you can get back to a place of trusting her completely after this discovery?

Honestly, if you really wanted to be with her, I think you could take debt like that in stride. If the deception and all of these other things have disrupted the relationship so much that you don't think you can commit to each other for good, then why go on?

Do you want to spend the rest of your life with her?
Do you think you make each other better?
Do you think you make an awesome team?
Do you want to wake up with her for decades and decades?
Do you want to be sitting across a table from her every day when you're old and grey and the kids have grown up?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, then you know what you have to do.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Jon Bon on August 23, 2018, 04:19:02 PM
Hiding this for 2 years of dating is a huge red flag. That would bother me too and if you decide to stay together it will always create trust issues.

What are her plans? Is she waiting for somebody to rescue her or she has an actionable and detailed plan to pay it off herself? Is she proactive? Is she educating herself financially or waiting for you to sort this out? Are there other spending issues?  Planning babies at this stage is scary.

If you are gonna post it helps to read the posts that came before you guys! (not picking on you specifically Bee)

He knew she had approximately six figures but did not know the exact amounts.

This is true if the shoe was on the other foot is it not?  " I knew he was well off but I did not know his net worth was 4,569,179.56" You dont share that right away you know?




Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: FINate on August 23, 2018, 04:22:34 PM
That's a reasonable thought process but what can this woman do moving forward?  Is she forever condemned to be single since she is expected to have '211k loan debt' tattooed on her forehead?

I don't think anyone is saying she can never marry. But at the same time, OP should not be shamed for taking both the debt and the failure to disclose said debt into consideration. Yes, this may include walking away and there's nothing wrong with that. Two years is a relatively small amount of time when you consider a lifetime of marriage.

The choices we make impact our lives going forward. I'm sorry that she got herself into a financial pickle, it really sucks. But no one, including OP, is obliged to overlook that reality. Every person gets to choose the values that are important for evaluating a potential life partner, which could include finances, criminal history, or any number of variables. Carrying a huge debt does limit the pool of potential partners, which the GF has already experienced first hand. Only OP can decide if the debt (and failure to be forthcoming about it) rise to the level of that importance. If he chooses to walk away there's nothing wrong with that.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: MilesTeg on August 23, 2018, 04:25:53 PM
Hiding this for 2 years of dating is a huge red flag. That would bother me too and if you decide to stay together it will always create trust issues.

What are her plans? Is she waiting for somebody to rescue her or she has an actionable and detailed plan to pay it off herself? Is she proactive? Is she educating herself financially or waiting for you to sort this out? Are there other spending issues?  Planning babies at this stage is scary.

If you are gonna post it helps to read the posts that came before you guys! (not picking on you specifically Bee)

He knew she had approximately six figures but did not know the exact amounts.

This is true if the shoe was on the other foot is it not?  " I knew he was well off but I did not know his net worth was 4,569,179.56" You dont share that right away you know?

Yep, you can tell the people who actually read the post, and related discussion, and the people who stopped after reading the subject line.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Jrr85 on August 23, 2018, 04:30:33 PM
Hiding this for 2 years of dating is a huge red flag. That would bother me too and if you decide to stay together it will always create trust issues.

What are her plans? Is she waiting for somebody to rescue her or she has an actionable and detailed plan to pay it off herself? Is she proactive? Is she educating herself financially or waiting for you to sort this out? Are there other spending issues?  Planning babies at this stage is scary.

She's thirty.  Do you just think it's scary that people would want babies enough to plan for them?  Cause I'd say planning for babies at the time your fertility starts to decline is probably the right time to get serious about managing your life in a way that will allow you to have babies?  Maybe even a little late although if she's typical she has four or five more years before it starts to decline rapidly.



Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: ixtap on August 23, 2018, 04:36:27 PM
Hiding this for 2 years of dating is a huge red flag. That would bother me too and if you decide to stay together it will always create trust issues.

What are her plans? Is she waiting for somebody to rescue her or she has an actionable and detailed plan to pay it off herself? Is she proactive? Is she educating herself financially or waiting for you to sort this out? Are there other spending issues?  Planning babies at this stage is scary.

If you are gonna post it helps to read the posts that came before you guys! (not picking on you specifically Bee)

He knew she had approximately six figures but did not know the exact amounts.

This is true if the shoe was on the other foot is it not?  " I knew he was well off but I did not know his net worth was 4,569,179.56" You dont share that right away you know?

Yep, you can tell the people who actually read the post, and related discussion, and the people who stopped after reading the subject line.

You mean the post where the OP expressly refers to her as hiding the amount?
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Jon Bon on August 23, 2018, 05:01:19 PM
Hiding this for 2 years of dating is a huge red flag. That would bother me too and if you decide to stay together it will always create trust issues.

What are her plans? Is she waiting for somebody to rescue her or she has an actionable and detailed plan to pay it off herself? Is she proactive? Is she educating herself financially or waiting for you to sort this out? Are there other spending issues?  Planning babies at this stage is scary.

If you are gonna post it helps to read the posts that came before you guys! (not picking on you specifically Bee)

He knew she had approximately six figures but did not know the exact amounts.

This is true if the shoe was on the other foot is it not?  " I knew he was well off but I did not know his net worth was 4,569,179.56" You dont share that right away you know?

Yep, you can tell the people who actually read the post, and related discussion, and the people who stopped after reading the subject line.

You mean the post where the OP expressly refers to her as hiding the amount?

He knew she had loans. Posts #1 and #49

Do give access to your mortgage balances, car loan etc after a first date? Hiding the amount <> not disclosing the exact amount.

If she hid the entire student loan (which does not sound to be the case) walk away, absolutely 100%. 

I've been in this situation. My partner had loans, I knew they were there, but it was not my place to know exactly what/where/interest rate etc until we got to the place where the OP currently is.  Sounds like the GF was up front with the OP as much as she needed to be. We all have baggage, it does not need to come out right away.

Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: ixtap on August 23, 2018, 05:21:42 PM
Hiding this for 2 years of dating is a huge red flag. That would bother me too and if you decide to stay together it will always create trust issues.

What are her plans? Is she waiting for somebody to rescue her or she has an actionable and detailed plan to pay it off herself? Is she proactive? Is she educating herself financially or waiting for you to sort this out? Are there other spending issues?  Planning babies at this stage is scary.

If you are gonna post it helps to read the posts that came before you guys! (not picking on you specifically Bee)

He knew she had approximately six figures but did not know the exact amounts.

This is true if the shoe was on the other foot is it not?  " I knew he was well off but I did not know his net worth was 4,569,179.56" You dont share that right away you know?

Yep, you can tell the people who actually read the post, and related discussion, and the people who stopped after reading the subject line.

You mean the post where the OP expressly refers to her as hiding the amount?

He knew she had loans. Posts #1 and #49

Do give access to your mortgage balances, car loan etc after a first date? Hiding the amount <> not disclosing the exact amount.

If she hid the entire student loan (which does not sound to be the case) walk away, absolutely 100%. 

I've been in this situation. My partner had loans, I knew they were there, but it was not my place to know exactly what/where/interest rate etc until we got to the place where the OP currently is.  Sounds like the GF was up front with the OP as much as she needed to be. We all have baggage, it does not need to come out right away.

However you and I feel that dating should go, the OP feels like this has been hidden from him, as stated in the OP and later when they say that they could have sworn she said $100k. That perspective is going to impact their relationship.

Do I think they should break up? Not enough information. Have they been talking about the future for six months, planning buying a house and what kind of wedding, honeymoon and annual vacations they would take and when they would FIRE and she just now got up the nerve to share this? In that case, there are still general trust and communication issues to be addressed. If she laid this out as part of the discussion around the OP making it financially possible for her to sell her car and get an ebike, it would be much more encouraging.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: thesis on August 23, 2018, 06:00:17 PM
"I've been cheating on you with other men for the past two years, but I was really afraid to tell you the truth because I've been dumped before for this behavior as was afraid you might dump me, too. I really do love you!"

If you'd be ok with her telling you this hypothetical quote, then you can just about handle anything ;)

Finances can wreck your life. Finances can wreck your future kids' lives. DO NOT TAKE THIS LIGHTLY. However, the fact that you have ~600k in net worth is great (since you said the 200k was 1/3 your net worth). Nobody wants a huge chunk of their stash eliminated, but hey, you could pick yourself up from that. What you really want to know if whether she stayed with you for two years because she knew you were loaded or not. That's what I would want to know! And for starters, I'd definitely have her start taking drastic steps to pay it down. She did at least tell you the truth now, but she does have integrity issues, be clear on that
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: SunnyDays on August 23, 2018, 06:54:04 PM
So, she did not tell you the full scale of her debt and you acknowledge that you're bothered by her weight and household cleanliness.  My questions would be 1) are you more bothered by the latter 2 things now that you know about the debt?  2) has she shown any ability/desire to deal with the latter two issues?  i.e. does she know or care that they bother you and try to improve them?  There's a world of difference between trying, but just being a naturally messy or disorganized person and being completely unaware/uninterested in the environment she creates.  Similarly, has she been overweight all/most of her life in spite of decent exercise and eating habits, or is she lazy and uncaring about her diet?  If it's the latter scenarios and she's neglected to disclose her full debt on top of that, it paints a different picture than if it's the former scenarios and she was afraid to tell you the full amount of her debt.  And even regardless of which way it is, if you don't want to spend your life with a messy, overweight, indebted person, that is your decision to make.  That is what dating is for - to get to know the other person.  Add in her desire to have kids soon, in spite of her massive debt, and you know that her weight and the messiness of the home environment will likely only increase.  Plus, you will see more of your salary/savings go towards raising said kids and possibly taking on some/most/all of her debt as well.  Only you can say if this trade-off is worth it to you, because marriage is not just about emotions but practicalities as well.  Hopefully, this is a lifelong partnership, so take the time to really think it through and don't be pushed into a hasty decision by a false deadline.  Remember that not everyone CAN have kids even if they want them and you don't know that you won't be those people, so don't let that push you into a decision you're not ready to make.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: iris lily on August 23, 2018, 07:02:17 PM
OP casually mentioned "other issues".  Maybe those are "she leaves dirty dishes in the sink and towels on the floor". Maybe those are "she's addicted to opioids and won't stop cheating on me"

Hard for us to speculate, all relationships have "issues", some breakup worthy, some not

There's also the element of cold feet

I've never known anybody that went through the engagement/marriage process without a lot of stress and panic and thoughts of "OMG I'm making a huge mistake but I'm already committed"

Other issues
:) pretty accurate. Nothing as major as this. Cleanliness is part of it, I was raised by a very tidy woman and have perhaps higher expectations/preferences of cleanliness than most (like not having visible dirt, no dirty dishes on counter/sink, no dirty clothes on floor/around house). It is much easier to keep and have things stay clean on my own than it is with her. But on the flip side she provides many things like the delicious dinners she cooks when she make the kitchen into a Pollock painting (obvious exaggeration).
The one other issue that really bothers me is that she has persistently difficult time achieving what would be defined as a healthy weight. To be honest this currently probably bothers more from an appearance standpoint but I also worry about long term health and activity capability (particularly after giving birth which frequently makes things much more difficult for women from what I have seen/been told).
Here is my gut reaction: cut her loose, as much for her own good as for your own good. This isnt a match.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: PizzaSteve on August 23, 2018, 07:31:30 PM
Dont have much to add on the relationship front.  Everyone loves differently and only you can decide if she is your partner for life.  If so, $200k in debt is jointly manageble and you are a team.

That said, it is a common practice in cases of wealth inequality to agree to a prenuptual contract, which specifies the financial terms of a breakup.  It would be fine idea (and if she really loves you she should agree) to confirm you will keep the assets you bring to the relationship and not owe her income should you part. She should agree to deduct any debt you help eliminate from any future separation agreement in writing (should you turn out to not be life partners). 

Balking at this type of contract might be a sign she is partly attracted to your wealth and you can act accordingly.  (note: i chose to not ask for a prenup despite having significantly more assets, but had no trust issues and GF had already made non financial sacrifices for our mutual benefit...I had no worries about jointly paying off her much smaller student debts).
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: sol on August 23, 2018, 07:34:33 PM
what can this woman do moving forward?  Is she forever condemned to be single since she is expected to have '211k loan debt' tattooed on her forehead?

What she can do moving forward is get her fucking life together.  No one should still have over $200k of student loan debt at age 30 unless they're like a doctor or a lawyer.  What did she do, take out loans for living expenses?  For ten consecutive years of sorority life?  That's not a normal college expense amount for someone who hasn't made multiple catastrophic life decisions.

She's not condemned to be single forever, but she's probably condemned to be single until she's a little more worthy of having a partner.  If her life is truly as much of a mess as it appears to be, she might need to spend some time working on that before casting out into the dating world.

Let's look at it another way.  What if this were a food problem instead of a money problem?  Say she weighed 800 pounds and was bedridden, and had been that way since she was 22.  You can accept this situation as-is, if you love her, but would you honestly believe her if she said it was just a one time mistake, and she was just about to change her entire lifestyle any minute now?  Or would you assume her future looks a lot like her past?  Yes, it's theoretically possible to go from 800 pounds to 150 pounds in the next four years, but it requires a complete lifestyle overhaul and the inertia you need to overcome is enormous.  That's exactly what this woman needs, a complete lifestyle overhaul.  In my experience, people who have these sorts of severe problems and claim to want to fix it are secretly smuggling moonpies into bed every night.  I would have significant doubts that she's genuine about her path to financial freedom, given her history of digging herself such a hole.

If you want to support that transition, I think the two of you need to go full mustache.  She devotes 90% of her income to debt, you devote 90% of yours to savings, and the two of you live off of the remaining 10% of your combined income, probably in a truly crappy apartment while walking to work every day.  If she could commit to that, and stick with it until she's free, I'd happily support her in her journey.  But chances are she'd just start sneaking out for $7 lattes and late night amazon binges, because that kind of spending addiction doesn't usually go cold turkey.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: MishMash on August 23, 2018, 08:06:07 PM
I am going to give this to you from your girlfriends perspective, because, I WAS your girlfriend (slightly less debt though).  I met DH in grad school.  I was a poor college student with "six figures in debt" He was a more successful guy going back for degree completion (joined the military early in his life, 2 years older). 

I told him on our second date I had six figures in student loans (not an exact number). He didn't really seem to care.  The relationship progressed for about 2 years when it came do or die time, I was graduating, he was deploying, marriage was in the talks.  We had a "coming to Jesus" I told him my total loans, he told me his total net worth and offered to pay my loans off.

I. said. no.

We came up with a plan TOGETHER to pay my loans off.  This consisted of me staying in a HOLE of an apartment while he was deployed for 15 months, where I slept on a Craigslist futon and used my yard sale pots to cook (which i still own, Revere Ware for the win).  Every spare dime of my salary went to 1. ER fund and 2. Loan repayment.  In fairness he did pay my internet bill and give me his spare computer because I refused to pay for either because it wasn't in my budget. 

I worked 3 jobs those 15 months and paid off 60% of the debt, and saved a decent ER fund that I put into our downpayment on our first house to prove I was "all in".

He came home and paid off the other 40% of the debt as a birthday present to me (yea I know, lucky).   He proposed 2 months later, and we were married very shortly after that.  Fast forward another 3 years and I was WAY out earning him.  We still lived like college kids and saved every dime of my salary.  We did that for another 10 years, and I've handled all the finances and investments in that time.  I quit a really bad situation a year and a half ago.  He still works.  The difference is, we have more than what most on this board would consider FIREABLE, and why is this?

Because we BOTH decided exactly what future we wanted for ourselves and together paved a path forward, one that we both agreed on from day 2.

Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: magnet18 on August 23, 2018, 08:08:31 PM
OP casually mentioned "other issues".  Maybe those are "she leaves dirty dishes in the sink and towels on the floor". Maybe those are "she's addicted to opioids and won't stop cheating on me"

Hard for us to speculate, all relationships have "issues", some breakup worthy, some not

There's also the element of cold feet

I've never known anybody that went through the engagement/marriage process without a lot of stress and panic and thoughts of "OMG I'm making a huge mistake but I'm already committed"

Other issues
:) pretty accurate. Nothing as major as this. Cleanliness is part of it, I was raised by a very tidy woman and have perhaps higher expectations/preferences of cleanliness than most (like not having visible dirt, no dirty dishes on counter/sink, no dirty clothes on floor/around house). It is much easier to keep and have things stay clean on my own than it is with her. But on the flip side she provides many things like the delicious dinners she cooks when she make the kitchen into a Pollock painting (obvious exaggeration).
The one other issue that really bothers me is that she has persistently difficult time achieving what would be defined as a healthy weight. To be honest this currently probably bothers more from an appearance standpoint but I also worry about long term health and activity capability (particularly after giving birth which frequently makes things much more difficult for women from what I have seen/been told).

Wife had issues with weight, it was one of my biggest reservations
About 4 months after getting married, she crossed the threshold, i leveld with her using the O word, and she withdrew for a couple days, but after that she got serious and lost 50 lbs and has kept it off for years since.  Foods that are the least calorie dense are best.  Spaghetti squash was pretty much every dinner for 4 months straight

Tough honesty was the key, just my experience

Regarding cleanliness, you're on your own there, LOL
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Duke03 on August 23, 2018, 08:08:58 PM
RUN!!!!!


Dude are you sure you're not dating my cousin?  She has six figures worth of student loans and gave up an 90k a yr job to work part time.  Her thinking was why waste her time and money because eventually she will get married and her husband will take care of her and pay her debts.  These where her exact words.  Funny thing is she's 36 and still single.... 



Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: magnet18 on August 23, 2018, 08:27:01 PM
Call me old fashioned, but IMO, a prenup is an exit plan from the relationship, which therefore means you're not fully committed, or you worry your spouse to be isn't fully committed

IMHO, if you feel you need a prenup, you just shouldn't be getting married in the first place
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: brooklynmoney on August 23, 2018, 09:02:36 PM
For me the biggest red flag is not the debt but that she seems to have ignored it for a decade and has no strategy and has made no progress. Thatís not someone who I would want to place my life and happiness in their hands.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Bee21 on August 23, 2018, 09:26:11 PM
Hiding this for 2 years of dating is a huge red flag. That would bother me too and if you decide to stay together it will always create trust issues.

What are her plans? Is she waiting for somebody to rescue her or she has an actionable and detailed plan to pay it off herself? Is she proactive? Is she educating herself financially or waiting for you to sort this out? Are there other spending issues?  Planning babies at this stage is scary.

If you are gonna post it helps to read the posts that came before you guys! (not picking on you specifically Bee)

He knew she had approximately six figures but did not know the exact amounts.

This is true if the shoe was on the other foot is it not?  " I knew he was well off but I did not know his net worth was 4,569,179.56" You dont share that right away you know?

I actually read the whole fascinating thread. 😁 i was just interrupted by the kids before I could write a detailed reply.

anyway. My point is, i can see several issues from the very limited information we have. Like trust and transparency. Of course, the gf is not expected to fess up the whole debt on the 3rd date, but come on guys, 2 years of dating IS a serious relationship. If you have a serious relationship, with possible plans for a future together, you should feel safe enough to discuss finances, including a serious student loan problem. There must have been plenty of opportunities to discuss that, especially if you are serious enough to talk about having children. Because at that point this debt will affect not only 1 person, but 2 or possibly 3. I also sense that there might be money management issues in the background, but I am only guessing

And as for having kids,  that is a different conversation (i will stay away from it though as it is a deeply personal decision).

It a very difficult situation, for both the op and the gf. Be kind to them, people. I found some of the posts really harsh.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: lbmustache on August 23, 2018, 09:35:07 PM
RUN!!!!!

Dude are you sure you're not dating my cousin?  She has six figures worth of student loans and gave up an 90k a yr job to work part time.  Her thinking was why waste her time and money because eventually she will get married and her husband will take care of her and pay her debts.  These where her exact words.  Funny thing is she's 36 and still single....

Nothing in OP's posts suggests that the GF is trying to take OP for a ride (financially, that is... ha ha)? OP's GF has also made changes and seems onboard with FI... not continuing to spend recklessly....

For me the biggest red flag is not the debt but that she seems to have ignored it for a decade and has no strategy and has made no progress. Thatís not someone who I would want to place my life and happiness in their hands.

I think the GF just got frustrated and overwhelmed and couldn't figure out a plan. Not saying it was/is the right thing to do, but a LOT of people ignore their student loans and just hope the government is magically going to forgive loans or they'll take it to the grave with them or whatever. I've known people in their 50s still paying these loans off.  The number is quite large - I mean this is med school levels of debt - and I'm sure the interest alone is quite a large chunk monthly, considering a $60k salary, so I can see how it might seem hopeless. It seems that with OP's guidance, the GF has committed to making changes and is ready to move forward with a new gameplan.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: MrUpwardlyMobile on August 23, 2018, 09:40:20 PM
Breaking up with someone because of a debt would be remarkably stupid.

I wouldn't agree with that. Being able to make intelligent financial decisions would be one of the things I'd be looking for if I found myself single. Getting into $200K debt for a low demand degree that gets you a $60K/yr job would not exemplify that. Lying to me about the debt would exacerbate matters.

You donít say that she actually lied.  Did she ever tell you how much? Why on earth would you be ring shopping prior to a long discussion on finances? My DW married me when I had ~$150k in student loan debt with worse rates than 6.5%.  I never hid it (I probably announced it a lot but thatís not normal) and she really never asked prior to us discussing finances seriously before discussing engagement.

If she makes $60k at a non profit, she could probably earn much more elsewhere.  If youíre a high earner, you two could probably crush $200k in loans in 3-4 years with some creative refinancing. 

Ultimately, If student loan debt has you wanting to bail or is enough to make you bail, youíre not in love and you wonít make it. 
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: MrUpwardlyMobile on August 23, 2018, 09:44:48 PM
On the other hand. Before this she made a very brave move last month to get rid of her clown car luxury SUV (2015 Nissan rouge with almost all the options, bought used)

Wow, I would have never considered a used 2015 Nissan Rogue a luxury clown car, even "with all the options".  Carry on.

Thatís because itís a hideous dumpy nothing clown car.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: limeandpepper on August 23, 2018, 11:24:38 PM
Am I the only one who is disturbed by the idea that she has given OP a deadline to decide whether or not to break up over this?  Like, you have three days to get over it or not, sort out whether you are more perturbed by the breech of trust or touched by the current opening up. Three days to completely rethink your priorities for at least the next 10 years... I kept this from you for two years, now you have three days to decide what to do with the information.
To be fair she told me on Sunday, I only decided to post today. Her concern is being 30 and wanting to have children if we break up she does not have much time to get into and feel out a serious relationship left before she wants to have kids.

Perhaps if feeling out a serious relationship for having kids is such an important thing to her she should not have kept her massive debt a secret from you for so long?

She has basically admitted that she kept it from you because she had been dumped twice before over it.

What this is telling me is that it is actually quite manipulative on her part - she knows that her debt is a problem for many potential partners, so after having been dumped over it previously, she decided to try a different tactic with you - not let on how bad it really is until you are talking about marriage.

It's not even just about the money at this stage, but the calculated hiding of information. If she can do this with debt she can also do it with other things.

I find that worrying, but to each their own.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: lhamo on August 23, 2018, 11:49:57 PM
It may have been the case that the original balance of the loans was  closer to 100k. That would have required $6500/year in just interest payments. If the balance was closer to $150k then the annual interest would be around 10k. If she was on the lowest level payment plan she could have ended up with the balance growing quickly if she wasn't staying on top of the interest.

Personally I would go to couples counselling and be sure you are both on the same page about most issues before getting engaged or married. Lots of red flags on both sides.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: MrThatsDifferent on August 24, 2018, 04:49:09 AM
Call me old fashioned, but IMO, a prenup is an exit plan from the relationship, which therefore means you're not fully committed, or you worry your spouse to be isn't fully committed

IMHO, if you feel you need a prenup, you just shouldn't be getting married in the first place

Old fashioned!

A pre-nup is an intelligent and sensible plan for a possibility that never occurs. Itís like, if you go on a boat, you wear a life jacket. You hope it never sinks, but if it does...

Oh and if there was a 50% chance of the boat sinking, youíd be an absolute idiot to not wear that jacket.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: chasingthegoodlife on August 24, 2018, 06:32:50 AM
OP, you have had many and varied responses and I am sure you will consider these in your own time.

My two cents:
1) My husband is not particularly awesome with money, when we got together he was mid divorce settlement with car loan and credit card debt. Shortly afterwards I started managing his money (with him making all the decisions) and we have gone from strength to strength financially. If the other partner is on board with the overall vision, only one of the couple needs financial savvy. I would not trade one iota of my husband’s charm, intelligence, wit, good looks, whatever for financial skillz. They would be unnecessary. If your girlfriend is otherwise a perfect match - only you can answer that- would you risk it searching for another such partner with a lower student loan balance?
2) I made my decision whether or not to have children after I made a FIRE spreadsheet. Obviously my choice affected my future financial situation, but after some agonising I felt I had to try and make the decision without considering this. I don’t think we as humans are great at putting a dollar value on relationships.

Good luck.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Cranky on August 24, 2018, 06:47:49 AM
I didn't sleep well last night, for no good reason, and spent some time pondering this thread. So, I got up and reread it!

Honestly, not many people hit the age of 30yo without *some* kind of baggage - emotional, fiscal, whatever. Yes, girlfriend has a LOT of student debt. But as regrettable as that is, she didn't run that debt up with a heroin addiction or playing video poker or whatever. She's clearly unhappy about it.

What strikes me is that the OP doesn't seem all that enthusiastic. She wants kids. Does he? It doesn't seem high on his list.

I've been happily married for longer than the OP has been alive, and my advice is - don't marry someone and expect her/him to change. Everybody continues to mature and develop in life, but that's going to come from within. If you don't think she's awesome right this minute, you should not plan a life together. If you think she's too fat now, what if she gains 50 pounds when she's pregnant? I seriously don't think it's fair to *her* to have all these reservations.

Frankly, the money stuff can be worked out, but together with everything else, I don't think it sounds like you want to be her partner in life.

Have you considered couples counseling?
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: MrUpwardlyMobile on August 24, 2018, 07:03:25 AM
what can this woman do moving forward?  Is she forever condemned to be single since she is expected to have '211k loan debt' tattooed on her forehead?

What she can do moving forward is get her fucking life together.  No one should still have over $200k of student loan debt at age 30 unless they're like a doctor or a lawyer.  What did she do, take out loans for living expenses?  For ten consecutive years of sorority life?  That's not a normal college expense amount for someone who hasn't made multiple catastrophic life decisions.

She's not condemned to be single forever, but she's probably condemned to be single until she's a little more worthy of having a partner.  If her life is truly as much of a mess as it appears to be, she might need to spend some time working on that before casting out into the dating world.

Let's look at it another way.  What if this were a food problem instead of a money problem?  Say she weighed 800 pounds and was bedridden, and had been that way since she was 22.  You can accept this situation as-is, if you love her, but would you honestly believe her if she said it was just a one time mistake, and she was just about to change her entire lifestyle any minute now?  Or would you assume her future looks a lot like her past?  Yes, it's theoretically possible to go from 800 pounds to 150 pounds in the next four years, but it requires a complete lifestyle overhaul and the inertia you need to overcome is enormous.  That's exactly what this woman needs, a complete lifestyle overhaul.  In my experience, people who have these sorts of severe problems and claim to want to fix it are secretly smuggling moonpies into bed every night.  I would have significant doubts that she's genuine about her path to financial freedom, given her history of digging herself such a hole.

If you want to support that transition, I think the two of you need to go full mustache.  She devotes 90% of her income to debt, you devote 90% of yours to savings, and the two of you live off of the remaining 10% of your combined income, probably in a truly crappy apartment while walking to work every day.  If she could commit to that, and stick with it until she's free, I'd happily support her in her journey.  But chances are she'd just start sneaking out for $7 lattes and late night amazon binges, because that kind of spending addiction doesn't usually go cold turkey.

Sol, I think youíre jumping the gun in this limited case. There is insufficient data to make such conclusions.  Theyíre possible conclusions but insufficient to be so clear cut.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: OtherJen on August 24, 2018, 07:04:56 AM
OP casually mentioned "other issues".  Maybe those are "she leaves dirty dishes in the sink and towels on the floor". Maybe those are "she's addicted to opioids and won't stop cheating on me"

Hard for us to speculate, all relationships have "issues", some breakup worthy, some not

There's also the element of cold feet

I've never known anybody that went through the engagement/marriage process without a lot of stress and panic and thoughts of "OMG I'm making a huge mistake but I'm already committed"

What?  Is this a joke?  The only people I know about having such thoughts before getting married are now divorced or close to it.

Yep. I had major cold feet/stress/panic while planning a wedding to my first fiancťe. The tipping point was when he decided to quit his first post-college career position after only 2 months and with 1 week notice because it was ďhardĒ and ďnot funĒ. Iíd asked him not to do so because we were sharing an apartment and I couldnít swing all expenses by myself, which he knew. He left the news as a voicemail on my phone so he wouldnít have to tell me directly. I called off the wedding and we split up.

Iíve now been happily married to my husband (different man) for 15 years. I donít remember any panic about that wedding.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: OtherJen on August 24, 2018, 07:07:50 AM
OP casually mentioned "other issues".  Maybe those are "she leaves dirty dishes in the sink and towels on the floor". Maybe those are "she's addicted to opioids and won't stop cheating on me"

Hard for us to speculate, all relationships have "issues", some breakup worthy, some not

There's also the element of cold feet

I've never known anybody that went through the engagement/marriage process without a lot of stress and panic and thoughts of "OMG I'm making a huge mistake but I'm already committed"

Other issues
:) pretty accurate. Nothing as major as this. Cleanliness is part of it, I was raised by a very tidy woman and have perhaps higher expectations/preferences of cleanliness than most (like not having visible dirt, no dirty dishes on counter/sink, no dirty clothes on floor/around house). It is much easier to keep and have things stay clean on my own than it is with her. But on the flip side she provides many things like the delicious dinners she cooks when she make the kitchen into a Pollock painting (obvious exaggeration).
The one other issue that really bothers me is that she has persistently difficult time achieving what would be defined as a healthy weight. To be honest this currently probably bothers more from an appearance standpoint but I also worry about long term health and activity capability (particularly after giving birth which frequently makes things much more difficult for women from what I have seen/been told).

None of this can be expected to change after marriage. If youíre already this dissatisfied, expect that to increase once you are legally bound to her. It sounds like the most fair thing for both of you is to cut ties now. You donít sound compatible.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Sorinth on August 24, 2018, 07:30:14 AM
I actually read the whole fascinating thread. 😁 i was just interrupted by the kids before I could write a detailed reply.

anyway. My point is, i can see several issues from the very limited information we have. Like trust and transparency. Of course, the gf is not expected to fess up the whole debt on the 3rd date, but come on guys, 2 years of dating IS a serious relationship. If you have a serious relationship, with possible plans for a future together, you should feel safe enough to discuss finances, including a serious student loan problem. There must have been plenty of opportunities to discuss that, especially if you are serious enough to talk about having children. Because at that point this debt will affect not only 1 person, but 2 or possibly 3. I also sense that there might be money management issues in the background, but I am only guessing

And as for having kids,  that is a different conversation (i will stay away from it though as it is a deeply personal decision).

It a very difficult situation, for both the op and the gf. Be kind to them, people. I found some of the posts really harsh.

Well considering she's apparently been dumped before after revealing her finances and the OP said himself if he found out earlier he probably would have bailed it sounds like's she justified in keeping it hidden.


To the OP,
100k for a useless degree vs 200k for a useless degree seems like pretty much the same thing to me. Especially if she's onboard the FIRE train, it's what the difference of a couple years before being FIRE together? Hardly seems like a deal breaker.

So I assume the issue is you feel like she was dishonest. That's something only you can figure out, like I said above I can understand her reasoning, but is it this one thing or is it a pattern? We don't have enough info so you have to figure that out yourself. Though since you mentioned she's making progress already I would think patience is in order.


As to what to do, don't repay them all yourself.
I would sit down together and figure out her actual repayment plan and for that matter her FI plan. I don't think there is an easy pre-made calculator for you so you'll probably have to make your own spreadsheet, if you aren't that good at this sort of thing it's easiest to do it a year at a time, ie each row in the spreadsheet is a year, and so you simply calculate what the stash/debt/salary/expenses/etc... after one year using the previous year as the base. You can do it for the different scenarios and see which one is better.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: lil_miss_frugal on August 24, 2018, 07:31:22 AM
If you would have bailed on her had you known this why would you not do so now? That is essentially rewarding the deceit. Ignore the sunk cost of time and make a clear headed decision as to whether or not you want this particular lady as your life partner. If you don't we can save a lot of time...
That's terrible advice

Nobody's perfect, and nobody goes around bragging about everything wrong with them on the first date.  OP never says she lied, just that it never really came out. It makes sense to me, the bigger a debt is, the further along in a relationship you go before talking about it.  IMO, the deadline to clear the air about something like this is before engagement, rather than after.  She owned up to a huge mistake while he can still exit cleanly, respect for that (unless she was hiding it and lying and he just happened to find a bank statement or something, that's a slightly different situation)

To your other point about someone who can make sound financial decisions, if she sold her car and bikes to work, sounds like that box is checked

Agreed!!! No one's perfect and not everyone knows how to be financially responsible. In some cases that has to be taught. Better late than never. At least she seems willing to change, giving up a car and biking to work sounds like a big change on her part. At least she didn't completely lie about her debt. Just seems silly to break it off with someone you've dated for that long because you now know the exact amount of the debt you already knew about.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: undercover on August 24, 2018, 07:36:18 AM
The ultimatum could be a red flag. "Oh yeah, so...my debt is actually about double what I said originally and you need to decide by the end of the week whether that's cool or not 'cause of kids and stuff". It could be a sign of a huge lack of responsibility. Or, not. Trading the car for the bike even if she didn't cover the switching costs is still a sacrifice that should be recognized. You knew about half of the debt. The extra amount obviously is nothing over the course of a life together, but I'd still feel deceived enough about it to not want to touch it at all.

I would proceed cautiously if you two are otherwise very compatible. I would make sure she is serious about paying it off and doesn't expect you to take it over. Either delay marriage or get a prenup. Either way, I don't see a reasonable scenario in which you take on that kind of debt...
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Jrr85 on August 24, 2018, 08:00:00 AM
Call me old fashioned, but IMO, a prenup is an exit plan from the relationship, which therefore means you're not fully committed, or you worry your spouse to be isn't fully committed

IMHO, if you feel you need a prenup, you just shouldn't be getting married in the first place

There are situations where a prenup is appropriate.  If you have significant family money, you have an obligation to the family members that gave it to you to protect it.  If either spouse has children, then they have obligations to their children and to their new spouse, and a prenup is a good way to make sure the parties are clear as to how those obligations will be managed to the extent they are in tension.  This is less of an issue with young children.  If you are marrying somebody with a child under 5 (and probably under 10 or 12), you should be on board with that child being yours just like a biological child.  On the flip side if you are a widow/widower with children and a significant net worth, presumably your deceased spouse would have wanted to make sure an appropriate amount of any estate went to your children, and not for all of it to go to a new spouse and then your step children.

But yes, in most situations, if you feel like you need a prenup, you aren't really up for a traditional marriage.  But even then, most people probably don't sign up for marriage thinking it's a lifetime commitment anymore, so as long as both people are on board, it probably is a good idea to commit it to writing before the marriage.   
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: frugaliknowit on August 24, 2018, 08:30:18 AM
Based only on the details provided, I would move on.

In the West we have this naive notion that love is just something that happens. "I fell in love!" It's a force we have no control over, and when it strikes well... you get married 'cause that's the penultimate event of the relationship. But love in the context of marriage is not an emotion or a feeling, it's a choice, a deep commitment between two people that legally binds them together. You are not yet married, there is no commitment implied or otherwise at this juncture.

This commitment must be predicated on mutual trust. The issue isn't really the money, though going into massive debt in a low paying field is a red flag. No! The issue is that she hid it from you for 2 years. (And yes, letting on that it was $100k instead of $200k is misleading.) The justification that she did this because she was dumped over this issue before makes it worse, not better. It indicates intent to deceive.

And then giving you a short deadline to make such a major life altering decision likely indicates a deeper underlying control issue. Think about it, what's the rush?

IMO, you're better off not marrying than marrying into a situation with major trust and/or control issues. Yes, no one is perfect, but that's not excuse to just ignore obvious issues before jumping into a lifelong commitment with someone.

+1
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: fuzzy math on August 24, 2018, 08:36:35 AM
I think none of us can know to what extent the OP was deceived without knowing how the entire conversation went down. The OP and his GF remember it differently. She did not have a duty to tell him early on the exact amount, and she was upfront that it was 6 figures. Now whether or not the OP questioned or followed up on it at all is up to him. It sounds like he vaguely took her word for it, and he never during that 2 years took the incentive to sit down with her to help her make plans to repay it. It was not his duty to do so, but if having a partner with clean finances was such an issue I'm surprised he never took it on. There is some implied looking the other way since he knew they had such a financial disparity. He convinced her to sell her car, it appears he cared, but it sounds like he dreaded the student loans enough to leave them alone too.

Now to the relationship. OP I can't tell if you just don't love her enough to make it work, or if you have cold feet only about the loans. But you seem to have been pushed along by her timeline - she wants to get engaged in X timeframe... You were going along with it and not necessarily going to be compelled enough to do it because you wanted to and were ready.

Only you can decide how you truly feel but I think the fact that you posted here means you have enough reservations to not be ready. I would give you a couple things to ponder: do you see yourself as needing a partner in life? Superficially (ignoring any other relationship issues) it seems that you are picking a number of reasons that will alienate you from a majority ofpotential partners out there. I'm not suggesting you settle, but how do your FIRE goals match up against any potential partner? If the perfect person walked into your life and they delayed your FIRE would that be a non starter?

The other big issue is that your GF seems to be on a timeline for getting married and having children. If you were to delay things while she gets her life in order, then you decide that it's still not going to work you have wasted her time. If you delay, she may resent you and look for affirmation that you are still going to propose in a reasonable timeframe and it may cause a bigger chasm than you have right now. I guess I can see her perspective re: the ultimatum. Either you can see past this once you calm down or you will never be able to.



Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: EconDiva on August 24, 2018, 08:43:39 AM
I read the whole thread.  Forgive me if I missed the below but my initial thoughts:

1.  What was the original SL balance?  So she owes ~200k (211k?) now...but what was the loan amount when she graduated?
2.  What has her payment history been like?  Has she been skipping years of payments at all?  If so, at what ages and why?  If not, has she just been on the same minimum payment history since day one?
3.  What is her budget like?  What is her savings rate?  I would think (hope?) everything she has is going to the SLs. 

If the OP chooses to continue this relationship and marry her, it would seem rational to determine an amount he'd like to see her have paid off before proposing.  I'd imagine it would be an amount that shows she's really serious about getting rid of the debt and will do whatever it takes to "woman up" (i.e., working 2-3 jobs, no new clothing purchases ever, etc.).  I'm definitely not saying to sit down and tell her to "have $110k paid off by x date and then we can talk"...but rather having conversations about what it would take to get her on the fast track of getting the debt down, while having an idea in mind for himself at what point of debt reduction he'd be willing to move the relationship forward. 

OP, if you had to decide the above^ today, what amount would you like to see her pay off, and by what timeframe, before you would be more comfortable marrying her? 

A couple of people suggested couples counseling.  May I suggest individual counseling...for her?  Dealing with this amount of debt if you weren't someone raised to be educated about finances and dealing with rejection as a result can be tough.  Not to mention her wanting a family/children and being 30 now.  I feel she really needs to talk to someone about all of this as you mentioned she might not be open to the delaying marriage discussion (if I recall correctly).  She *needs* to be open to it and understand why it's important to get her financial ducks in a row before proceeding she can move forward with marrying and bringing children into this situation.  She might need some assistance in curbing her anxieties as well - I'm sure she's got to have some considering her debt load, past experiences being dumped and (serious/warranted) concerns about the ability to find a compatible mate for marriage/kids in the near future.  She not only needs to understand how her anxieties are playing into her decisions (i.e., what seems to be deception about the total amount of SLs she had) and the impact they are having on you (i.e., she needs to understand why giving you this timeframe to make a decision isn't likely fair, realistic, or even in her own favor).

Lastly, I'm having trouble feeling out just how "crazy in love" you are with her, but considering the circumstances under which you posted, I understand how you'd be questioning other things like her weight right now.  It seems you are leaning towards staying with her so maybe you can work on that as well?  I'd think over 2 years though you'd already be seeing some changes there if she wanted to change (have you been working out together?  Are these delicious meals she cooks healthy meals?).  I'm curious to know if she's been gaining over the 2 years or just been the same weight since meeting her...some women's bodies change around milestone ages (mine did at 30 and is changing again now that I'm closing in on 40 requiring much more effort to just simply maintain).

Best of luck to you and keep us posted on your thoughts/decisions.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: magnet18 on August 24, 2018, 09:21:29 AM
OP casually mentioned "other issues".  Maybe those are "she leaves dirty dishes in the sink and towels on the floor". Maybe those are "she's addicted to opioids and won't stop cheating on me"

Hard for us to speculate, all relationships have "issues", some breakup worthy, some not

There's also the element of cold feet

I've never known anybody that went through the engagement/marriage process without a lot of stress and panic and thoughts of "OMG I'm making a huge mistake but I'm already committed"

Other issues
:) pretty accurate. Nothing as major as this. Cleanliness is part of it, I was raised by a very tidy woman and have perhaps higher expectations/preferences of cleanliness than most (like not having visible dirt, no dirty dishes on counter/sink, no dirty clothes on floor/around house). It is much easier to keep and have things stay clean on my own than it is with her. But on the flip side she provides many things like the delicious dinners she cooks when she make the kitchen into a Pollock painting (obvious exaggeration).
The one other issue that really bothers me is that she has persistently difficult time achieving what would be defined as a healthy weight. To be honest this currently probably bothers more from an appearance standpoint but I also worry about long term health and activity capability (particularly after giving birth which frequently makes things much more difficult for women from what I have seen/been told).

None of this can be expected to change after marriage. If youíre already this dissatisfied, expect that to increase once you are legally bound to her. It sounds like the most fair thing for both of you is to cut ties now. You donít sound compatible.

What are you talking about, those are literally the 2 most normal, minor, benign issues ever that literally every couple ever struggles with at some point, also OP has a smiley face in that post, he hardly seems to think those issues are a major breaking point

Does your marriage really have zero friction over physical fitness and general tidying up?
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: former player on August 24, 2018, 09:37:06 AM

Well considering she's apparently been dumped before after revealing her finances and the OP said himself if he found out earlier he probably would have bailed it sounds like's she justified in keeping it hidden.




Er, no.  Sounds like she should have taken steps to deal with the debt instead of doing the same thing again and expecting a different result.


That said, I've no new advice for OP: previous posters seem to covered all the options.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: honeybbq on August 24, 2018, 09:45:15 AM
OP casually mentioned "other issues".  Maybe those are "she leaves dirty dishes in the sink and towels on the floor". Maybe those are "she's addicted to opioids and won't stop cheating on me"

Hard for us to speculate, all relationships have "issues", some breakup worthy, some not

There's also the element of cold feet

I've never known anybody that went through the engagement/marriage process without a lot of stress and panic and thoughts of "OMG I'm making a huge mistake but I'm already committed"

Other issues
:) pretty accurate. Nothing as major as this. Cleanliness is part of it, I was raised by a very tidy woman and have perhaps higher expectations/preferences of cleanliness than most (like not having visible dirt, no dirty dishes on counter/sink, no dirty clothes on floor/around house). It is much easier to keep and have things stay clean on my own than it is with her. But on the flip side she provides many things like the delicious dinners she cooks when she make the kitchen into a Pollock painting (obvious exaggeration).
The one other issue that really bothers me is that she has persistently difficult time achieving what would be defined as a healthy weight. To be honest this currently probably bothers more from an appearance standpoint but I also worry about long term health and activity capability (particularly after giving birth which frequently makes things much more difficult for women from what I have seen/been told).


Ok, here's my take away: She's broke, she's overweight, and she's a slob.
She wants children and marriage.
What of these three things are going to improve with that?

Children cost money, usually make women fat unless disciplined/exercise focused, and kids are messy.

Do you love her enough to get over this or not? That's the question. You know what the future looks like. Is it what you want?
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: MilesTeg on August 24, 2018, 09:49:15 AM
what can this woman do moving forward?  Is she forever condemned to be single since she is expected to have '211k loan debt' tattooed on her forehead?

What she can do moving forward is get her fucking life together.  No one should still have over $200k of student loan debt at age 30 unless they're like a doctor or a lawyer.  What did she do, take out loans for living expenses?  For ten consecutive years of sorority life?  That's not a normal college expense amount for someone who hasn't made multiple catastrophic life decisions.

She's not condemned to be single forever, but she's probably condemned to be single until she's a little more worthy of having a partner.  If her life is truly as much of a mess as it appears to be, she might need to spend some time working on that before casting out into the dating world.

Let's look at it another way.  What if this were a food problem instead of a money problem?  Say she weighed 800 pounds and was bedridden, and had been that way since she was 22.  You can accept this situation as-is, if you love her, but would you honestly believe her if she said it was just a one time mistake, and she was just about to change her entire lifestyle any minute now?  Or would you assume her future looks a lot like her past?  Yes, it's theoretically possible to go from 800 pounds to 150 pounds in the next four years, but it requires a complete lifestyle overhaul and the inertia you need to overcome is enormous.  That's exactly what this woman needs, a complete lifestyle overhaul.  In my experience, people who have these sorts of severe problems and claim to want to fix it are secretly smuggling moonpies into bed every night.  I would have significant doubts that she's genuine about her path to financial freedom, given her history of digging herself such a hole.

This is another ridiculous take. It's not like this gal racked up 200k in debt on the home shopping network. She got 200k of debt going to 6 or more years of college. A bad ROI decision, probably. But comparing that to some kind of chronic, compulsive problem is absurdity in the extreme.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Gondolin on August 24, 2018, 09:53:13 AM
Quote
Well considering she's apparently been dumped before after revealing her finances and the OP said himself if he found out earlier he probably would have bailed it sounds like's she justified in keeping it hidden.

OMG, No! She's not "justified keeping it hidden" because she got dumped before. GF learned the absolute wrong lesson from those past experiences. The right lesson would have been:

"Wow, this is really serious. I need to get my debt under control and be upfront with future potential partners so I can find one for whom this issue isn't a deal breaker."

Instead, she apparently learned:

"Wow, that sucked. I should ignore my debt and keep it on the down low for as long as possible so that hopefully my next partner will be so in love/blinded by the sink cost that they'll accept my baggage."

Now I don't think that this was some manipulative plot on GFs part. She just let a combination of fear and inertia take over rather then confront a difficult problem head on. It's a common malaise but one that speaks to a real emotional immaturity. That's the real issue here.

Edit: phone posting is hard.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: OtherJen on August 24, 2018, 10:07:12 AM
OP casually mentioned "other issues".  Maybe those are "she leaves dirty dishes in the sink and towels on the floor". Maybe those are "she's addicted to opioids and won't stop cheating on me"

Hard for us to speculate, all relationships have "issues", some breakup worthy, some not

There's also the element of cold feet

I've never known anybody that went through the engagement/marriage process without a lot of stress and panic and thoughts of "OMG I'm making a huge mistake but I'm already committed"

Other issues
:) pretty accurate. Nothing as major as this. Cleanliness is part of it, I was raised by a very tidy woman and have perhaps higher expectations/preferences of cleanliness than most (like not having visible dirt, no dirty dishes on counter/sink, no dirty clothes on floor/around house). It is much easier to keep and have things stay clean on my own than it is with her. But on the flip side she provides many things like the delicious dinners she cooks when she make the kitchen into a Pollock painting (obvious exaggeration).
The one other issue that really bothers me is that she has persistently difficult time achieving what would be defined as a healthy weight. To be honest this currently probably bothers more from an appearance standpoint but I also worry about long term health and activity capability (particularly after giving birth which frequently makes things much more difficult for women from what I have seen/been told).

None of this can be expected to change after marriage. If youíre already this dissatisfied, expect that to increase once you are legally bound to her. It sounds like the most fair thing for both of you is to cut ties now. You donít sound compatible.

What are you talking about, those are literally the 2 most normal, minor, benign issues ever that literally every couple ever struggles with at some point, also OP has a smiley face in that post, he hardly seems to think those issues are a major breaking point

Does your marriage really have zero friction over physical fitness and general tidying up?

Don't be absurd. Of course we have friction over tidying up. We've been married for 15 years and living together for 16 years. It wasn't something that gave us pause before we married, though. Ditto for perceived attractiveness. If the OP is already considering his partner less attractive even at this early point, is that likely to change in 10 years when she's 40 and maintaining weight and fitness requires even greater vigilance (I say this as a 40 year old woman who tracks every calorie that I eat to ensure that I remain a healthy weight)? It's something that needs to be addressed now, not in a decade.

Also, she wants kids. We don't have kids, but from what friends and relatives with kids have told us, they magnify existing problems in the relationship. Again, all of these issues need to be addressed now.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: simonsez on August 24, 2018, 10:21:31 AM
That's a reasonable thought process but what can this woman do moving forward?  Is she forever condemned to be single since she is expected to have '211k loan debt' tattooed on her forehead?

I don't think anyone is saying she can never marry. But at the same time, OP should not be shamed for taking both the debt and the failure to disclose said debt into consideration. Yes, this may include walking away and there's nothing wrong with that. Two years is a relatively small amount of time when you consider a lifetime of marriage.

The choices we make impact our lives going forward. I'm sorry that she got herself into a financial pickle, it really sucks. But no one, including OP, is obliged to overlook that reality. Every person gets to choose the values that are important for evaluating a potential life partner, which could include finances, criminal history, or any number of variables. Carrying a huge debt does limit the pool of potential partners, which the GF has already experienced first hand. Only OP can decide if the debt (and failure to be forthcoming about it) rise to the level of that importance. If he chooses to walk away there's nothing wrong with that.
I wasn't shaming the OP at all, or at least not trying to on purpose.  I was just trying to say it would be hard for that woman, regardless of how great she might be right now to broach that subject (and in her mind, she honestly might've thought she did or did enough at the time, we don't know enough).  There's no dating rulebook for exactly when to go over certain subjects, be they the brief overview or all the gory details.  This post is from the perspective of the OP, obviously.  We only know the perspective of the woman through a secondhand lens.  The woman he is considering could be the best potential spouse or the worst, I really can't say.  Finances are very important and go hand-in-hand with other major ones such as is honesty, respect, and trust in a long-term relationship.  If OP decides to go another way, I certainly wouldn't be thinking that was short-sighted, I don't know nearly enough or care enough to judge.  I will say calling it a failure to disclose the debt seems a little biased (but could also be 100% true!).  Again it could've been a throwaway conversation from years ago where both thought they were on the same page but the reality was much different.  e.g. "Low six figures" can mean different things to different people.  We are only hearing one side of the story. 

OP is definitely not obliged at all to overlook something like finances or really, ANYTHING.  There are all kinds of less significant attributes that may limit the spouse pool.  To each their own, no doubt.  Many posters have been curious about any change in consumer behavior by the woman to see if there is legitimate reason to hope for light at the end of the tunnel.  Hopefully, and regardless if her relationship with OP works out or not, she is well on her way with a plan and financial behaviors so that this won't be such a hindrance in her life moving forward.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: FINate on August 24, 2018, 10:29:10 AM
This is another ridiculous take. It's not like this gal racked up 200k in debt on the home shopping network. She got 200k of debt going to 6 or more years of college. A bad ROI decision, probably. But comparing that to some kind of chronic, compulsive problem is absurdity in the extreme.

At the time she graduated the average undergrad debt was about $30k, or 1/7 her current loan balance. It's understandable for young-and-dumb students going into college to finance a low paying field of study. But to finish undergrad and then repeat the same mistake in grad school... college graduates should know better. Racking up $211k in debt in total apparently w/o a plan of action to pay it down over the past 10 years (per OP, " ignoring it, pretending it didn't exist") does suggest a compulsive money problem.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: JGS1980 on August 24, 2018, 10:38:53 AM
I am going to give this to you from your girlfriends perspective, because, I WAS your girlfriend (slightly less debt though).  I met DH in grad school.  I was a poor college student with "six figures in debt" He was a more successful guy going back for degree completion (joined the military early in his life, 2 years older). 

I told him on our second date I had six figures in student loans (not an exact number). He didn't really seem to care.  The relationship progressed for about 2 years when it came do or die time, I was graduating, he was deploying, marriage was in the talks.  We had a "coming to Jesus" I told him my total loans, he told me his total net worth and offered to pay my loans off.

I. said. no.

We came up with a plan TOGETHER to pay my loans off.  This consisted of me staying in a HOLE of an apartment while he was deployed for 15 months, where I slept on a Craigslist futon and used my yard sale pots to cook (which i still own, Revere Ware for the win).  Every spare dime of my salary went to 1. ER fund and 2. Loan repayment.  In fairness he did pay my internet bill and give me his spare computer because I refused to pay for either because it wasn't in my budget. 

I worked 3 jobs those 15 months and paid off 60% of the debt, and saved a decent ER fund that I put into our downpayment on our first house to prove I was "all in".

He came home and paid off the other 40% of the debt as a birthday present to me (yea I know, lucky).   He proposed 2 months later, and we were married very shortly after that.  Fast forward another 3 years and I was WAY out earning him.  We still lived like college kids and saved every dime of my salary.  We did that for another 10 years, and I've handled all the finances and investments in that time.  I quit a really bad situation a year and a half ago.  He still works.  The difference is, we have more than what most on this board would consider FIREABLE, and why is this?

Because we BOTH decided exactly what future we wanted for ourselves and together paved a path forward, one that we both agreed on from day 2.

I love this post! Take the bull by the horns and OWN it. I wish more of our society acted this way, we'd be in a much better place as a people!

JGS
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: robartsd on August 24, 2018, 11:12:39 AM
Her debt is a big deal. Here's my view of the numbers:

Interest on that debt at 6.5% would be about $1142/month. Based on $60,000 AGI her payment would be: $349 under (RE)PAYE, $524 under IBR, or $799 under ICR. Under none of these payment plans would she be paying the interest on her loans, so they are growing (there's a good chance that her balance was under $200k when you started dating). At loan forgiveness she will likely have about $300k forgiven which will count as income by the IRS, so she better be saving up for the tax bill (on the order of $100k if she is married filing separately that year). If you marry and her loans are being repaid under IBR, ICR, or PAYE you an file taxes separately to keep your income out of her payment calculation; however if she is on REPAYE, her spouse's income counts even if filing separately. For most of the tax law, married filing separately is very similar to single, but there are a few areas where it would be more advantageous to be single than married filing separately.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: MilesTeg on August 24, 2018, 11:13:40 AM
This is another ridiculous take. It's not like this gal racked up 200k in debt on the home shopping network. She got 200k of debt going to 6 or more years of college. A bad ROI decision, probably. But comparing that to some kind of chronic, compulsive problem is absurdity in the extreme.

At the time she graduated the average undergrad debt was about $30k, or 1/7 her current loan balance. It's understandable for young-and-dumb students going into college to finance a low paying field of study. But to finish undergrad and then repeat the same mistake in grad school... college graduates should know better. Racking up $211k in debt in total apparently w/o a plan of action to pay it down over the past 10 years (per OP, " ignoring it, pretending it didn't exist") does suggest a compulsive money problem.

Oh yes "average".

If she's 30, she graduated (from grad school) 5-6 years ago (also meaning the 10 years of "ignoring" the loans isn't exactly 100% accurate). Looking at the average cost at my unremarkable state alma mater in the time she was going to school (circa 2006-2012) it was about $20-25k a year to attend (tuition, books, fees, on campus living -- for a 2 person, 100sqft room in a 70+ year old literally crumbling dorm). Starting bad, and ballooning crazily over that 6 years. That's $120-150k gross for 6 years. Again, for an unremarkable 4 year university.

Nearly 20 years ago I graduated with about $35k in debt from that school, despite substantively lower costs and having an extremely high paying internship that I paid most of my last three years expenses with (which also caused me to need a 5th year for my undergraduate).

But none of that matters. The point I am making is there is no evidence provided that she's a chronic, compulsive spender comparable to sol's 800 lb glutton. She just didn't make a great choice in ROI in her college and degree choice and like many, many people in her age group has been faced with ridiculous college expenses in general.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: haflander on August 24, 2018, 11:29:56 AM
Nah, I'm gonna stand by what I said, that people shouldn't be compared to used cars. I don't care if we're talking about men or women. In this case, we're dealing with a woman. I don't have a problem with the overall advice given to OP. In fact, if pressed for my opinion, I'd agree that he should probably walk away. Most agreed...so what? That's not the issue I care about here. The issue is I don't like the language used, which compared a person with a used car.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: iris lily on August 24, 2018, 11:36:15 AM
Quote from: robartsd link=topic=96067.msg2114964#msg2114964 date

...interest on her loans, so they are growing (there's a good chance that her balance was under $200k when you started dating)....


If this is evrn close to true, I reiterate: get out of this relationship, OP. Her behavior of ignoring her debt is just, ugh.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: FINate on August 24, 2018, 11:42:08 AM
But none of that matters. The point I am making is there is no evidence provided that she's a chronic, compulsive spender comparable to sol's 800 lb glutton. She just didn't make a great choice in ROI in her college and degree choice and like many, many people in her age group has been faced with ridiculous college expenses in general.

And the point I'm making is that student loan debt shouldn't be treated as something special. I could never bring myself to go into such extreme debt for an education unless I had a reasonable plan to pay it off. Making chronically poor ROI decisions is euphemism for chronically bad with money.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: dcheesi on August 24, 2018, 11:51:53 AM
I am going to give this to you from your girlfriends perspective, because, I WAS your girlfriend (slightly less debt though).  I met DH in grad school.  I was a poor college student with "six figures in debt" He was a more successful guy going back for degree completion (joined the military early in his life, 2 years older). 

I told him on our second date I had six figures in student loans (not an exact number). He didn't really seem to care.  The relationship progressed for about 2 years when it came do or die time, I was graduating, he was deploying, marriage was in the talks.  We had a "coming to Jesus" I told him my total loans, he told me his total net worth and offered to pay my loans off.

I. said. no.

We came up with a plan TOGETHER to pay my loans off.  This consisted of me staying in a HOLE of an apartment while he was deployed for 15 months, where I slept on a Craigslist futon and used my yard sale pots to cook (which i still own, Revere Ware for the win).  Every spare dime of my salary went to 1. ER fund and 2. Loan repayment.  In fairness he did pay my internet bill and give me his spare computer because I refused to pay for either because it wasn't in my budget. 

I worked 3 jobs those 15 months and paid off 60% of the debt, and saved a decent ER fund that I put into our downpayment on our first house to prove I was "all in".

He came home and paid off the other 40% of the debt as a birthday present to me (yea I know, lucky).   He proposed 2 months later, and we were married very shortly after that.  Fast forward another 3 years and I was WAY out earning him.  We still lived like college kids and saved every dime of my salary.  We did that for another 10 years, and I've handled all the finances and investments in that time.  I quit a really bad situation a year and a half ago.  He still works.  The difference is, we have more than what most on this board would consider FIREABLE, and why is this?

Because we BOTH decided exactly what future we wanted for ourselves and together paved a path forward, one that we both agreed on from day 2.
Excellent post, great to get the other perspective!

Also, one of the things I was already wondering was if maybe the OP's gf also used a vague term like "six figures" early on, and OP's brain just jumped to the conclusion that it was the low end of that range? If OP already had a lower number in mind before hearing her answer, then the cognitive "anchoring" effect could have caused their brain to jump to the low end of six figures. And/or maybe they just couldn't conceive of a college debt much higher than that?

Then, once that ~$100k number sits in the back of one's brain long enough, the caveats and uncertainty surrounding it gradually fade away, leading to the shock and horror when discovering the true number, along with a (misplaced) feeling of being misled.

I have no idea and no way of knowing if that's what actually happened, of course; only the OP (if anyone) can answer that now. But it's what my mind immediately jumped to when reading the description.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Cranky on August 24, 2018, 11:55:24 AM
This is another ridiculous take. It's not like this gal racked up 200k in debt on the home shopping network. She got 200k of debt going to 6 or more years of college. A bad ROI decision, probably. But comparing that to some kind of chronic, compulsive problem is absurdity in the extreme.

At the time she graduated the average undergrad debt was about $30k, or 1/7 her current loan balance. It's understandable for young-and-dumb students going into college to finance a low paying field of study. But to finish undergrad and then repeat the same mistake in grad school... college graduates should know better. Racking up $211k in debt in total apparently w/o a plan of action to pay it down over the past 10 years (per OP, " ignoring it, pretending it didn't exist") does suggest a compulsive money problem.

10 years ago was 2008. A LOT of people came out of college, looked around at the financial mess, and then decided to go to grad school and ride it out. Maybe not a great choice at this point, but not a crazily uncommon one at that point.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Candace on August 24, 2018, 11:56:29 AM
Quote
Well considering she's apparently been dumped before after revealing her finances and the OP said himself if he found out earlier he probably would have bailed it sounds like's she justified in keeping it hidden.

OMG, No! She's not "justified keeping it hidden" because she got dumped before. GF learned the absolute wrong lesson from those past decisions. The right lesson would have been:

"Wow, this is really serious. I need to get my debt under control and be upfront with future potential partners so I can find one for whom this issue isn't a deal breaker."

Instead, she apparently learned:

"Wow, that sucked. I should ignore my debt and keep it on the down low for as long as possible so that hopefully my next partner will be so in love/blinded by the sink cost that they'll accept my baggage."

Now I don't think that this was some manipulative plot on GFs part. She just let a combination of fear and inertia take over rather then confront a difficult problem head on. It's a common malaise 's one that speaks to a real emotional immaturity. That's the real issue here.

Well put. +1

Considering the hiding of important information, I'd be thinking really hard about committing to someone who did that to me. Also, although Sol was a little strident about it, he is right that a more confidence inspiring approach would, well, inspire confidence.

A thought experiment. It's completely reasonable to hesitate about going forward when you discover something important that is much worse than you had led to believe. Some people have attempted to say that $200k isn't that big a debt when compared to a lifetime of earning power, if all else is well in the relationship (an important if).

How about if the amount of debt had been, say, $300k? Or more? Would that change the way you felt about the deceit? How about the debt itself? If it does, then we can't go with the old canard "it's not about the money", because to some extent, it is.

How about if the withheld information was about something other than money, but something important to your background or who you are as a person? I know a young man about your age who is in a long term relationship with a nice young woman, who clearly expects to get married. The young man has neglected to ever inform her that he has previously been married, and in fact was separated when he met her. Would something like that give you pause? It's not about money, but about something a reasonable person would want to know before getting in past the surface of a relationship.

Also: if she withheld the information about the magnitude of the debt, what else is she hiding? How can you be sure she's not hiding something else that's important? These are the questions that would give me pause in the relationship. The current debt is a hurdle that you *could* climb together if trust, respect and consideration are present, and if both of you are willing to do what it takes. It's the trust, and the willingness, that I would be concerned about. Yes, she gave up her car for a bike and that's a good sign. Is it part of a consistent pattern of debt killing behavior? Or is it a one-off? I would wait until you have the answer to that, at least.

Good luck.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: talltexan on August 24, 2018, 12:06:30 PM
MMM has trained me that--when I see someone wearing old clothes and riding a bicycle down the road--I say, "That person is a millionaire!"

This thread has trained me that--when I see a beautiful woman, and am shocked to realize there is no wedding ring on her ring finger--I will say to myself, "That woman must have blown through $230,000 in student  debt." Because how would she not be married otherwise?
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: talltexan on August 24, 2018, 12:09:51 PM
I actually think that GF giving OP a date to break up with her by is a great strategy for both of them.

OP should have imposed a deadline on himself if she hadn't. CEO's give themselves deadlines to make important decisions. It really focuses the thinking.

Otherwise, OP would bring this up in future arguments, or GF would feel like the relationship was being damaged through continual re-thinking.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: FINate on August 24, 2018, 12:10:14 PM
This is another ridiculous take. It's not like this gal racked up 200k in debt on the home shopping network. She got 200k of debt going to 6 or more years of college. A bad ROI decision, probably. But comparing that to some kind of chronic, compulsive problem is absurdity in the extreme.

At the time she graduated the average undergrad debt was about $30k, or 1/7 her current loan balance. It's understandable for young-and-dumb students going into college to finance a low paying field of study. But to finish undergrad and then repeat the same mistake in grad school... college graduates should know better. Racking up $211k in debt in total apparently w/o a plan of action to pay it down over the past 10 years (per OP, " ignoring it, pretending it didn't exist") does suggest a compulsive money problem.

10 years ago was 2008. A LOT of people came out of college, looked around at the financial mess, and then decided to go to grad school and ride it out. Maybe not a great choice at this point, but not a crazily uncommon one at that point.

That was the crazy, frustrating thing about that time. Much of the crisis was driven by people getting in over their heads in debt. But college students didn't learn this lesson from witnessing what the older generation was going through. Quite the opposite, they instead doubled down on debt.

A lot of people make other terrible financial decisions, we see this on display in the Wall of Shame all the time. I guess I think one should have a higher standard than "lots of people behave this way" when choosing a life partner.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: MilesTeg on August 24, 2018, 12:30:26 PM
But none of that matters. The point I am making is there is no evidence provided that she's a chronic, compulsive spender comparable to sol's 800 lb glutton. She just didn't make a great choice in ROI in her college and degree choice and like many, many people in her age group has been faced with ridiculous college expenses in general.

And the point I'm making is that student loan debt shouldn't be treated as something special. I could never bring myself to go into such extreme debt for an education unless I had a reasonable plan to pay it off. Making chronically poor ROI decisions is euphemism for chronically bad with money.

So you would just go uneducated instead?

If I went to my unremarkable alma mater today changing nothing about my life but the time in which I went, I would have exited with even MORE debt than this gal. 4-5 years currently would run me about $160k (plus interest) in gross, minimum, expenses (tuition, on campus room/board, books, fees, etc.) and unlike during the time I graduated high paying internships aren't handed out like candy even to us compsci majors. Further, starting salaries in my "in demand field" aren't substantively different from starting salaries for a marketing major. $65k in my MHCOL is a starting salary (vs $55k for a marketing major).

Would you have the same advise for me as this gal? What should I do instead?

Let's not pretend that (1) college is not increasingly necessary and (2) college is not also getting ridiculously expensive. Most young people these days are between a rock and a hard place: pay a ridiculous amount for college to get a decent paying job or don't go to college and get a shitty paying job. Of course there are other options, but not everyone is suited to those options. And some high paying/low cost options simply don't scale. Sure, you can get a high ROI being a plumber/etc., but only as long as few people take that path.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Gyosho on August 24, 2018, 12:33:00 PM
Imagine you get ONE major marriage-type relationship in your ENTIRE LIFE.

If you only got ONE,  you would then spend quite a lot of time visualizing the very best version of that relationship in terms of finances, mutual physical life-long attraction, shared values, shared goals, basic living together compatibility.

Is this the best relationship that you (or anyone) could visualize?

Don't settle.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: FINate on August 24, 2018, 01:06:47 PM
But none of that matters. The point I am making is there is no evidence provided that she's a chronic, compulsive spender comparable to sol's 800 lb glutton. She just didn't make a great choice in ROI in her college and degree choice and like many, many people in her age group has been faced with ridiculous college expenses in general.

And the point I'm making is that student loan debt shouldn't be treated as something special. I could never bring myself to go into such extreme debt for an education unless I had a reasonable plan to pay it off. Making chronically poor ROI decisions is euphemism for chronically bad with money.

So you would just go uneducated instead?

If I went to my unremarkable alma mater today changing nothing about my life but the time in which I went, I would have exited with even MORE debt than this gal. 4-5 years currently would run me about $160k (plus interest) in gross, minimum, expenses (tuition, on campus room/board, books, fees, etc.) and unlike during the time I graduated high paying internships aren't handed out like candy even to us compsci majors. Further, starting salaries in my "in demand field" aren't substantively different from starting salaries for a marketing major. $65k in my MHCOL is a starting salary (vs $55k for a marketing major).

Would you have the same advise for me as this gal? What should I do instead?

Let's not pretend that (1) college is not increasingly necessary and (2) college is not also getting ridiculously expensive. Most young people these days are between a rock and a hard place: pay a ridiculous amount for college to get a decent paying job or don't go to college and get a shitty paying job. Of course there are other options, but not everyone is suited to those options. And some high paying/low cost options simply don't scale. Sure, you can get a high ROI being a plumber/etc., but only as long as few people take that path.

If you're looking for education then there are lots of free and low cost options for that: Khan Academy, Community College, the library, and so on. But the vast vast majority of people attend college for the credential. Fail to pay your tuition? No diploma for you! This works because the primary motivation is the piece of paper at the end. It's the same reason very few people audit courses, which is often free (or very low cost) but does not earn credits.

A credential that makes you worse off financially is not worth it. This should be obvious. So yes, in this case she would have been better off not going to college. Better yet, do a couple of years at CC to get lower division coursework done while living at home, then finish undergrad at State U, also living at home if there's one nearby. There are ways to do college on the cheap, I know many people who have gone this route. And I also know quite a few people in the trades who are doing very well. And the issue with more people going into trades affecting pay is not somehow unique to the trades. This is exactly why many college degrees are not very valuable these days -- too many people have flooded in to certain fields.

So my advice for anyone coming out of HS is this: Know yourself, find out what you like to do and what your strengths and weaknesses are. Consider professional fields that play to your interests and strengths. College isn't mandatory, nor is it necessarily better than going into a trade. Never, ever invest in anything, including a credential, unless you've done your due diligence and have a rough idea (to the best of your ability) of what the ROI will be.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Sorinth on August 24, 2018, 01:11:27 PM
OMG, No! She's not "justified keeping it hidden" because she got dumped before. GF learned the absolute wrong lesson from those past experiences. The right lesson would have been:

"Wow, this is really serious. I need to get my debt under control and be upfront with future potential partners so I can find one for whom this issue isn't a deal breaker."

Instead, she apparently learned:

"Wow, that sucked. I should ignore my debt and keep it on the down low for as long as possible so that hopefully my next partner will be so in love/blinded by the sink cost that they'll accept my baggage."

Now I don't think that this was some manipulative plot on GFs part. She just let a combination of fear and inertia take over rather then confront a difficult problem head on. It's a common malaise but one that speaks to a real emotional immaturity. That's the real issue here.

Edit: phone posting is hard.

Maybe justified is the wrong word, but considering the OP admitted if she had told him earlier he would've broken things off then her choices are essentially bringing it up and get dumped or keep it vague until things become serious enough that the OP won't bail while possibly making some progress on it.

I've only skimmed through the posts so I may have missed things but do we know for sure that she was not addressing the problem? It's equally possible she was trying to fix her debt problem but didn't know how. It seems like she gave up the car for a bike before the numbers were revealed to the OP so it doesn't sound like she was just ignoring the problem. Though with the size of the debt there was surely some malaise/inertia to it.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: driftwood on August 24, 2018, 01:20:23 PM
Imagine you get ONE major marriage-type relationship in your ENTIRE LIFE.

If you only got ONE,  you would then spend quite a lot of time visualizing the very best version of that relationship in terms of finances, mutual physical life-long attraction, shared values, shared goals, basic living together compatibility.

Is this the best relationship that you (or anyone) could visualize?

Don't settle.

I think the odds are good that you can have multiple marriage-type relationships in your ENTIRE LIFE.  I've been in two so far and even though the first one didn't work out it was still some of the best years of my life and a lot of good memories and growing as a couple and as a person.  With 7.4 billion people on this planet (google) your odds are pretty good that you can run into multiple people who could be 'the one'. There are deal breakers and there are minor differences and everyone has to decide and weight those for themselves.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: stashja on August 24, 2018, 01:52:38 PM
Someone said: ďThis thread has trained me that--when I see a beautiful woman, and am shocked to realize there is no wedding ring on her ring finger--I will say to myself, "That woman must have blown through $230,000 in student  debt." Because how would she not be married otherwise?ď

I am not ugly and wear no wedding ring, but thatís because if I married my life partner, weíd get hit by the ďmarriage penaltyĒ and have 2 primary residences and my crazy relatives would give us more stupid toasters and glassware than they already do. (We prefer mason jars as glasses.) also I work in a lab so Iíd probably lose the ring. I wish guys checking out my hands wouldnít assume I am single. I get rude when they hit on me.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: dcheesi on August 24, 2018, 02:18:49 PM
Someone said: ďThis thread has trained me that--when I see a beautiful woman, and am shocked to realize there is no wedding ring on her ring finger--I will say to myself, "That woman must have blown through $230,000 in student  debt." Because how would she not be married otherwise?ď

I am not ugly and wear no wedding ring, but thatís because if I married my life partner, weíd get hit by the ďmarriage penaltyĒ and have 2 primary residences and my crazy relatives would give us more stupid toasters and glassware than they already do. (We prefer mason jars as glasses.) also I work in a lab so Iíd probably lose the ring. I wish guys checking out my hands wouldnít assume I am single. I get rude when they hit on me.
Totally off-topic at this point, but a couple I know of (online) both work in a place where things go "boom", and thus have major restrictions on what jewelry etc. they can wear on-site. They wound up getting their "rings" tattooed on their ring-fingers, in the form of elvish script from LoTR (the One Ring inscription, I believe :).  Of course, I've also seen cheap silicone rings for sale that are meant to stand in for the real thing in such environments.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: mm1970 on August 24, 2018, 02:20:44 PM
I am going to give this to you from your girlfriends perspective, because, I WAS your girlfriend (slightly less debt though).  I met DH in grad school.  I was a poor college student with "six figures in debt" He was a more successful guy going back for degree completion (joined the military early in his life, 2 years older). 

I told him on our second date I had six figures in student loans (not an exact number). He didn't really seem to care.  The relationship progressed for about 2 years when it came do or die time, I was graduating, he was deploying, marriage was in the talks.  We had a "coming to Jesus" I told him my total loans, he told me his total net worth and offered to pay my loans off.

I. said. no.

We came up with a plan TOGETHER to pay my loans off.  This consisted of me staying in a HOLE of an apartment while he was deployed for 15 months, where I slept on a Craigslist futon and used my yard sale pots to cook (which i still own, Revere Ware for the win).  Every spare dime of my salary went to 1. ER fund and 2. Loan repayment.  In fairness he did pay my internet bill and give me his spare computer because I refused to pay for either because it wasn't in my budget. 

I worked 3 jobs those 15 months and paid off 60% of the debt, and saved a decent ER fund that I put into our downpayment on our first house to prove I was "all in".

He came home and paid off the other 40% of the debt as a birthday present to me (yea I know, lucky).   He proposed 2 months later, and we were married very shortly after that.  Fast forward another 3 years and I was WAY out earning him.  We still lived like college kids and saved every dime of my salary.  We did that for another 10 years, and I've handled all the finances and investments in that time.  I quit a really bad situation a year and a half ago.  He still works.  The difference is, we have more than what most on this board would consider FIREABLE, and why is this?

Because we BOTH decided exactly what future we wanted for ourselves and together paved a path forward, one that we both agreed on from day 2.
This was good.

My first thought wasn't "dump her" or "keep her", it was "help her find a better paying job and get her on a repayment plan!"
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: ardrum on August 24, 2018, 02:34:43 PM
Am I the only one who is disturbed by the idea that she has given OP a deadline to decide whether or not to break up over this?  Like, you have three days to get over it or not, sort out whether you are more perturbed by the breech of trust or touched by the current opening up. Three days to completely rethink your priorities for at least the next 10 years... I kept this from you for two years, now you have three days to decide what to do with the information.

Yes, that irked me too. 
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: rdaneel0 on August 24, 2018, 02:40:57 PM
I realize we're only hearing limited information about your relationship, and of course only one side of things, but I would seriously rethink marriage. The fact that you're having miscommunications (if not outright deceit) at this level, about something this serious, this close to engagement...seems like a pretty freaking huge red flag. What else have you guys failed to discuss with each other?

Like others said, it's not the debt that makes me concerned in itself, it's the lack of transparency and understanding. To be perfectly frank, I'd also be hesitant to be with someone who had so much debt and seemed to have no plan in place to address it (unless she has one and you've just not mentioned it). How come AFTER incurring all those student loans she bought a clown car? Why didn't she bring this up very early on? Why was she fine ring shopping (unnecessary expense) without mentioning what is essentially a mortgage-worth of student loans?

I don't know, unless what you've written is totally inaccurate this sounds like a pretty massive betrayal by someone who at best is wildly financially irresponsible.

Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: PizzaSteve on August 24, 2018, 02:41:10 PM
When I was pursuing my undergrad degrees I took a graduate level class in Human Sexuality as an elective.  One of the best modules of the class was a section focused on different loving styles, similar to how Myers-Briggs outlines behavioral decision making preferences.

One big 'take away' for me was that the criteria for love and a successful relationship varies dramatically by person, and it is important to both parners in a relationship understand their own 'loving style/needs' and those of their partner.  For some people love has nothing to do with material matters, they are romantics.  For others, marriage is about financial, religious, or lifestyle compatability, they are pragmatic.  For others still, friendship is what matters most, they dont need flowers or money, just a best friend and time together.  Other couples socialize separately with their boy or girl friends, and they dont particularly pal around with their partner (this is very common in Japan).

I would recommend considering what is needed by each of you from your relationship and whether your needs can be met by the other, without judging based in your own preferences.  It is not intrinsically wrong for a partner to seek financial security and love their partner for it, in fact it is common.  It is also not uncommon for a partner to seek specific criteria, such as a religious match above romance, or vice versa.  Knowing what you need and communicating that to your partner, transparently, is the key.

Good luck learning more about yourself and using that insight to be happier.  Dont let others judge you, and try to make sure your life partner understands your loving needs so they can meet them.

[edit:  I will add that one of the most common relationship mistakes, including on advice giving, is assuming others feel love the same way we do.  For example, several have posted ideas like, `you either lover her or you don't'.  That is the romantic loving relationship style.  However, a significant percentage of people do not pick partners that way, and for them something like a large debt impacting the ability to be successful or raise children could impact their feelings.  It is fascinating stuff to study.  When couples have different styles, misscommunication about love and the relationship is often the result.]
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: patchyfacialhair on August 24, 2018, 03:07:17 PM
OP, assuming the "facts" you've presented are true, you deserve a face punch for even considering marrying someone who gives you a deadline to break up like she did.

The ONLY person you should consider marrying is someone that will absolutely fight for you and gets excited at the thought of you, even after a long period of dating.

My wife and I dated for 4 years, then had a year long engagement. We are vastly different in many ways, but, to this day, despite problems here and there (we all have them), we continue to love and support and fight for one another through the ups and downs.

SHE caused a problem, SHE needs to be the one in charge of the solution. Instead, her response is to let her know if you want to break up? That tells me she doesn't value you as a person, she values your earning capacity and your ability to rescue her. She's telling you, plainly, that she will absolutely look for someone else if her situation is a dealbreaker. If she was truly in love with you (hint: she isnt'), she would do anything and everything to get back into your good graces.

Shoot, I gained a ton of weight since my wife and I first met. I got literally obese. She told me it was not ok, in very nice words. You know what I did? I took it upon myself to correct that situation, and I'm well on my way. Yes, I'm doing it for me, but call me old fashioned, her and I are one unit, so I'm also doing that for us. Your significant other isn't even close to that, from what it seems.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Watchmaker on August 24, 2018, 04:11:20 PM
I'll weigh in that, based on what you've said, I don't think she has acted badly towards you. Now, obviously we all bring our preconceptions and biases to this, and none of us posting has the full story. I probably wouldn't have posted at all, but it seemed like the bulk of the posts were "dump her" so I wanted to provide a counterpoint.

Timing the reveal of information like this is difficult, particularly when there is shame attached to it. It's certainly not something you bring up on the first date, and definitely needs to be disclosed before marriage. It sounds like she met those criteria. Now, taking on that much debt was almost certainly a mistake on her part, and she may or may not be dealing with it in a healthy way (I don't have enough information to say). But none of that had much to do with you (until now).

I would never break up with someone that I otherwise wanted to marry over this. But you are asking on and internet forum if you should marry her;  that sounds like doubts. I'm left wondering whether you truly do want to marry her in the first place? The suggestion above of slowing things down and exploring the relationship sounds good to me, but you need to first decide if you can move past this. If not--end it, for both your sakes. 
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: hdatontodo on August 24, 2018, 06:28:55 PM
I would not marry someone with such debt. I was in a situation with someone with debt, and I had to foot the bill for vacations  food, and more. She could never contribute to the future, and she was a drain on my doing so.

Oh, and if you divorce, plan on paying alimony and child support for many years. Only marry someone with equal financial footing.

Also, if she becomes a stay at home mom, she won't be paying off the loan.

Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: limeandpepper on August 24, 2018, 06:46:58 PM
person you should consider marrying is someone that will absolutely fight for you and gets excited at the thought of you, even after a long period of dating.

SHE caused a problem, SHE needs to be the one in charge of the solution. Instead, her response is to let her know if you want to break up? That tells me she doesn't value you as a person, she values your earning capacity and your ability to rescue her. She's telling you, plainly, that she will absolutely look for someone else if her situation is a dealbreaker. If she was truly in love with you (hint: she isnt'), she would do anything and everything to get back into your good graces.

I am tending to agree with this.

So, about the following story...

I am going to give this to you from your girlfriends perspective, because, I WAS your girlfriend (slightly less debt though).  I met DH in grad school.  I was a poor college student with "six figures in debt" He was a more successful guy going back for degree completion (joined the military early in his life, 2 years older). 

I told him on our second date I had six figures in student loans (not an exact number). He didn't really seem to care.  The relationship progressed for about 2 years when it came do or die time, I was graduating, he was deploying, marriage was in the talks.  We had a "coming to Jesus" I told him my total loans, he told me his total net worth and offered to pay my loans off.

I. said. no.

We came up with a plan TOGETHER to pay my loans off.  This consisted of me staying in a HOLE of an apartment while he was deployed for 15 months, where I slept on a Craigslist futon and used my yard sale pots to cook (which i still own, Revere Ware for the win).  Every spare dime of my salary went to 1. ER fund and 2. Loan repayment.  In fairness he did pay my internet bill and give me his spare computer because I refused to pay for either because it wasn't in my budget. 

I worked 3 jobs those 15 months and paid off 60% of the debt, and saved a decent ER fund that I put into our downpayment on our first house to prove I was "all in".

If the OP's girlfriend is more like you, it would be quite a different thing. Is the OP's girlfriend willing to suck it up for a while and take responsibility for the loans? At this point, rather than a strong indication that she is fiercely determined to fight for the relationship and work hard to pay off the loans by herself, what's coming from her sounds more like a resigned "if you're going to break up with me let me know ASAP, need to find someone willing to make babies with me".
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Peachtea on August 24, 2018, 07:05:06 PM
Iím kind of annoyed at how you wrote this post because all your questions are maths related, I.e. whatís the best way for your GF to get rid of her loans. But all the background info is completely unnecessary if that was your actual question. Which is why most people seemed to have focused on your implied question of should I break up with my GF. Iíll addresss both questions.

Iím biased because I have $240k in student loans, which wasnít ever (as far as I know) a potential deal breaker in my relationship. My now DH then boyfriend watched me take on loans for grad school so he wasnít exactly shocked at the end when I tallied it all up for loan consolidation. While I can see how you might be shocked, I think youíre over reacting. I frequently describe my loans to others as ďover 100k.Ē Because itís essentially a simple way to say theyíre six figure. And I donít think you had any right to know the exact balance until after you started discussing marriage with your GF. While Iím open and unashamed about mine, many people are more private due to cultural norms about their finances. So I feel like ďhidĒ is an unfair description even if she kept it on the DL until now. If you said my DW just told me she has 210k in SL, well that would be a different matter. She told you exactly when she needed to.

I think the deadline to break up is a little weird, but understandable given her past experiences. Sheís probably resigned to losing yet another SO due to her loans and wants the band-aid ripped off rather than suffering in the unknown state. Either way it sounds like youíre unsure and feel betrayed now, so why donít you just hold off on the engagement part for now while you sort through mutual financial decisions?

The original post doesnít say and I skimmed the rest, so sorry if Iím asking questions already answered. If you want the maths questions answered I think you need to provide more detail about your joint financial situation. And it would probably be best to start a new thread, maybe under case studies with the financial details minus all the drama. How much do you make? Are you living together yet? How have you handled joint expenses so far?

Something to note is that in most states debts premarriage do not become joint debts as long as the spouse doesnít sign on to the account. If the accounts go in default creditors could come after joint property though. Youíll probably find this article insteresting and reassuring: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/debt-marriage-owe-spouse-debts-29572.html Do some research into your state specific laws.

One strategy Iíve seen couples take, particularly where the lower earning spouse has the debt and wants to pay off their own debt, is for the higher earning spouse to pay for all the joint household expenses so the other spouse can use the vast majority of their income to throw at the debt. Is this a possibility for you guys? If you currently donít live together, would moving in lower expenses enough that you could pay joint expenses without decreasing your savings rate too much? If so, she could knock out the loans in 5-6 years on her current income. If sheís successfully doing this for your say year pre-engagement and then maybe 1-2 year engagement, seems like you would probably be more comfortable with your future joint financial situation by the time you tied the knot. If she is not as mustachian as you outside of the loans, hearing that she could pay them off in that time frame might motivate her to become more focused on being frugal. Itís very easy to get hopeless about that level of debt when you know it will always follow you unlike someone elseís bad choices with cc debt. If you feel hopeless and that youíll never get rid of them, then you start to think it doesnít matter how you spend your money after meeting the minimums.

Re PSLF the most important factor isnít really financial. Does your GF like this field of work, not just this job? She might feel horribly locked in if bosses change etc. And being on PSLF makes your balance grow so the longer youíre  on it the more stuck you get. Is she reasonably certain she can maintain 10 years of public service employment elsewhere if something happens to this job? If she canít answer yes to those questions then PSLF is not the way to go even if itís maths speaking the best solution.

In terms of whether seeking a higher income in the private sector would be better, thereís two main considerations that you canít really calculate. 1) In some fields the public interest sector is the only way to have any semblance of a work-life balance. If thatís the case for hers, would she be able to last long enough in high pressure, long hour settings to make the higher pay worthwhile? 2) Some fields donít earn a whole lot in either the public or private sector. Whatís the likelihood that she could find much higher paying private sector jobs with her degrees or skill set? Be realistic about this because $60k is a good salary. Not ideal compared to 210k in loans, but overall itís certainly above average.

PSLF done right can be great for FIRE. Because if you start investing the difference between minimum income based payments and what your standard payment otherwise would be, it has ten years to grow. Meaning once the loans are gone you can have a nice stache. It also encourages you to put as much as possible into a 401k to lower income and thus the minimum payments. If you make a lot you would probably once married want to figure out if it makes more sense to file taxes separately to avoid your income being counted in your GFís income calculations (there are tax consequences to this that you have to calculate).

In terms of how to calculate if PLSF makes sense, use the payment calculator on sudentaid.ed.gov to see what the estimated total amount your GF would pay after ten years. Decide how you guys would otherwise attack her loans and calculate how much you would pay (balance plus interest) that way. Compare the difference and see if itís significant enough to have your GF commit to ten years of public service. The same goes for the 20-25 year forgiveness although for that you have to add in how much you would pay in taxes at forgiveness. Iím not sure if it that program ever works out as a huge benefit except for the most extreme cases.

Read up all you can about the PSLF program, studentaid.ed.gov and white coat investor are good places to start. It doesnít sound like you really understand it, because you donít get accepted into the program. You can ask for advisory opinions on if certain jobs qualify, but in general someone could work at a nonprofit for 10 years and then apply for forgiveness without ever having filed specific PSLF paperwork before then. Which leads to the next question. Does your GF have 6 months towards the program because sheís only ever worked nonprofit full time for last six months? Or are you basing it off when she submitted her first employment certification form saying sheís interested in PSLF? The months qualified isnít calculated from when you submit the paperwork asking if your current job qualifies. If she had other nonprofit work and has been on a qualifying income based payment program she should see if she can get credit for those months as well. Iím guessing sheís been on the correct payment plan because with that high of loans and that level income, most people would naturally choose the income based plan.

If sheís decides to do PSLF for all the loans, she should try only consolidating the non qualifying loans so that the clock only starts over for those. Iím not sure if this is possible, but something to look into. Definitely have her do any consolidations before marriage if youíre in a community property state. That way the debt doesnít become yours after consolidation.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Jaayse on August 24, 2018, 07:43:30 PM
I've read through the whole thread and I think most perspectives have been covered.  IMO OP is the only one with the information to determine if the relationship is worth keeping or not.  My 2 cents are more to help facilitate the process, not make the decisions. 

Determine what decisions must be made, and who has control of them.  There are some decisions that are entirely in your control (to stay with her or not/ or request a longer engagement), some entirely in her control (to make debt her priority or not) and some that you both must decide if your relationship continues (to have kids or not).  These don't all have to be made immediately, in my profession, we make timelines with decision points which could be useful to you, focus on the most immediate decisions to be made.  Also, not all decisions are binary, you can set reasonable conditions.

Determine what your fears and priorities are and what her fears and priorities are, have a discussion.  Sometimes misinformation leads to fear, and on that note I will leave you with an interesting video to address common misinformation that I saw earlier in this thread:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9ryP0UyO5U (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9ryP0UyO5U)
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: frugaliknowit on August 25, 2018, 09:23:03 AM
I think it boils down to:

1.  Do you perceive you were consciously/intentionally deceived by your GF, as opposed to the relationship not being serious enough early on for her to disclose her debt to you (very understandable), then the whole situation "organically snowballing" to where it was up to the point where you guys had "the talk"?

2.  Assuming it was the latter, do you think you want to spend a very long time committed (theoretically till death) to your GF.  If the former, I'd bail.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: a-scho on August 25, 2018, 05:00:30 PM
Well, she finally, after two years of dating, told you her situation and then said, "I need to know within a week whether you are going to take it or leave it."

So, how about you tell her YOUR situation:
1. at what age you would like to be married.
2. What age is your limit for bringing kids into the mix. She told you she wants them in her early thirties, but she is not in a financial position to decide that.
3. Are you okay with the debt still existing after getting married, how much? (I personally would not marry her until the debt is gone or very close to gone, like less than a year away. And definitely no kids until it's gone) And after mathing the shit up, maybe she won't clear the debt until she's closer to forty......
4. you want a better plan in place to clear the debt. Can she adhere to that plan? for example, looking for a better paying job, her moving in with you and most of her income going to the debt, taking on side hustles, spending less on non-essentials, etc. She might say yes to these things, but how is she in action? I know she made a huge sacrifice by getting rid of her car, but she's going to need to do years of sacrifices to pay off this amount. If she truly wants to be with you and have kids with you, she will put in the work to meet your demands. And if she would rather break up so she can have kids as soon as possible with someone else, consider it dodging a bullet.

Basically, tell her what YOU want. Then SHE can decide whether to take it or leave it.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: nkt0 on August 26, 2018, 09:32:31 AM
I'm fascinated by how much attention this thread has drawn. People are really opinionated about this topic! :D
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Kathryn K. on August 26, 2018, 11:54:03 AM
Outside of looking at the student loan issue specifically, I would say that with THREE pretty important things the OP has concerns about with his GF - the student loans, weight, and mismatch in housekeeping expectations - that is a sign to me that the OP really needs to think about if this is a relationship that will work for both him and his GF for the long-term.

As someone coming up on ten years of marriage, there are so many unforeseen issues and difficulties that can come up after the wedding, that having so many issues already beforehand would make it very, very difficult. My husband and I had ONE major mismatch we knew about before marriage (housekeeping expectations, and contrary to stereotypes I am also the slobbier one) which continually rears its head and been a major source of friction, so I can't imagine adding two more large issues on top of that.

I have a feeling the OP has a mix of inertia (hence the GF's deadline) and not wanting to be shallow or judgmental of his GF that has prevented him from ripping off the band-aid off ending the relationship despite his major concerns.  I had similar ideas of not being judgmental or shallow in some of my earlier relationships, but bottom line is that liking what you like doesn't make you a bad person.  Would you want someone to be with you if they had major reservations about you? Now of course, no one is perfect and most of us aren't going to be marrying someone who's a combination of a supermodel and Martha Stewart but you have to like and be excited enough about most aspects of the person that you can deal with the couple small things you aren't crazy about.

And considering that the OP and his GF are both 30 and have been dating for two years, they've had plenty of time and perspective to know if they want to move forward and, while the OP is the only one who can know for sure, his lack of enthusiasm is a pretty clear 'no' to me.  If it is a no, it would be kindest to both the GF and himself to end things sooner rather than later.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Paul der Krake on August 26, 2018, 12:50:38 PM
I'm fascinated by how much attention this thread has drawn. People are really opinionated about this topic! :D
- wealth inequality
- poor decision making
- student loans
- relationship advice
- general deception drama

You've hit the MMM forums jackpot. Do you have a different opinion than your girlfriend on gun control too? Because that's all you need for this thread to make the forums implode.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: snapperdude on August 26, 2018, 07:57:18 PM
Someone said: ďThis thread has trained me that--when I see a beautiful woman, and am shocked to realize there is no wedding ring on her ring finger--I will say to myself, "That woman must have blown through $230,000 in student  debt." Because how would she not be married otherwise?ď

I am not ugly and wear no wedding ring, but thatís because if I married my life partner, weíd get hit by the ďmarriage penaltyĒ and have 2 primary residences and my crazy relatives would give us more stupid toasters and glassware than they already do. (We prefer mason jars as glasses.) also I work in a lab so Iíd probably lose the ring. I wish guys checking out my hands wouldnít assume I am single. I get rude when they hit on me.
Totally off-topic at this point, but a couple I know of (online) both work in a place where things go "boom", and thus have major restrictions on what jewelry etc. they can wear on-site. They wound up getting their "rings" tattooed on their ring-fingers, in the form of elvish script from LoTR (the One Ring inscription, I believe :).  Of course, I've also seen cheap silicone rings for sale that are meant to stand in for the real thing in such environments.

That sounds like a mystery, Agatha.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: worms on August 26, 2018, 11:52:39 PM
I haven't read the responses, hell I didn't even read all of your OP.  But c'mon.  This is the woman you love and want to spend the rest of your life with?  $200k is nothing compared to that.  Unless you're looking for an "out", this would be a terrible reason to shut her out.

Money isn't everything in life.

This!  Itís either love or it isnít. If it is, clear the debt on Day 1 after marriage (Yes, from your own hard-earned stash!) and never look back.  I suspect, though, that if it was love, the OP would never have even thought about not paying up and would certainly never have posted on here about it!
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: TheExplorer on August 27, 2018, 12:12:18 AM
I haven't read the responses, hell I didn't even read all of your OP.  But c'mon.  This is the woman you love and want to spend the rest of your life with?  $200k is nothing compared to that.  Unless you're looking for an "out", this would be a terrible reason to shut her out.

Money isn't everything in life.

This!  It’s either love or it isn’t. If it is, clear the debt on Day 1 after marriage (Yes, from your own hard-earned stash!) and never look back.  I suspect, though, that if it was love, the OP would never have even thought about not paying up and would certainly never have posted on here about it!

Funny. I wanted to but didn't say anything initially on that comment, but given its now been endorsed I'm going to wade in.

To me the first quote epitomises one of the key issues in society today - that people talk and give opinions without listening first. Results in half baked ideas and makes it impossible and a waste of time having discussions generally.

You may have missed out on some key context, but it's great you feel good about sharing your opinion with us all...

Now I'm off to take my chill pill... ;-)
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Dicey on August 27, 2018, 08:03:08 AM
Interesting discussion. I found it odd that OP hasn't been back in a while. I checked out his post history and found this:

As much as I want a life partner, I hate the idea of working 40 hours a week for another ~40 years. If its hard to sell someone you are already close to on the idea of FIRE, imagine how difficult it is to assess how likely a stranger is going to be open to such a lifestyle and then talk to them about it as the relationship gets more serious over and over again.

Based on his minimal participation here since he joined in 2014, and the fact that the SO's deadline has passed, I'm not going to hold my breath waiting to hear his decision.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: ak907 on August 27, 2018, 09:12:48 AM
Sorry for not posting for a bit folks. I appreciate all the opinions. I will get back with more data as I get time. As you may imagine this weekend was tough with long conversations, emotions and strategizing.
  In short she has been just getting by for such a long time making required payments that she basically forgot she needed to something more than that. She did not intentionally conceal the loans from me a any sort of scheme and is deeply embarrassed and upset. She also has $6,000 in credit card debt she was hoping to pay off with savings from not having a car. She had been investing into her 401k and IRA on my guidance (in ignorance of the fact that the debt repayment situation was not in fact under control), in growing excitement and hope of heading down the FIRE path with me. She will be cutting these back to nothing more than getting matching and redirecting to debt. She is currently aggressively job hunting and I am as well.

  The most urgent (this thing is adding on ~$37.6 per day) issue (aside from higher earnings) is the problem of finding out which path is best, of the two available, Public Service Lone Forgiveness over 10 years or trying to pay down the loans after rolling them into private ones to reduce APR. Data needs to be gathered on these to scenarios (possible salary, private loan APR rate) and a spreadsheet to game out estimated net worth at the end of each scenario and how much can be invested at the same time.
  One other path the I have found is that some federal government agencies have loan repayment plans that will pay up to $10,000 per year for up to 6 years which are able to be applied as qualifying PSLF payments. which would mean no payments on loans for 6 years plus loan forgiveness at end of 10 years. The catch is getting a government job at an agency that runs such a program.

  Some here are underestimating the load these loans present. Using a mortgage calculator I was able to estimate that to pay them off in 5 years (before kids) at current APR would require ~50,000 per year every year. This would take a minimum salary by my calculations after state, federal, social security taxes and 401k match (off the top of my head it still makes sense to double your money plus save ~20% from not paying taxes and get average stock market returns vs pay a bit more to loan) and healthcare of at least 80,000. Basically on my own I would currently barely be able to do more than address these loans on my salary let alone hers. One way or another paying these loans off directly would mean not saving any real money for 1/2 a decade for one of us.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: PizzaSteve on August 27, 2018, 09:19:30 AM
Thanks for the update.  It is great you were able to talk about this challenge with her and also the important elements of your relationship for each of you prior to a marriage committment.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: former player on August 27, 2018, 09:23:07 AM
Sounds like you have had good conversations, which is a definite plus in any close relationship.

Regarding the potential 10 year pay-off, how does having kids factor into that?  Because the next 10 years is the exact timetable for getting pregnant, giving birth, breastfeeding and raising babies, so that's a significant hurdle to cross.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: patchyfacialhair on August 27, 2018, 09:24:23 AM
Thanks for the additional detail and I'm glad you're not perceiving it as deception.

What about her ultimatum? Some of us were more concerned by that than the debt. What were your overall feelings on that?
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: iris lily on August 27, 2018, 09:45:24 AM
It is great that she seems onboard with mustachian principles.

I disagree with those who say If you are thinking of leaving her, you dont luuuuuuurv her. That is bullshit. Love is easy. The rest of itónot so much.

Yeah and be careful about factoring in ten years servitide to gubmnt agency for loan forgiveness.if she has babies at home, she may abandon work.

oP I would lie to know: how important is it to you to have children? If you definitely want children, be sure to factor in her qualifications as mother. The choice of mother is the most important parenting decision you will make.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Psychstache on August 27, 2018, 10:13:28 AM
Sorry for not posting for a bit folks. I appreciate all the opinions. I will get back with more data as I get time. As you may imagine this weekend was tough with long conversations, emotions and strategizing.
  In short she has been just getting by for such a long time making required payments that she basically forgot she needed to something more than that. She did not intentionally conceal the loans from me a any sort of scheme and is deeply embarrassed and upset. She also has $6,000 in credit card debt she was hoping to pay off with savings from not having a car. She had been investing into her 401k and IRA on my guidance (in ignorance of the fact that the debt repayment situation was not in fact under control), in growing excitement and hope of heading down the FIRE path with me. She will be cutting these back to nothing more than getting matching and redirecting to debt. She is currently aggressively job hunting and I am as well.

  The most urgent (this thing is adding on ~$37.6 per day) issue (aside from higher earnings) is the problem of finding out which path is best, of the two available, Public Service Lone Forgiveness over 10 years or trying to pay down the loans after rolling them into private ones to reduce APR. Data needs to be gathered on these to scenarios (possible salary, private loan APR rate) and a spreadsheet to game out estimated net worth at the end of each scenario and how much can be invested at the same time.
  One other path the I have found is that some federal government agencies have loan repayment plans that will pay up to $10,000 per year for up to 6 years which are able to be applied as qualifying PSLF payments. which would mean no payments on loans for 6 years plus loan forgiveness at end of 10 years. The catch is getting a government job at an agency that runs such a program.

  Some here are underestimating the load these loans present. Using a mortgage calculator I was able to estimate that to pay them off in 5 years (before kids) at current APR would require ~50,000 per year every year. This would take a minimum salary by my calculations after state, federal, social security taxes and 401k match (off the top of my head it still makes sense to double your money plus save ~20% from not paying taxes and get average stock market returns vs pay a bit more to loan) and healthcare of at least 80,000. Basically on my own I would currently barely be able to do more than address these loans on my salary let alone hers. One way or another paying these loans off directly would mean not saving any real money for 1/2 a decade for one of us.

Sounds like some good conversation was had and that you two have found some effective methods of communicating. That is like 80% of the challenge in a relationship, so kudos to you both.

On the finance side, please don't miss part re PSLF: if you two are married your combined income is used in the calculation for your Income Driven Repayment plan, so you have to consider what your combined incomes would be over the time frame. The good news is that the payment is based on a modified AGI, so the more you save the lower your payment (as an extreme example, there was a year where my wife and I made a little over 6 figures gross, but my IBR payment was $10 a month bc of how much pre-tax investment we made).
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: partgypsy on August 27, 2018, 10:57:06 AM
A lot to digest. Like others said, you have to decide, yourself whether this is a dealbreaker. You have already said if you knew this before getting serious, you would have not gotten serious. But now you are serious and have been together for 2 years. Do you feel like her, your relationship with her is worth it despite this new information? Like others say, everyone brings slightly different things to the table in a relationship only you can decide if this is a situation you want to commit yourself fully to.

2), if it is not a dealbreaker, like what others said, it doesn't have to be a decision between a) breaking up and b) getting married and merging everything 100%. It can be some shade in-between.

3) However you decide to merge finances and help her pay down debts, make sure she feels the responsibility. As an example of what NOT to do, a couple I know divorced, because she was cheating. Both the husband and wife came into the marriage with student loans. Her student loans were higher and higher interest. He was the primary breadwinner. To make the financially right decision he paid down hers at the expense of paying down his. When they got divorced, she walked away with no student loans. He still has his student loans to pay off.
If you stay with her, yes help her. Help her in researching the best ways to pay them off. Help her in finding ways to increase her income/reduce expenses. Even help her by chipping in, or having her pay less in household expenses. But I advise AGAINST paying down her loans at the sacrifice of your own savings or your future dreams. It may take longer, it may cost more, but she will have the satisfaction of taking care of her own financial obligations.


I think magnet 18 had some good overall advice
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Retire-Canada on August 27, 2018, 11:11:15 AM
3) However you decide to merge finances and help her pay down debts, make sure she feels the responsibility. As an example of what NOT to do, a couple I know divorced, because she was cheating. Both the husband and wife came into the marriage with student loans. Her student loans were higher and higher interest. He was the primary breadwinner. To make the financially right decision he paid down hers at the expense of paying down his. When they got divorced, she walked away with no student loans. He still has his student loans to pay off.
If you stay with her, yes help her. Help her in researching the best ways to pay them off. Help her in finding ways to increase her income/reduce expenses. Even help her by chipping in, or having her pay less in household expenses. But I advise AGAINST paying down her loans at the sacrifice of your own savings or your future dreams. It may take longer, it may cost more, but she will have the satisfaction of taking care of her own financial obligations.

Good points.

Until/unless you get married don't merge finances or pay down her loans for her. Help her in other ways pay down her loans as best as she can and save/invest your own money. If you do get married she'll benefit from your huge war chest and if something goes sideways and you don't get married you keep your own wealth and she keeps her debt.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: talltexan on August 27, 2018, 02:14:12 PM
Someone said: ďThis thread has trained me that--when I see a beautiful woman, and am shocked to realize there is no wedding ring on her ring finger--I will say to myself, "That woman must have blown through $230,000 in student  debt." Because how would she not be married otherwise?ď

I am not ugly and wear no wedding ring, but thatís because if I married my life partner, weíd get hit by the ďmarriage penaltyĒ and have 2 primary residences and my crazy relatives would give us more stupid toasters and glassware than they already do. (We prefer mason jars as glasses.) also I work in a lab so Iíd probably lose the ring. I wish guys checking out my hands wouldnít assume I am single. I get rude when they hit on me.

It sounds as though you have decided marriage is not for you, but you also have entered into the kind of relationship that involves mustachian forethought and commitment. Congrats!

My imaginations that spring into my mind when I see people biking on the side of the road--or wonder if they are available for a romantic relationship--are only instantaneous thoughts, which I do not allow to turn into any kind of ungracious act.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: J Boogie on August 27, 2018, 02:53:08 PM
She sounds like a good and caring person, but it also sounds like she hasn't been either willing or able to take responsibility until the 11th hour.  It sounds more like she's had a general sense that she won't have to or doesn't want to think about it because it's depressing and ignorance is bliss - incurring consumer debt and spending that much on a vehicle with her balance sheet bear it out.

In addition to the financial irresponsibility, the lack of tidiness and personal fitness sound like they get under your skin. No judgment on you or her - these are traits that are good for people to match up with. It sounds like you might be happier and less likely to be resentful in a relationship if you were with someone who was equally responsible.

It doesn't seem like you're a match from a personal responsibility perspective. There are probably dudes out there who would be stoked to be with her, and there are probably plenty of women out there just as responsible as you who would be stoked to be with you.

Your update about her being on board with saving and paying down debt honestly sounds like it'll fizzle out soon when the frugal fatigue sets in.







Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Cassie on August 27, 2018, 06:04:58 PM
What bothers me the most is that her weight bothers him. Things happen beyond our control and she could develop some type of illness that causes her to be overweight. Are going to dump her then?  I would do the loan forgiveness program with the understanding she canít be a SAHM until her loans are paid off.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: chasesfish on August 27, 2018, 06:10:23 PM
This is probably the most intriguing thread I've read with wildly different views...

I think you, as the significant other, have to decide if she is maturing into an adult and going to have the level of personal discipline needed for a relationship and marriage.  You too have to make that decision.

The negatives:
She has $200k in debt.   She was embarrassed and hid this.  You two likely fought with a crazy deadline (people say stupid shit when they're fighting)
She doesn't view this debt as a complete and total emergency
She is 30 with two degrees and her skill set has only afforded her a $60,000 job
She struggles with the personal discipline to work out and eat well (ironically, this would probably be my deal-killer just because I couldn't stay disciplined on those two things without a supportive partner in the house)

The positives:
She is bought in enough to FI to ride a god damn electric bike to work vs. a car
She is certainty, you've been together long enough to know what you're going to get.   


I have some random advice in no particular order:

To answer your original question about how big of deal the debt is, that much is enough to pay for professional advice.  There's a guy in the FI community that owns Student Loan Planner dot com.  He's legit.  Pay for the professional advice.  If you and her get married, this is something you both deal with in your future.

My wife also racked up near six figures in student loan debt for a similar level job, which she ended up not loving.  She also delayed earning income for three years and it held my career back because I working in a small college town.  Any resentment I held about that was destructive to our relationship and I got over it fast.  Do I feel it every once in a while?  Sure.  Then I kick its ass back into the closet and forget about it, because we're a partnership and we make some good decisions and some bad decisions.  She's been wonderful to me.

Cleanliness?  You're getting a wife, not a maid.  Most people aren't tidy, factor in the cost of a maid or plan on doing 90% of the work.  Folks at 30 don't change that. 

Marriage is about compromise, I know plenty of perpetually single people with a long list of deal-killers.


Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: remizidae on August 27, 2018, 06:18:10 PM

Yeah and be careful about factoring in ten years servitide to gubmnt agency for loan forgiveness.if she has babies at home, she may abandon work.

Absolutely they should discuss this, but let's not assume that every woman is just dying to drop out of the workplace. You'd have to be pretty damn irresponsible to get into that much debt for a career and then throw the career in the trash because BABIES.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: remizidae on August 27, 2018, 06:27:41 PM
One other path the I have found is that some federal government agencies have loan repayment plans that will pay up to $10,000 per year for up to 6 years which are able to be applied as qualifying PSLF payments. which would mean no payments on loans for 6 years plus loan forgiveness at end of 10 years. The catch is getting a government job at an agency that runs such a program.

I have some experience with this. A few things to keep in mind:

Overall, still a good thing to have!
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: OtherJen on August 27, 2018, 06:55:06 PM
What bothers me the most is that her weight bothers him. Things happen beyond our control and she could develop some type of illness that causes her to be overweight. Are going to dump her then?  I would do the loan forgiveness program with the understanding she canít be a SAHM until her loans are paid off.

This was the biggest red flag for me, as well. Bodies and health change with age, and womenís bodies change significantly with pregnancy and childbirth.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Kathryn K. on August 27, 2018, 07:46:37 PM
What bothers me the most is that her weight bothers him. Things happen beyond our control and she could develop some type of illness that causes her to be overweight. Are going to dump her then?  I would do the loan forgiveness program with the understanding she canít be a SAHM until her loans are paid off.

This was the biggest red flag for me, as well. Bodies and health change with age, and womenís bodies change significantly with pregnancy and childbirth.

IMO there's a big difference with discovering you're not crazy about someone's weight before you married and made a commitment to them versus being a jerk who expects his wife to never gain a pound after marriage, and I'm giving the OP the benefit of the doubt that he's in the first category. 
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: OtherJen on August 27, 2018, 07:50:01 PM
What bothers me the most is that her weight bothers him. Things happen beyond our control and she could develop some type of illness that causes her to be overweight. Are going to dump her then?  I would do the loan forgiveness program with the understanding she canít be a SAHM until her loans are paid off.

This was the biggest red flag for me, as well. Bodies and health change with age, and womenís bodies change significantly with pregnancy and childbirth.

IMO there's a big difference with discovering you're not crazy about someone's weight before you married and made a commitment to them versus being a jerk who expects his wife to never gain a pound after marriage, and I'm giving the OP the benefit of the doubt that he's in the first category.

I hope youíre right. My attitude is probably colored by memories of an emotionally abusive college boyfriend who included negging about my weight/appearance among his tactics. It seems like itís something that should be addressed and dealt with BEFORE marriage, though, given that the OP brought it up as a significant concern.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Stupendous on August 27, 2018, 08:13:39 PM
I'd move on. She intentionally hid it from you. IMO if you have monster sized loans, that is something you should disclose within 6 months or when it gets serious. That's, rightfully, a deal breaker for some. Also, don't be surprised if she bails after you help her zero out those loans.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: middo on August 27, 2018, 09:59:57 PM
Sorry for not posting for a bit folks. I appreciate all the opinions. I will get back with more data as I get time. As you may imagine this weekend was tough with long conversations, emotions and strategizing.
  In short she has been just getting by for such a long time making required payments that she basically forgot she needed to something more than that. She did not intentionally conceal the loans from me a any sort of scheme and is deeply embarrassed and upset. She also has $6,000 in credit card debt she was hoping to pay off with savings from not having a car. She had been investing into her 401k and IRA on my guidance (in ignorance of the fact that the debt repayment situation was not in fact under control), in growing excitement and hope of heading down the FIRE path with me. She will be cutting these back to nothing more than getting matching and redirecting to debt. She is currently aggressively job hunting and I am as well.

  The most urgent (this thing is adding on ~$37.6 per day) issue (aside from higher earnings) is the problem of finding out which path is best, of the two available, Public Service Lone Forgiveness over 10 years or trying to pay down the loans after rolling them into private ones to reduce APR. Data needs to be gathered on these to scenarios (possible salary, private loan APR rate) and a spreadsheet to game out estimated net worth at the end of each scenario and how much can be invested at the same time.
  One other path the I have found is that some federal government agencies have loan repayment plans that will pay up to $10,000 per year for up to 6 years which are able to be applied as qualifying PSLF payments. which would mean no payments on loans for 6 years plus loan forgiveness at end of 10 years. The catch is getting a government job at an agency that runs such a program.

  Some here are underestimating the load these loans present. Using a mortgage calculator I was able to estimate that to pay them off in 5 years (before kids) at current APR would require ~50,000 per year every year. This would take a minimum salary by my calculations after state, federal, social security taxes and 401k match (off the top of my head it still makes sense to double your money plus save ~20% from not paying taxes and get average stock market returns vs pay a bit more to loan) and healthcare of at least 80,000. Basically on my own I would currently barely be able to do more than address these loans on my salary let alone hers. One way or another paying these loans off directly would mean not saving any real money for 1/2 a decade for one of us.

I haven't chimed in until now, but thought it might be a good time to do so. 

Firstly, if you are planning on getting married and having kids, stop thinking about your income, your stash, her income, her debts.  They are yours - plural.  The families.  Once you get married, or at least make a solid commitment to each other that you expect to live together forever, and raise your children together, I would suggest you pool everything.  There is never true equity in relationships.  One will always bring more into a relationship than the other.  Inheritances will also affect what each partner brings and when. 

Secondly, I would be looking at how you can pay off the loans without using any of your stash.  It should be a combined effort.  if you can both throw a significant portion of your income you could snowball them, starting with the highest interest one first.  Then it becomes a team effort, just like raising kids is a team effort.  Is this the best financial decision?  I don't know.  It would be good for your relationship though if you do things together.

Lastly, If she is worried that you may walk out on her, and is looking to have kids, you need to let her know that you won't do that.  There will be hard times, and good times.  If you are prepared to work together on the debt, on your relationship, on your family, and towards your retirement, then you can achieve anything you set your sights on.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: limeandpepper on August 27, 2018, 10:26:28 PM
What bothers me the most is that her weight bothers him. Things happen beyond our control and she could develop some type of illness that causes her to be overweight. Are going to dump her then?  I would do the loan forgiveness program with the understanding she canít be a SAHM until her loans are paid off.

This was the biggest red flag for me, as well. Bodies and health change with age, and womenís bodies change significantly with pregnancy and childbirth.

IMO there's a big difference with discovering you're not crazy about someone's weight before you married and made a commitment to them versus being a jerk who expects his wife to never gain a pound after marriage, and I'm giving the OP the benefit of the doubt that he's in the first category.

In addition to that, I think there's a difference between someone who's quite capable of losing weight and doesn't, vs. someone who has genuine medical reasons for having difficulty losing weight. I have a friend for example who can clearly maintain a good level of health and fitness when he really wants to, eating well and hitting the gym when he's single, but once he's in a relationship he lets it slide, presumably because he doesn't feel the need to make the effort anymore. Based on my observations, most people get more complacent about these things when they're in a long-term relationship or get married, so my advice for this to the OP is, to avoid disappointment, don't expect that to improve, and be prepared for it to magnify. Occasionally you'll see the exceptions, but even in those cases it seems that it's often because they've been triggered by a major health scare and suddenly woke up to how serious the situation is. It's just human nature I guess.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: One on August 27, 2018, 10:46:44 PM
Don't get married! Keep finances separate. Keep dating and enjoy life.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: K-ice on August 28, 2018, 08:22:18 AM
The best thing you can do for her, regardless if you are together long term or not, is help her with a plan so she can get her debt under control.

She needs to get serious about her debt & tackle it with hair on fire urgency.

If you stay together, Iíd help her out a bit by paying more expenses, but otherwise keep your finances separate.

Weíve been together 18y, our incomes have flip flopped with SO making more than double me the first 10y. Now we are very equal in income but obviously not in investments. In hindsight we maybe should have split expenses proportional to our incomes, but instead we just lived a frugal life the poorest one could afford.

My point is we have each paid our own way & kept things separate even though we have no financial red flags.

I am very concerned someone with $60K income has $6K credit card debt.

I would not comingal money with her anytime soon.


Wishing you both the best.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: J Boogie on August 28, 2018, 08:29:36 AM
I am skeptical of the response to those who are bothered that his SO's weight (which, based on his words, seem to be related to a lack of effort and not medical/genetic issues) and tidiness are an issue for OP.

They're dating - these are legitimate things for any man or woman to consider when thinking about marriage. It's a compatibility issue. Fitness, tidiness, financial responsibility - these habits often go together. Someone who is low in these areas will probably be happier with someone else who is low in these areas and vice versa.

I'm not saying don't be giving and understanding in a relationship. I'm saying set yourself up to be giving and understanding without burning out and exhausting your reserves. You have a much better chance of being a good husband or wife if you choose someone that you have complete confidence in their willingness and ability to work just as hard as you toward a shared vision.

That way, when the bumps in the road inevitably come, you'll be able to work through them. Together. If the whole road is bumpy, your chances aren't great. You'll start to wonder why you're putting so much into the relationship.



Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: unleashthemind on August 28, 2018, 08:39:02 AM
You could honestly be making the worst decision of your life by marrying her. Don't let the sunk cost fallacy ruin your life; you need to get out.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Zikoris on August 28, 2018, 09:54:19 AM
I am skeptical of the response to those who are bothered that his SO's weight (which, based on his words, seem to be related to a lack of effort and not medical/genetic issues) and tidiness are an issue for OP.

They're dating - these are legitimate things for any man or woman to consider when thinking about marriage. It's a compatibility issue. Fitness, tidiness, financial responsibility - these habits often go together. Someone who is low in these areas will probably be happier with someone else who is low in these areas and vice versa.

I suspect a lot of these people and larger-sized and untidy themselves, so of course it's outrageous to suggest those things make a person undesirable :)
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: chasesfish on August 28, 2018, 10:32:09 AM
I am skeptical of the response to those who are bothered that his SO's weight (which, based on his words, seem to be related to a lack of effort and not medical/genetic issues) and tidiness are an issue for OP.

They're dating - these are legitimate things for any man or woman to consider when thinking about marriage. It's a compatibility issue. Fitness, tidiness, financial responsibility - these habits often go together. Someone who is low in these areas will probably be happier with someone else who is low in these areas and vice versa.

I'm not saying don't be giving and understanding in a relationship. I'm saying set yourself up to be giving and understanding without burning out and exhausting your reserves. You have a much better chance of being a good husband or wife if you choose someone that you have complete confidence in their willingness and ability to work just as hard as you toward a shared vision.

That way, when the bumps in the road inevitably come, you'll be able to work through them. Together. If the whole road is bumpy, your chances aren't great. You'll start to wonder why you're putting so much into the relationship.

I kind of agree with all of this
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: MDfive21 on August 28, 2018, 11:07:03 AM
just a couple things to add, as pretty much all the bases have been covered.

1. how fat is the OP?  and/or what flaws of yours is GF overlooking in order to stay with you?  more of a rhetorical to get you thinking.

2.  if weight is a problem, 'calories in, calories out' has been pretty much debunked in favor or controlling macro-nutrients, with a 'high fat, low carb' intake being preferable in most humans.  stop eating bread, rice, sugar, potatoes and ramp up the steak, bacon and MCT oil.  check out the keto thread on here or google keto gains.  start here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDFxdkck354

3.  honestly it sounds like OP and GF have the makings of a good relationship, and should continue to date, get engaged and set a wedding date at least one year out.  this gives you both time to adjust to the new normal and get back into a groove.  OP keep working your spreadsheets.  keep in mind, the wedding is not the end game.  it's just the beginning.

4.  obviously you're a bit of a nerd and i'm sure you can build up a spreadsheet to project income/debt/savings/net worth for the next 10+ years.  building my spreadsheets was key to keeping a clear head in my non-perfect marriage.

good luck!
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: partgypsy on August 28, 2018, 11:31:09 AM
just a couple things to add, as pretty much all the bases have been covered.

1. how fat is the OP?  and/or what flaws of yours is GF overlooking in order to stay with you?  more of a rhetorical to get you thinking.

2.  if weight is a problem, 'calories in, calories out' has been pretty much debunked in favor or controlling macro-nutrients, with a 'high fat, low carb' intake being preferable in most humans.  stop eating bread, rice, sugar, potatoes and ramp up the steak, bacon and MCT oil.  check out the keto thread on here or google keto gains.  start here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDFxdkck354

3.  honestly it sounds like OP and GF have the makings of a good relationship, and should continue to date, get engaged and set a wedding date at least one year out.  this gives you both time to adjust to the new normal and get back into a groove.  OP keep working your spreadsheets.  keep in mind, the wedding is not the end game.  it's just the beginning.

4.  obviously you're a bit of a nerd and i'm sure you can build up a spreadsheet to project income/debt/savings/net worth for the next 10+ years.  building my spreadsheets was key to keeping a clear head in my non-perfect marriage.

good luck!

Nothing to do with relationships, but everyone is different and a diet that works for one person might be hell/unpleasant/not work for another person. What are good guidelines: reduce empty calories (sugar/sweeteners, alcohol, junk and fast food), increase produce and whole grains, watch your overall caloric intake AND making sure you include physical activity most days. There is no such thing as a perfect diet, just more or less optimal diets.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: talltexan on August 28, 2018, 02:43:38 PM
Did the deadline come, yet, OP? Tell us what you concluded?

One of my girlfriends told me that her grandfather sat down, and wrote a two-column list about whether he should marry her grandmother. There were enough things on the plus-side that he decided to do it. Ironically, I broke up with her soon after, but that made me single at a time when I could begin a relationship with Mrs. TallTexan. Best of luck!
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: OtherJen on August 28, 2018, 03:21:12 PM
just a couple things to add, as pretty much all the bases have been covered.

1. how fat is the OP?  and/or what flaws of yours is GF overlooking in order to stay with you?  more of a rhetorical to get you thinking.

2.  if weight is a problem, 'calories in, calories out' has been pretty much debunked in favor or controlling macro-nutrients, with a 'high fat, low carb' intake being preferable in most humans.  stop eating bread, rice, sugar, potatoes and ramp up the steak, bacon and MCT oil.  check out the keto thread on here or google keto gains.  start here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDFxdkck354

3.  honestly it sounds like OP and GF have the makings of a good relationship, and should continue to date, get engaged and set a wedding date at least one year out.  this gives you both time to adjust to the new normal and get back into a groove.  OP keep working your spreadsheets.  keep in mind, the wedding is not the end game.  it's just the beginning.

4.  obviously you're a bit of a nerd and i'm sure you can build up a spreadsheet to project income/debt/savings/net worth for the next 10+ years.  building my spreadsheets was key to keeping a clear head in my non-perfect marriage.

good luck!

Nothing to do with relationships, but everyone is different and a diet that works for one person might be hell/unpleasant/not work for another person. What are good guidelines: reduce empty calories (sugar/sweeteners, alcohol, junk and fast food), increase produce and whole grains, watch your overall caloric intake AND making sure you include physical activity most days. There is no such thing as a perfect diet, just more or less optimal diets.

This. Iíve lost 14 lbs in the last 3 months (from 130 to 116 lbs at 5 feet tall, with a goal of 110 lbs) with strict calorie counting and no other restrictions. Todayís menu, which is fairly normal for me, includes 2 corn tortillas, a half-cup of brown rice, and a glass of wine. For me, I found keto to be expensive and unsustainable. Someone elseís mileage may vary.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: albireo13 on August 29, 2018, 05:09:25 AM
Just a few thoughts ...

1. has she been making an honest effort at paying down the debt over time, or just ignoring it?
   If ignoring it .... red flag!

2. Her putting a 1 week deadline on you to make a decision is a bit manipulative and passive-aggressive, IMO.      Red flag!
  Shouldering that much debt is a life-altering decision and one you need time to wrap your head around.
  What's the rush??

3. Not being honest about the debt for 2 years is not "a mistake"   ... it's a mistake made every day for 2 years ... 730 mistakes!
  Hiding it from you is a character flaw, IMO.   Red flag!

  I would think long and hard before tying the knot.   After 5+ years of marriage, after the blush is off the rose, such debt will loom large and be the "white elephant" in the room.
Could your relationship handle that?

   Before tying the knot you should get together and figure out how you can both pay down the debt.  What's the strategy?   If you come up with something that is doable, and you both agree on, then that's a huge step forward.   Don't make any marriage plans until you do so.

Just my $0.02  ....

   
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Cranky on August 29, 2018, 05:40:04 AM
I am skeptical of the response to those who are bothered that his SO's weight (which, based on his words, seem to be related to a lack of effort and not medical/genetic issues) and tidiness are an issue for OP.

They're dating - these are legitimate things for any man or woman to consider when thinking about marriage. It's a compatibility issue. Fitness, tidiness, financial responsibility - these habits often go together. Someone who is low in these areas will probably be happier with someone else who is low in these areas and vice versa.

I suspect a lot of these people and larger-sized and untidy themselves, so of course it's outrageous to suggest those things make a person undesirable :)

I think the issue isn't whether she's really fat or not - I know quite a number of people who are really fat and happily married to people who love how they look. Being really fat may be a long term health issue, but it's no barrier to a happy marriage or a great life, in terms of your looks.

What *is* an issue is that a mere two years into the relationship, the OP is critical of how she looks and evidently believes that she should just try harder to look the way he prefers. That bodes poorly for the future, IMO.

(I am a small and tidy person, myself.)
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Pigeon on August 29, 2018, 06:37:41 AM
It doesn't sound to me like OP is really crazy in love with this woman, to the point where he'd want to spend the rest of his life with her, with all the ups and downs that inevitably entails.  If I were the woman, I'd want to know that and move on.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Cpa Cat on August 29, 2018, 06:46:37 AM
Here's what I would offer:

You do not get married right now.

She seeks out a new, higher paying job (not in public service - ditch that idea). You two try to live on only your income during that two years and ALL of her after tax income goes to her debt.

After two years, get married and have kids if you want to. Debt is probably still high but lots of progress is made. She needs to keep working when you have kids so that debt is paid off in a reasonable time frame.


If the answer is no, that the ultimatum stands: she wants to be married now and having kids now, despite the giant debt, then my advice is to walk away.  Postponing two years is not unreasonable given the size of the debt and the lack of transparency. Living off your income alone is a "we're in this together" kind of move that benefits her and moves your relationship forward. If she can't accept that, then it's not a good foundation for a marriage.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: J Boogie on August 29, 2018, 08:22:15 AM
I am skeptical of the response to those who are bothered that his SO's weight (which, based on his words, seem to be related to a lack of effort and not medical/genetic issues) and tidiness are an issue for OP.

They're dating - these are legitimate things for any man or woman to consider when thinking about marriage. It's a compatibility issue. Fitness, tidiness, financial responsibility - these habits often go together. Someone who is low in these areas will probably be happier with someone else who is low in these areas and vice versa.

I suspect a lot of these people and larger-sized and untidy themselves, so of course it's outrageous to suggest those things make a person undesirable :)

I think the issue isn't whether she's really fat or not - I know quite a number of people who are really fat and happily married to people who love how they look. Being really fat may be a long term health issue, but it's no barrier to a happy marriage or a great life, in terms of your looks.

What *is* an issue is that a mere two years into the relationship, the OP is critical of how she looks and evidently believes that she should just try harder to look the way he prefers. That bodes poorly for the future, IMO.

(I am a small and tidy person, myself.)

I agree, it is an issue that the OP is not happy with how his girlfriend looks.

However, my perspective is that tt doesn't have to be his fault for being shallow (or her fault for gaining weight), it's just an issue that can keep them from being happy together. No shame, no judgment, just be honest with yourself about what you want and don't want in a partner/relationship. Heavy people tend to stay heavy, and people who are not attracted to heavy people tend to stay unattracted to them.

Know yourself and what you need in a relationship and date accordingly. You'll have plenty of opportunities to grow as a person and become more patient as the relationship unfolds. You'll be far more likely to embrace rather than fight this growth if you've chosen someone who largely shares your priorities.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: talltexan on August 29, 2018, 08:26:39 AM
I think everyone is making too big a deal out of OP's respectful description of his girlfriend's looks: she can look good enough to excite, it's simply a matter of effort. The more time you spend in a relationship, the more men realize what women have been hiding from them, particularly with respect to the time/effort it takes to look really good.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Kathryn K. on August 29, 2018, 04:46:56 PM
It doesn't sound to me like OP is really crazy in love with this woman, to the point where he'd want to spend the rest of his life with her, with all the ups and downs that inevitably entails.  If I were the woman, I'd want to know that and move on.

Bingo.

I think everyone is making too big a deal out of OP's respectful description of his girlfriend's looks: she can look good enough to excite, it's simply a matter of effort. The more time you spend in a relationship, the more men realize what women have been hiding from them, particularly with respect to the time/effort it takes to look really good.
However, I disagree with this. If effort's the issue and she's not making the effort now consistently, there's no reason to expect that to improve in the future.  And on the second part of that statement, maybe if you like the high maintenance look? I'm glad I'm with someone who thinks I look great with no make-up in a t-shirt and jeans (*with the caveat that yes, even pretty low-key women often spend more time on grooming than men do.)
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: use2betrix on August 29, 2018, 07:13:24 PM
What bothers me the most is that her weight bothers him. Things happen beyond our control and she could develop some type of illness that causes her to be overweight. Are going to dump her then?  I would do the loan forgiveness program with the understanding she canít be a SAHM until her loans are paid off.

The odds of a person getting fat are so small that itís feally not mentionable. Of course, people mention it like 95% of the time when itís an actual contributing factor maybe 5% of the time. Heaven forbid personal accountability is mentioned.

Iím sure if she picked up smoking, people would have a different tune. We could only dream.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Cranky on August 29, 2018, 07:25:43 PM
What bothers me the most is that her weight bothers him. Things happen beyond our control and she could develop some type of illness that causes her to be overweight. Are going to dump her then?  I would do the loan forgiveness program with the understanding she canít be a SAHM until her loans are paid off.

The odds of a person getting fat are so small that itís feally not mentionable. Of course, people mention it like 95% of the time when itís an actual contributing factor maybe 5% of the time. Heaven forbid personal accountability is mentioned.

Iím sure if she picked up smoking, people would have a different tune. We could only dream.

Most adults in America are overweight. How does that support the idea that the odds of getting fat are so small that itís really unmentionable? The older you get, the more likely you are to gain weight. The odds of last sing weight and keeping it off are whatís really small.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: sol on August 29, 2018, 07:35:37 PM
What bothers me the most is that her weight bothers him. Things happen beyond our control and she could develop some type of illness that causes her to be overweight. Are going to dump her then?  I would do the loan forgiveness program with the understanding she canít be a SAHM until her loans are paid off.

The odds of a person getting fat are so small that itís feally not mentionable. Of course, people mention it like 95% of the time when itís an actual contributing factor maybe 5% of the time. Heaven forbid personal accountability is mentioned.

Iím sure if she picked up smoking, people would have a different tune. We could only dream.

Most adults in America are overweight. How does that support the idea that the odds of getting fat are so small that itís really unmentionable? The older you get, the more likely you are to gain weight. The odds of last sing weight and keeping it off are whatís really small.

I think he/she meant that the odds of gaining wait due to some type of legitimate medical condition are pretty small.  Sure, some people have thyroid problems, but for most people it's just too much food and not enough exercise.

This forum has leaned pretty hard over the past few months towards the "it's all hormones, not your food intake" argument of weight loss.  While I appreciate that point of view, it's important to note that 100% of prisoners in concentration camps got skinny as hell.  If you eat less, you WILL lose weight.  The only hard part is finding the motivation to eat less.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: carolina822 on August 29, 2018, 08:19:11 PM
It doesn't sound to me like OP is really crazy in love with this woman, to the point where he'd want to spend the rest of his life with her, with all the ups and downs that inevitably entails.  If I were the woman, I'd want to know that and move on.

Bingo.

I think everyone is making too big a deal out of OP's respectful description of his girlfriend's looks: she can look good enough to excite, it's simply a matter of effort. The more time you spend in a relationship, the more men realize what women have been hiding from them, particularly with respect to the time/effort it takes to look really good.
However, I disagree with this. If effort's the issue and she's not making the effort now consistently, there's no reason to expect that to improve in the future.  And on the second part of that statement, maybe if you like the high maintenance look? I'm glad I'm with someone who thinks I look great with no make-up in a t-shirt and jeans (*with the caveat that yes, even pretty low-key women often spend more time on grooming than men do.)

Right? Women are supposed to make the effort to look good, but deserve a facepunch if they buy mascara anywhere but the dollar store and don't cut their own hair because god knows that 50 bucks is the difference between retirement and living in a cardboard box.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: skeptic on August 29, 2018, 09:32:04 PM
red flag 1 - apparently misleading you on student loan amount for a long time
red flag 2 - she asked that you propose 6-8 months after you started talking about it, because of the 'kids' timeline
red flag 3 - she gave you an 8-day or so deadline to decide whether or not to leave her for misleading you on the student loans

This paragraph that you wrote makes me feel very wary:

"I fear she would not necessarily be accepting of a delay in marriage, but its not a bad idea, I will try discussing it. When we first started talking about marriage at the beginning of this year she had requested that I propose not to far out in the future ~6-8mo. Her concern with having turned 30 is that she wants to have kids and if we break up this does not leave much time for her to date, develop a serious relationship and get married before she wants to have kids."

I don't see what the rush is. She may be doing this genuinely and not deceptively, but it comes across to me as applying artificial pressure on you to rush you into a decision that you wouldn't necessarily make if you had appropriate time and space.  It's hard to know how long it can take to meet someone, get married, and have kids... 30 seems far too early to be rushing it... but even if she were 38, it wouldn't be a good idea to rush into marriage in a "scarcity mentality" mindset, thinking "I don't know if I want to marry this person or not but this is probably my last chance to get married and have kids so it's now or never, so let's do it fast."

If having kids is such a major life goal to her, it seems that she should have addressed the debt even a little, and have voluntarily brought it up earlier since it has a big impact on your supposed shared life. I don't fault her for having debt or not making a lot of money but by age 30, if raising children is important to her, I'd expect her to be addressing the matter in some way. Not hiding from it and hiding it. It sounds like she has no plan here except for you to clean up her messes -- apparently her literal messes also.

$211,000 is not a lot of money in the scheme of major life choices, love, and happiness. But misleading and pressuring and immaturity are very worrisome.

It sounds like you have all but made your decision already; I hope the marriage brings you more happiness than I am imagining it will.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: limeandpepper on August 29, 2018, 09:55:44 PM
This paragraph that you wrote makes me feel very wary:

"I fear she would not necessarily be accepting of a delay in marriage, but its not a bad idea, I will try discussing it. When we first started talking about marriage at the beginning of this year she had requested that I propose not to far out in the future ~6-8mo. Her concern with having turned 30 is that she wants to have kids and if we break up this does not leave much time for her to date, develop a serious relationship and get married before she wants to have kids."

Wow, I didn't put two and two together as this post from the OP was in the middle of the thread, but you're right:

When we first started talking about marriage at the beginning of this year she had requested that I propose not to far out in the future ~6-8mo.

So this means they had talked about marriage at the beginning of this year, and she requested a proposal at the time, but she did not tell him about the debt then, and only revealed it recently, more than halfway through the year.

I think the original post made it sound like perhaps the loan figure was brought out of hiding around the same time as marriage discussion (which to me is bad enough but some people seem to see it as acceptable), but it looks like she didn't divulge it even when they had already started talking about marriage, so that's an even bigger red flag.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: DoNorth on August 30, 2018, 03:01:27 AM
does she work for a 501c (3)?  how much of it is federal student debt?  After 120 payments, it could be forgivable if she is working for a 501c(3).
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: albireo13 on August 30, 2018, 03:48:11 AM
Something about this relationship/situation seems very disfunctional to me.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: FIPurpose on August 30, 2018, 05:05:53 AM
What bothers me the most is that her weight bothers him. Things happen beyond our control and she could develop some type of illness that causes her to be overweight. Are going to dump her then?  I would do the loan forgiveness program with the understanding she canít be a SAHM until her loans are paid off.

The odds of a person getting fat are so small that itís feally not mentionable. Of course, people mention it like 95% of the time when itís an actual contributing factor maybe 5% of the time. Heaven forbid personal accountability is mentioned.

Iím sure if she picked up smoking, people would have a different tune. We could only dream.

Most adults in America are overweight. How does that support the idea that the odds of getting fat are so small that itís really unmentionable? The older you get, the more likely you are to gain weight. The odds of last sing weight and keeping it off are whatís really small.

I think he/she meant that the odds of gaining wait due to some type of legitimate medical condition are pretty small.  Sure, some people have thyroid problems, but for most people it's just too much food and not enough exercise.

This forum has leaned pretty hard over the past few months towards the "it's all hormones, not your food intake" argument of weight loss.  While I appreciate that point of view, it's important to note that 100% of prisoners in concentration camps got skinny as hell.  If you eat less, you WILL lose weight.  The only hard part is finding the motivation to eat less.

I believe that it is all about hormones, but that your hormones are fixable for most people. If she is stressed, not getting enough sleep, eating too much sugar substitute, then it won't matter if she drops her calories; she's not going to lose weight.

Hormones matter, but that doesn't mean she isn't in control of that aspect.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: chasesfish on August 30, 2018, 06:19:10 AM
This is a fascinating thread to continue to read.

I've known people around 30 to give "the ultimatum" after a year or two.  Their position was "you either know or you don't and we're not getting any younger"

Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: MDfive21 on August 30, 2018, 06:55:21 AM
maybe i missed it but we don't really know OP's earning potential, only his net worth of ~600k and GF's 60k annual income.  i can't believe we made it to 216 replies and it hasn't been revealed.  is he superfrugal on 80k or is he in the 120-150k range?  more? 

i can see that if most of the nw is in a house, the loans are a big setback, but if he's sitting on 500k in cash/savings, and 100k in a house, the loans don't seem like that big a deal.  what's the cost of living vs income?  i mean, he asked HOW to best pay off the loans, not for relationship advice and we don't even know his income band. 


(don't get me wrong, i love these threads as much as i love 'neighbor's tree fell on my house' and 'property line boundary disputes')
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Cranky on August 30, 2018, 06:58:37 AM
What bothers me the most is that her weight bothers him. Things happen beyond our control and she could develop some type of illness that causes her to be overweight. Are going to dump her then?  I would do the loan forgiveness program with the understanding she canít be a SAHM until her loans are paid off.

The odds of a person getting fat are so small that itís feally not mentionable. Of course, people mention it like 95% of the time when itís an actual contributing factor maybe 5% of the time. Heaven forbid personal accountability is mentioned.

Iím sure if she picked up smoking, people would have a different tune. We could only dream.

Most adults in America are overweight. How does that support the idea that the odds of getting fat are so small that itís really unmentionable? The older you get, the more likely you are to gain weight. The odds of last sing weight and keeping it off are whatís really small.

I think he/she meant that the odds of gaining wait due to some type of legitimate medical condition are pretty small.  Sure, some people have thyroid problems, but for most people it's just too much food and not enough exercise.

This forum has leaned pretty hard over the past few months towards the "it's all hormones, not your food intake" argument of weight loss.  While I appreciate that point of view, it's important to note that 100% of prisoners in concentration camps got skinny as hell.  If you eat less, you WILL lose weight.  The only hard part is finding the motivation to eat less.

Sure. And realistically, over the long haul, not many people do that. Which is why, if you are dissatisfied with your partner's appearance this early in a relationship, that's a pretty serious issue. Weight is a lot more personal that student loans, IMO.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Retire-Canada on August 30, 2018, 07:39:39 AM
I believe that it is all about hormones, but that your hormones are fixable for most people. If she is stressed, not getting enough sleep, eating too much sugar substitute, then it won't matter if she drops her calories; she's not going to lose weight.

Hormones matter, but that doesn't mean she isn't in control of that aspect.

There is no simple solution to maintaining a healthy weight that we can sum it up in a few sentences. Thin people saying it's easy just do X, Y, Z...is like rich people who think being wealthy is all about hard work and ignore the other myriad of other factors that account for wealth distribution in society.

It's possible the OP's GF cannot realistically maintain the weight he would find desirable. Especially as she gets older, kids happen, etc... So if that's an issue now he better make a realistic assessment of how big a deal it is. I would assume where she is at now is the best case scenario so if that's not going to work don't keep going with the idea she'll be lighter/skinnier in the future.

The OP and his GF can and should eat a balanced/healthy diet and do some exercise because it will be good for them regardless of their weight.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: FIPurpose on August 30, 2018, 07:54:01 AM
I believe that it is all about hormones, but that your hormones are fixable for most people. If she is stressed, not getting enough sleep, eating too much sugar substitute, then it won't matter if she drops her calories; she's not going to lose weight.

Hormones matter, but that doesn't mean she isn't in control of that aspect.

There is no simple solution to maintaining a healthy weight that we can sum it up in a few sentences. Thin people saying it's easy just do X, Y, Z...is like rich people who think being wealthy is all about hard work and ignore the other myriad of other factors that account for wealth distribution in society.

It's possible the OP's GF cannot realistically maintain the weight he would find desirable. Especially as she gets older, kids happen, etc... So if that's an issue now he better make a realistic assessment of how big a deal it is. I would assume where she is at now is the best case scenario so if that's not going to work don't keep going with the idea she'll be lighter/skinnier in the future.

The OP and his GF can and should eat a balanced/healthy diet and do some exercise because it will be good for them regardless of their weight.

I agree with this. My point was more toward that "hormones" is a large encompassing term that can mean a myriad of things happening in the body. But I do know that body weight is controlled by far more than what you eat and how much you exercise. She could have extra pounds from any number of external or internal factors. Most of those factors are within our realm of influence, some are not. I do not accept people saying that all weight is from "hormones" and therefor is completely uncontrollable.

She's 30, not 60. I understand that most dieting advice is horrible so it's an uphill battle in trying to figure out how to fix it, but it is completely fixable. It could be that the stress related to her debt is what is causing her excess weight. Maybe if the debt is removed from her plate, she'll start to lose weight. The two are interconnected. She is very stressed and understandably so.

I still laugh when people call me skinny because I was overweight from the ages of 8 probably until 22-23 and wouldn't consider myself skinny until 26-27. It takes years, and the OP shouldn't expect her to magically lose weight in 6 months unless he expects it to all come back later.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Retire-Canada on August 30, 2018, 08:14:17 AM
, but it is completely fixable.

You have no way to know that in the OP's GF's case. And this presents the idea to the OP that he can realistically expect things to be different/better. Nobody can know that from the information we have. What you do know is she is 30 and has weight issues and that she wants to have kids and that she has a mountain of debt to tackle through a lot of sedentary work. None of those data points indicate she is likely to ever be lighter than she is now.

Anything is possible, but that's not something you should expect or count on.

If her weight is an issue now he better be okay with it long term and also be okay with it being higher due to the natural impacts of ageing, child birth and desk work.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: FIPurpose on August 30, 2018, 08:38:58 AM
, but it is completely fixable.

You have no way to know that in the OP's GF's case. And this presents the idea to the OP that he can realistically expect things to be different/better. Nobody can know that from the information we have. What you do know is she is 30 and has weight issues and that she wants to have kids and that she has a mountain of debt to tackle through a lot of sedentary work. None of those data points indicate she is likely to ever be lighter than she is now.

Anything is possible, but that's not something you should expect or count on.

If her weight is an issue now he better be okay with it long term and also be okay with it being higher due to the natural impacts of ageing, child birth and desk work.

Unless she has some super rare disease, then no I'm highly sure it's fixable. My posts should not be encouraging to the OP, as I said that I do not believe she will be able to lose weight and tackle the debt at the same time. She is likely aware but can't put any mental energy to solving that problem.

Weight is difficult for a lot of people and I can't help but think you're projecting a bit. I'm agreeing with you. Quote that. I'm agreeing with you: Her current stressors of debt, job, and life choices will prevent her from losing weight. OP should not expect a 6 month fix. This is a 3-5 year solution after fixing those stressors.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: ixtap on August 30, 2018, 08:51:32 AM
, but it is completely fixable.

You have no way to know that in the OP's GF's case. And this presents the idea to the OP that he can realistically expect things to be different/better. Nobody can know that from the information we have. What you do know is she is 30 and has weight issues and that she wants to have kids and that she has a mountain of debt to tackle through a lot of sedentary work. None of those data points indicate she is likely to ever be lighter than she is now.

Anything is possible, but that's not something you should expect or count on.

If her weight is an issue now he better be okay with it long term and also be okay with it being higher due to the natural impacts of ageing, child birth and desk work.

Unless she has some super rare disease, then no I'm highly sure it's fixable. My posts should not be encouraging to the OP, as I said that I do not believe she will be able to lose weight and tackle the debt at the same time. She is likely aware but can't put any mental energy to solving that problem.

Weight is difficult for a lot of people and I can't help but think you're projecting a bit. I'm agreeing with you. Quote that. I'm agreeing with you: Her current stressors of debt, job, and life choices will prevent her from losing weight. OP should not expect a 6 month fix. This is a 3-5 year solution after fixing those stressors.

I actually found tracking spending and tracking calories to be mutually reinforcing activities.

However, no one is going to successfully lose weight in the long term because someone else told them too. A loved one banging on about it is likely to trigger more problems with food.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Gyosho on August 30, 2018, 02:21:38 PM
... but if he's sitting on 500k in cash/savings, and 100k in a house, the loans don't seem like that big a deal. 

LOL!

$211,000 is ALWAYS a big deal.

Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Retire-Canada on August 30, 2018, 02:26:49 PM
$211,000 is ALWAYS a big deal.

Always!
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: feelingroovy on August 30, 2018, 08:36:48 PM
Just wanted to offer a resource for the OP's original question about how to figure out a strategy for the student loans.

ChooseFI podcast had an interview with someone who specializes in helping people figure out their best options for student loans--paying off quickly or various forgiveness options.

https://www.choosefi.com/078-student-loan-debt-repayment-travis-hornsby/
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: fredbear on August 31, 2018, 03:05:13 AM
Well, pard, you better plan to take sole responsibility for birth control, starting right now, and continuing through the debt epic, however long you decide to participate in it. 
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: chasesfish on August 31, 2018, 05:11:31 AM
Random thought - If the original poster decides to break it off, is his new pool of potential spouses to date going to come from the marathon running community?  Thats probably one way to avoid the weight issue...
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: talltexan on August 31, 2018, 08:41:27 AM
$211,000 is ALWAYS a big deal.

Always!

No. Finding a spouse who shares your values and who is ethical and reliable is worth more than this. Building a relationship with trust and communicating properly and clearly is worth more than this.

I imagine there are several people who got divorced from partners who lacked many of these characteristics and who caused drama. I suspect those people would have gladly paid $211,000 to have these improper partners cloven from them (and perhaps they did)
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Retire-Canada on August 31, 2018, 08:47:01 AM
No. Finding a spouse who shares your values and who is ethical and reliable is worth more than this. Building a relationship with trust and communicating properly and clearly is worth more than this.

I imagine there are several people who got divorced from partners who lacked many of these characteristics and who caused drama. I suspect those people would have gladly paid $211,000 to have these improper partners cloven from them (and perhaps they did)

It's not like you have to choose. Lots of amazing people out there without the baggage of poor life choices. Additionally the fact $211K of debt is a big deal doesn't mean it has to be a deal breaker. The fact it's a big deal means it needs to be carefully considered amongst the other important criteria when choosing a life partner.

The $211K is not just debt to pay back. It's a signal about the person's ability to make good choices and act responsibly when things get tough. Throwing $211K at the debt doesn't fix the problem it just addresses the symptom.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: MDfive21 on August 31, 2018, 08:48:40 AM
... but if he's sitting on 500k in cash/savings, and 100k in a house, the loans don't seem like that big a deal. 

LOL!

$211,000 is ALWAYS a big deal.

i see your point, but if GF is the right one in every other way, then what's 200k between spouses??  say he passes her up and marries someone else who has 2 kids, quits her job and divorces him, taking 50+% of income til the kids are out of college?  but if only he'd married current GF he's only out 200k.. 

half the posters in this thread are saying fuckit if she's the one, take on the baggage.  half saying run.  these threads are hilarious.   


anyway the point of my comment is that we don't know his income!  if he has a big shovel, together they can dig out her debt pretty quick and he can move on with life together with a person he's Seriously Considering marrying.  if he has a small shovel but is trimming expenses to get to ~$600k NW, then the debt looks like the kind of thing that will sink the marital finances.  in other words, if he's a high earner, the marriage looks more doable, but if he's pinching pennies already, he should probably try to find a more compatible financial partner.


Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: MDfive21 on August 31, 2018, 09:01:05 AM
No. Finding a spouse who shares your values and who is ethical and reliable is worth more than this. Building a relationship with trust and communicating properly and clearly is worth more than this.

I imagine there are several people who got divorced from partners who lacked many of these characteristics and who caused drama. I suspect those people would have gladly paid $211,000 to have these improper partners cloven from them (and perhaps they did)

It's not like you have to choose. Lots of amazing people out there without the baggage of poor life choices. Additionally the fact $211K f debt is a big deal doesn't mean it has to be a deal breaker. The fact it's a big deal means it needs to be carefully considered amongst the other important criteria when choosing a life partner.

The $211K is not just debt to pay back. It's a signal about the person's ability to make good choices and act responsibly when things get tough. Throwing $211K at the debt doesn't fix the problem it just addresses the symptom.

i agree it was a bad choice, knowing what we know now.  but the weight of the society is behind going into debt for college and not that many people are prepared to make an informed choice when they get that acceptance letter.  i was lucky to get out of culinary school and 'some college' with 30kish to pay back, but it wasn't until i was in my early 30s that i landed a job that allowed me to make a dent past the min payments on it.   i luckily got into a relatively high paying job through a friend.  it turns out that a 20k culinary degree only gets you a $10/hr job (back in the late 90s anyway).   and look at me now, debt free and working on the stash.  there's hope for everyone because i was a financial dumbass for a long time.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Samuel on August 31, 2018, 09:12:49 AM
Here's what I would offer:

You do not get married right now.

She seeks out a new, higher paying job (not in public service - ditch that idea). You two try to live on only your income during that two years and ALL of her after tax income goes to her debt.

After two years, get married and have kids if you want to. Debt is probably still high but lots of progress is made. She needs to keep working when you have kids so that debt is paid off in a reasonable time frame.


If the answer is no, that the ultimatum stands: she wants to be married now and having kids now, despite the giant debt, then my advice is to walk away.  Postponing two years is not unreasonable given the size of the debt and the lack of transparency. Living off your income alone is a "we're in this together" kind of move that benefits her and moves your relationship forward. If she can't accept that, then it's not a good foundation for a marriage.

This is pretty much the only reasonable plan besides breaking up. I'm sympathetic to her racking up "good" debt for school, lord knows we can't all be financial rock stars in our teens and early twenties. I'm much less sympathetic to her head in the sand/ticking time bomb tactics for finding a mate, but good people can do weird things under duress, and being in that situation would mess with my head quite a bit, I'm sure.

It all comes down to whether or not she's willing and able to face this head on and make the sacrifices necessary to get out the other side. There is tantalizing evidence that she could be now that she's been exposed to new ideas, but it's still something of a longshot bet. I'd need evidence we're truly on the same page about this before marriage or kids.



Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Retire-Canada on August 31, 2018, 09:22:47 AM
i agree it was a bad choice, knowing what we know now.  but the weight of the society is behind going into debt for college and not that many people are prepared to make an informed choice when they get that acceptance letter.

I can agree with what you are saying to a degree, but here is the thing we are talking about:

1. going into a ton of debt for a poor paying career
2. not being responsible mature enough to do anything about the debt as the person rolls past 30 essentially waiting for someone else to solve her problem
3. not being upfront about the debt despite serious discussion of marriage happening because she didn't want the OP to think negatively about her and dump her

Each one is an issue of significant magnitude. Taken together I'd say they are a huge problem and not one I would casually dismiss like some folks are suggesting.

The OP can walk away and find someone without this baggage who is financially responsible, honest and able to deal with their issues head on. The OP can also stick with his GF and work through these problems. It's up to him. But he if he proceeds with the later he needs to go in with his eyes wide open and not make a big life choice like marriage until they have made enough progress for him to feel confident he's not just signing onto a decade or two of heartache.

Given the GF's desire for kids ASAP I'm not sure how you navigate this minefield since any meaningful sense of resolution will take years. Both to make progress on $211K of debt and to see if the GF's words and actions actually line up. In a crisis people will say anything to get through it. Whether or not they'll actually make meaningful change is another thing that won't be apparent for a few years.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Padonak on August 31, 2018, 11:11:58 AM
Keep in mind that the average cost of raising a child the US is 200k+, so basically if OP marries his gf he is on the hook for a sweet half a million dollars, probably more than that.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: FIRE47 on August 31, 2018, 11:45:29 AM
Keep in mind that the average cost of raising a child the US is 200k+, so basically if OP marries his gf he is on the hook for a sweet half a million dollars, probably more than that.

If you want to look at it that way sure but if he doesn't want a kid in the first place then that is a deal breaker on it's own. Otherwise not sure why the cost of having a kid is the woman's issue.

Title: Protect yourself going forward
Post by: Tanstaafllite on August 31, 2018, 04:04:33 PM
I have not read all of this lengthy thread so my response may be duplicative of a previous response.

In the event that OP decides to use his assets or income to pay GF's student loan debt (or support her while she uses her income to pay the student loan debt), OP should consider protecting himself by entering into a prenuptial agreement under which GF agrees to reimburse him in the event of divorce.  The prenup could include a provision under which GF's repayment obligation would be reduced or eliminated if they marry and stay married for an agreed period of time.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: talltexan on September 04, 2018, 07:55:59 AM
Keep in mind that the average cost of raising a child the US is 200k+, so basically if OP marries his gf he is on the hook for a sweet half a million dollars, probably more than that.

So if they have one child together, they've essentially broken even? :-)
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: onlykelsey on September 04, 2018, 08:03:18 AM
Keep in mind that the average cost of raising a child the US is 200k+, so basically if OP marries his gf he is on the hook for a sweet half a million dollars, probably more than that.

If you want to look at it that way sure but if he doesn't want a kid in the first place then that is a deal breaker on it's own. Otherwise not sure why the cost of having a kid is the woman's issue.

Yeah, that sounds like sunk cost fallacy.  Kid will cost roughly the same no matter who you have it with..
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: MrSal on September 04, 2018, 10:19:04 AM
, but it is completely fixable.

You have no way to know that in the OP's GF's case. And this presents the idea to the OP that he can realistically expect things to be different/better. Nobody can know that from the information we have. What you do know is she is 30 and has weight issues and that she wants to have kids and that she has a mountain of debt to tackle through a lot of sedentary work. None of those data points indicate she is likely to ever be lighter than she is now.

Anything is possible, but that's not something you should expect or count on.

If her weight is an issue now he better be okay with it long term and also be okay with it being higher due to the natural impacts of ageing, child birth and desk work.

Unless she has some super rare disease, then no I'm highly sure it's fixable. My posts should not be encouraging to the OP, as I said that I do not believe she will be able to lose weight and tackle the debt at the same time. She is likely aware but can't put any mental energy to solving that problem.

Weight is difficult for a lot of people and I can't help but think you're projecting a bit. I'm agreeing with you. Quote that. I'm agreeing with you: Her current stressors of debt, job, and life choices will prevent her from losing weight. OP should not expect a 6 month fix. This is a 3-5 year solution after fixing those stressors.

I actually found tracking spending and tracking calories to be mutually reinforcing activities.

However, no one is going to successfully lose weight in the long term because someone else told them too. A loved one banging on about it is likely to trigger more problems with food.


This. However let me add, again that if someone wants it it's very feasible in a few months. This march, I hit my heaviest weight ever. I wasn't fat per se, at least in american standards, but I considered myself fat. It was only after I went to the doctor and actually saw the numbers on the scale and seeing pictures of myself - damn you mirror you make me look good even when Im fat - that I saw how overweight I was.

I am 6 ft tall and my weight was 209 lbs at the time. My frame is bulky and I ws never the skinny type... However, just the fact I stopped eating sugary stuff and consuming "empty" calories and I am now siting at 174 lbs in less than 6 months.

I don't count calories. I know calories by heart pretty much - during my teen years I used to count calories, so I have a notion of what's coming in. Sure there are days I binge a little more than I wanted on something I hadn't eaten in a long time, but then I try to compensate the following days.

It takes about 3 weeks to dose off of the sugar train ... those 3 weeks are a pain because you feel you want something sugary all the time. After that, it's fine.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Laura33 on September 04, 2018, 12:15:50 PM
OK, I have now read this whole thing.  A couple of things struck me:

The three listed annoyances -- money, weight, cleanliness -- seem to share the common theme of a lack of discipline.  That in and of itself could be good, bad, or neutral; that combination of personality traits can mean "life of the party" or "fat slob" or "clinically depressed" or anything in-between.  The real question is how does that mesh with OP's personality and desires?  OP seems very ordered and disciplined; finances under control, high level of cleanliness, etc.  So is the GF appealing because OP feels a little too would up and likes her softer edge because it balances him out a bit?  Or does he love her despite that and will only be happy if she can shape up a bit?  From what has been said so far, it sounds like the latter -- in which case that is the issue to focus on.  He needs to figure out whether she is actually interested in and able to modify her behavior to meet his minimum expectations, or whether he can modify those expectations and accept her for who she is right now.

And towards that end, where do these traits come from?  E.g., maybe she never had a good role model, and her parents told her that a college education was the ticket out, no matter the cost, and OP is the first person she has been close to who could show her what good money habits involve -- in that case, is she willing to learn, and is she interested in making a serious, lifelong change?  Or does she not care that much -- or does she not have the ability to sustain the effort -- maybe she jumps in with both feet but then backslides when it gets hard?  Does she try to eat reasonably well and get some exercise, or is she sitting on the sofa eating bon-bons?  Or did she used to be more disciplined/better at managing all those things, but then over time got overwhelmed with the money and the efforts to maintain her weight and just spiraled and shut down?  Has she been screened for depression/anxiety?  Etc. etc. etc.  Some of these options would make her and OP a good fit, and some of them will just result in more and more frustration as the years go on.

IOW, to me it is all about context:  not just what she does, but why -- and how that meshes with what OP expects from a partner.  We have all done completely dumb-ass things in our lives -- sometimes even at ages by which we damn well should have known better.  OTOH, many of us have also tried to change and not been able to keep it up, or felt like we needed to pretend to be someone we're not to make someone else happy.  Both OP and the GF can be completely reasonable people with completely reasonable approaches to life and still not be the right fit for each other.  And on the flip side, the GF could have been a a completely immature, irresponsible looney-tunes during her 20s and still be a good partner for OP now.  We can't possibly know which one it is with the little information we have.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: middo on September 04, 2018, 05:16:58 PM
Something that occurred to me after reading Laura33's post above, is that do not neglect peoples ability and likelihood to change over time. 

When we first me, my wife was more frugal than me, she had no interest in politics, and was tidier than I was.  These have all changed over the last 30 years we have been dating / living together and marriage (for almost 25 years now).  For instance, we both joined a political party in our 20's as my interest in politics ramped up.  I was elected to positions within the party, including serving on state councils and executives, as a young and upcoming backroom politician.  However, the party we joined managed to implode, an we dropped out for a while.  More recently, in our early 40's my wife got herself elected to local government, and spent two years getting roads fixed, local laws changed, pavements installed and other things that made our town more liveable.  I cheered her on, even though I was more likely to be doing it 20 years earlier.

When we first moved in together, I thought she was a bit of a neat nut.  I was happy to leave dirty dishes until "later" and I tended to clutter the house with discarded clothing, items not returned to their correct location, and generally just leaving my crap lying around.  Now I am the neat nut, and put things away endlessly.  I also have to try hard to not nag about it, as she seems to leave her clothes everywhere etc. 

The reality of a marriage is that if it is for life, you will change, as will she.  if you love each other you should be able to coexist happily if sharing and forgiveness are part of your (and her) make-up.  Otherwise, small things may cause constant friction that causes fights and flare-ups.  Look inside yourself and see if you can share and forgive, and think about her personality too.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: MrMoneySaver on September 04, 2018, 08:07:41 PM
OP, you're 30. You have a ton of money. There's absolutely no reason for you to make any concessions in the dating/marriage market. Which it sounds like you would be doing here in multiple areas -- finances and trust being two big ones.

For you, it only gets better from here on out in the romance market -- limitless options. I would not be in a rush to get married. Not to anyone, and particularly not to her.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: talltexan on September 05, 2018, 08:35:05 AM
The very act of getting into a committed relationship is already making concessions. The concessions buy you the benefits of being in a relationship/family situation that enables joint, long-term planning and children. Continuing to search means delaying these things, and the OP may have preferences about whether that's costly or not.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: patchyfacialhair on September 05, 2018, 09:22:14 AM
I wonder if OP is going to return for another update.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: MrMoneySaver on September 05, 2018, 09:24:30 AM
The very act of getting into a committed relationship is already making concessions. The concessions buy you the benefits of being in a relationship/family situation that enables joint, long-term planning and children. Continuing to search means delaying these things, and the OP may have preferences about whether that's costly or not.

Fair enough. It doesn't sound like the OP is getting a very good deal here. IMHO
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Retire-Canada on September 05, 2018, 09:29:34 AM
Fair enough. It doesn't sound like the OP is getting a very good deal here. IMHO

There is probably a FIRE savvy lady out there in his town with a $600K NW and no debt wondering where all the good financially responsible guys are.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: partgypsy on September 05, 2018, 12:05:11 PM
She might have a good personality?
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: MrMoneySaver on September 05, 2018, 12:54:58 PM
She might have a good personality?

Let's hope.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: Adram on September 05, 2018, 11:16:59 PM
Not being American, Iím wondering what happens with student loans where the wife becomes a stay at home mother and never works again, and all the assets and income are in the husbandís name... do the loans just never get paid?

In Australia we have a government loan system where you only make payments if you earn over $54,000 or so. Plenty of lower earners never pay them off.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: MDfive21 on September 06, 2018, 06:43:16 AM
Not being American, Iím wondering what happens with student loans where the wife becomes a stay at home mother and never works again, and all the assets and income are in the husbandís name... do the loans just never get paid?

In Australia we have a government loan system where you only make payments if you earn over $54,000 or so. Plenty of lower earners never pay them off.

it doesn't matter if she quits working, the loans will continue to be due and interest will accrue if they're not paid.  30 days after her first payment is late, her credit report will be dinged each month with late payment entries that take 7 years to fall off the report.  at the 200k balance level, the 6.5% interest will accrue at a ridiculous rate and soon the balance will be so large she'll never be able to pay them off without using one of the special repayment options.  there are optional programs to pay an amount commensurate with income, and there are programs that will forgive the loans after 10 years of public service.  google 'repaye' and 'pslf'.  student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy so they will follow her til death.  if i understand it correctly, the gov can take her tax refund payment each year if there is one, and they will garnish her social security payments in old age.

there is no escape.
Title: Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
Post by: talltexan on September 06, 2018, 11:56:36 AM
For non-americans, please note that student loans cannot be discharged via bankruptcy. But, there are federal programs that can lead to them being forgiven.