Author Topic: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans  (Read 26717 times)

ak907

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Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« 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/
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.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2018, 01:14:16 PM by ak907 »

nkt0

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #1 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.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #2 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.

MilesTeg

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #3 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/
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.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #4 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.

Capt j-rod

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #5 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

Noodle

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #6 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.

Jon Bon

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #7 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.

magnet18

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #8 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.

MilesTeg

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #9 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?

kitty_boos

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #10 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.  :)

Jon Bon

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #11 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.

Jrr85

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #12 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/
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.


mozar

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #13 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.

magnet18

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #14 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

bognish

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #15 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.

ixtap

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #16 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.

MilesTeg

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #17 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/
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.

Askel

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #18 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. 


Ecky

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #19 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.

v8rx7guy

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #20 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.

Askel

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #21 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.

magnet18

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #22 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"

cats

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #23 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.

FIRE47

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #24 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.


magnet18

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #25 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


charis

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #26 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.

MilesTeg

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #27 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.

DreamFIRE

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #28 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.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2018, 03:20:38 PM by DreamFIRE »

Slee_stack

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #29 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?

SillyPutty

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #30 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.

MilesTeg

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #31 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).

MilesTeg

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #32 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!

Retire-Canada

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #33 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.

MilesTeg

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #34 on: August 23, 2018, 12:45:58 PM »
I dub this concept of dumping people because they have debt "inverse gold digging".

magnet18

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #35 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"

Zikoris

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #36 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!"

Lulee

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #37 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.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #38 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.

SillyPutty

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #39 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)

driftwood

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #40 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).


« Last Edit: August 23, 2018, 01:07:53 PM by driftwood »

Yankuba

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #41 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.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2018, 01:02:51 PM by Yankuba »

magnet18

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #42 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

PoutineLover

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #43 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.

FINate

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #44 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.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2018, 01:07:51 PM by FINate »

TheExplorer

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #45 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...

magnet18

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #46 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?

MilesTeg

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #47 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.

Jouer

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #48 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

ak907

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #49 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.