Author Topic: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans  (Read 26125 times)

brooklynmoney

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #100 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. That’s not someone who I would want to place my life and happiness in their hands.

Bee21

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #101 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.

lbmustache

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #102 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. That’s 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.

MrUpwardlyMobile

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #103 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 don’t 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 that’s 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 you’re 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, you’re not in love and you won’t make it. 

MrUpwardlyMobile

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #104 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.

That’s because it’s a hideous dumpy nothing clown car.

limeandpepper

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #105 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.

lhamo

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #106 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.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #107 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. It’s 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, you’d be an absolute idiot to not wear that jacket.

chasingthegoodlife

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #108 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.

Cranky

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #109 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?

MrUpwardlyMobile

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #110 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 you’re jumping the gun in this limited case. There is insufficient data to make such conclusions.  They’re possible conclusions but insufficient to be so clear cut.

OtherJen

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #111 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 fiancée. 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 “hard” and “not fun”. I’d asked him not to do so because we were sharing an apartment and I couldn’t swing all expenses by myself, which he knew. He left the news as a voicemail on my phone so he wouldn’t have to tell me directly. I called off the wedding and we split up.

I’ve now been happily married to my husband (different man) for 15 years. I don’t remember any panic about that wedding.

OtherJen

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #112 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 you’re 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 don’t sound compatible.

Sorinth

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #113 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.

lil_miss_frugal

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #114 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.

undercover

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #115 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...

Jrr85

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #116 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.   

frugaliknowit

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #117 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

fuzzy math

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #118 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.



« Last Edit: August 24, 2018, 08:40:10 AM by fuzzy math »

EconDiva

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #119 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.

magnet18

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #120 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 you’re 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 don’t 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?

former player

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #121 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.

honeybbq

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #122 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?

MilesTeg

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #123 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.

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #124 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.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2018, 10:02:58 AM by Gondolin »

OtherJen

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #125 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 you’re 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 don’t 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.

simonsez

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #126 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.

FINate

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #127 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.

JGS1980

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #128 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

robartsd

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #129 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.

MilesTeg

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #130 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.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2018, 11:16:10 AM by MilesTeg »

haflander

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #131 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.

iris lily

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #132 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.

FINate

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #133 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.

dcheesi

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #134 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.

Cranky

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #135 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.

Candace

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #136 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.

talltexan

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #137 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?

talltexan

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #138 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.

FINate

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #139 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.

MilesTeg

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #140 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.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2018, 12:33:19 PM by MilesTeg »

Gyosho

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #141 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.

FINate

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #142 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.

Sorinth

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #143 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.

driftwood

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #144 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.

stashja

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #145 on: August 24, 2018, 01:52:38 PM »
Someone said: “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?“

I am not ugly and wear no wedding ring, but that’s because if I married my life partner, we’d get hit by the “marriage penalty” 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 I’d probably lose the ring. I wish guys checking out my hands wouldn’t assume I am single. I get rude when they hit on me.

dcheesi

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #146 on: August 24, 2018, 02:18:49 PM »
Someone said: “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?“

I am not ugly and wear no wedding ring, but that’s because if I married my life partner, we’d get hit by the “marriage penalty” 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 I’d probably lose the ring. I wish guys checking out my hands wouldn’t 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.

mm1970

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #147 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!"

ardrum

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #148 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. 

rdaneel0

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Re: Discovered dear GF has $211,000 in student loans
« Reply #149 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.