Author Topic: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?  (Read 8783 times)

Malkynn

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #50 on: May 26, 2019, 02:08:53 PM »
Quote

Hell, I'd be less concerned if she said "I used to be shit with money and I didn't really look closely into loan forgiveness, but I'm really working on it now, you seem good with money, can you help me learn?"



How do we know that this is not something she has said? more or less?

OP only signed up here for this posting - and has not provided any additional details at all - despite wild speculation in all forms.

Perhaps he was merely looking for validation to break up - and if so - he has got it.

OP, please break up with GF - you can both find more suitable partners, and you should give yourselves maximum opportunities to do so.

Having reread the OP - I am convinced this is the best action.

OP indicated she was resistant to talking about it.

Rosy

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #51 on: May 26, 2019, 03:47:00 PM »
Good points Malkynn - it's just that I don't see huge red flags in communication and taking responsibility - yet.
Opening up and fessing up about your entire financial picture is scary enough when you are doing well - when you know you screwed up - it is ten times worse especially when you are beginning to realize you've met someone who is financially responsible, savvy beyond what you can muster and you are realizing you may lose someone you care about, because of your financial situation.

Agreed - the sooner he decides whether he is done with this relationship or is ready to support her in fixing her finances the better.
Same goes for her, if it appears this will remain a bone of contention for eternity - this is not the right guy for you - because he'll never get over it and who in their right mind wants to put up with that while trying to dig out from under.

mistymoney - indeed, we don't know what else or how much more was said. It is entirely possible OP came here strictly looking for validation nothing more because he's decided in his heart of hearts that this is a deal breaker for him.

Wishing both of them good luck going forward - many of us have been there and did just fine or downright awesome despite a once dire $ situation.
I'm glad I haven't been hurt by guys? or girls? like those who posted to flat out drop the relationship. I would have been devastated.
To the contrary, I've had some fine offers during bad financial times but it isn't about the money - ever. In the end, it is about finding a good life partner.

Cassie

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #52 on: May 27, 2019, 12:33:51 PM »
I met my husband at 44 and he was 39. His finances were a mess due to a divorce and some bad decisions.  Due to a job loss he wasn’t opening his mail and putting his head in the sand.  He took 2 crappy minimum wage jobs despite being a engineer, went on a antidepressant and went to consumer credit counseling for help. They negotiated CC rates down and he slowly dug out. I made it clear I wouldn’t think about marriage until resolved. After 2 years he found a high paying job in his field. 20 years later we are very happy.  To me compatiblity is more important than money so long as the person changes their ways.

Bartleby_the_Scrivener

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #53 on: May 27, 2019, 07:59:58 PM »
A few takeaways from your post:

You are using *we* and thinking future, which is a good sign
 Have you personally considered marrying this woman and taking savings you have built up to eliminate this debt that is giving you anxiety? Is she as bothered by the debt as you are?

She *thought* she was in a program that would forgive her loans? How can that oversight happen? Did they lie to her or did she not read through the offer letter thoroughly?

Oh well, it only takes a little bit of Google-fu to figure THAT one out.  The vast majority of people who have applied for loan forgiveness have been denied.  The rules are confusing and the banks...not exactly truthful.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/zackfriedman/2019/01/03/student-loan-forgiveness-data/#45353cce68d0

Yeah, Michael Lewis did a whole podcast on that a few months back. https://app.stitcher.com/splayer/f/382761/59929889 The rules are intentionally vague, and the company that services the loans has a vested interest in people not having them forgiven.

mistymoney

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #54 on: May 28, 2019, 09:57:53 AM »
A few takeaways from your post:

You are using *we* and thinking future, which is a good sign
 Have you personally considered marrying this woman and taking savings you have built up to eliminate this debt that is giving you anxiety? Is she as bothered by the debt as you are?

She *thought* she was in a program that would forgive her loans? How can that oversight happen? Did they lie to her or did she not read through the offer letter thoroughly?

Oh well, it only takes a little bit of Google-fu to figure THAT one out.  The vast majority of people who have applied for loan forgiveness have been denied.  The rules are confusing and the banks...not exactly truthful.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/zackfriedman/2019/01/03/student-loan-forgiveness-data/#45353cce68d0

Yeah, Michael Lewis did a whole podcast on that a few months back. https://app.stitcher.com/splayer/f/382761/59929889 The rules are intentionally vague, and the company that services the loans has a vested interest in people not having them forgiven.

ugh! the entire student loan business is just rotten.

And it is the average-type families and just-starting-out young adults who pay a heavy toll on it.

Goldielocks

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #55 on: May 28, 2019, 10:33:19 AM »
$80K???  That's a big chunk of your stache.  Turn tail and run.

Not required!   Just think of her as earning $35k in a non-profit job.     Would you still want to live with someone who only earns $35k?   I would hope that a smaller income would not put you off a partner, if they are not in CC debt or mis managing it all in general.   Sounds like she had a plan for the student loan, but screwed up on the verification and it bit her hard 4 months ago.  Anyone would be stressed to discover  they lost that.             l"

Steps:  (Help her to...)
1)  Set up automatic SL payments
2) Set up automatic retirement Savings
3) Set up automatic emergency savings (or pay off CC, etc)

Live on the rest.

With automatic payments, she can certainly continue to NOT think about money or her debt.

Spud

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #56 on: May 28, 2019, 12:06:32 PM »
Yea
With automatic payments, she can certainly continue to NOT think about money or her debt.

Yeah but the big question is, will she be prepared to sacrifice what has clearly been treated as disposable income up until now, in order to fund the automatic payments that you talk about?

Your theory is great, but in practice, it's not just maths. We're dealing with someone's entire mental model of the world here. That mental model would likely have to undergo an enormous shift in order to do what you're suggesting.

This is someone who, at age 40, relative to all the money they've earned over their enter life, has managed to keep hold of a negligible proportion of it. Knowing that, do you think it's going to be easy for her to suddenly shift into using, say, 50% of her take-home pay to fund the 3 types of automatic payment you list in your post?

GetItRight

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #57 on: May 29, 2019, 12:17:39 PM »
She's not a huge spender but she's made some big mistakes with money. Most notably, she works in non-profit and thought she was in a program that would forgive her loan after 10 years. As she approached the 10 year mark, she discovered she was not repaying under the right program, so her loan will not be forgiven any time soon. She was devastated when she found out and it's been a huge source of anxiety for her.

Depending on how you structure your finances, nothing really changes. Proceed with the relationship, if you move in together she'll be able to pay off the debt faster. Do not get married or become financially liable for her, do not pay her debts. No reason you can't have a happy life together if you are both otherwise happy together. Keep finances separate and help her with a plan and timeline for repayment.

The quoted section above is a big red flag though. This woman thinks it's okay to steal nearly $100k from someone. That's reprehensible and would be the end of it for me. I despise thieves. It doesn't matter if it's $1 or $1 million, theft is wrong. I will not be friends, much less spend the rest of my life, with someone who does not respect property rights.

tweezers

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #58 on: May 29, 2019, 02:05:25 PM »
She's not a huge spender but she's made some big mistakes with money. Most notably, she works in non-profit and thought she was in a program that would forgive her loan after 10 years. As she approached the 10 year mark, she discovered she was not repaying under the right program, so her loan will not be forgiven any time soon. She was devastated when she found out and it's been a huge source of anxiety for her.

Depending on how you structure your finances, nothing really changes. Proceed with the relationship, if you move in together she'll be able to pay off the debt faster. Do not get married or become financially liable for her, do not pay her debts. No reason you can't have a happy life together if you are both otherwise happy together. Keep finances separate and help her with a plan and timeline for repayment.

The quoted section above is a big red flag though. This woman thinks it's okay to steal nearly $100k from someone. That's reprehensible and would be the end of it for me. I despise thieves. It doesn't matter if it's $1 or $1 million, theft is wrong. I will not be friends, much less spend the rest of my life, with someone who does not respect property rights.

Is this intended as sarcasm or a statement on the loan forgiveness program?  Do you not understand how the loan forgiveness program works?

Malkynn

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #59 on: May 29, 2019, 02:19:04 PM »
She's not a huge spender but she's made some big mistakes with money. Most notably, she works in non-profit and thought she was in a program that would forgive her loan after 10 years. As she approached the 10 year mark, she discovered she was not repaying under the right program, so her loan will not be forgiven any time soon. She was devastated when she found out and it's been a huge source of anxiety for her.

Depending on how you structure your finances, nothing really changes. Proceed with the relationship, if you move in together she'll be able to pay off the debt faster. Do not get married or become financially liable for her, do not pay her debts. No reason you can't have a happy life together if you are both otherwise happy together. Keep finances separate and help her with a plan and timeline for repayment.

The quoted section above is a big red flag though. This woman thinks it's okay to steal nearly $100k from someone. That's reprehensible and would be the end of it for me. I despise thieves. It doesn't matter if it's $1 or $1 million, theft is wrong. I will not be friends, much less spend the rest of my life, with someone who does not respect property rights.

Is this intended as sarcasm or a statement on the loan forgiveness program?  Do you not understand how the loan forgiveness program works?

I just read it, shook my head and said "the internet makes no damn sense"

Goldielocks

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #60 on: May 29, 2019, 04:26:19 PM »
Yea
With automatic payments, she can certainly continue to NOT think about money or her debt.

Yeah but the big question is, will she be prepared to sacrifice what has clearly been treated as disposable income up until now, in order to fund the automatic payments that you talk about?

Your theory is great, but in practice, it's not just maths. We're dealing with someone's entire mental model of the world here. That mental model would likely have to undergo an enormous shift in order to do what you're suggesting.

This is someone who, at age 40, relative to all the money they've earned over their enter life, has managed to keep hold of a negligible proportion of it. Knowing that, do you think it's going to be easy for her to suddenly shift into using, say, 50% of her take-home pay to fund the 3 types of automatic payment you list in your post?

Sadly, there are many, many people like this.   AND many more single women are like this than men.  I don't know why so many women (and some men) think it is OK to have $1000 or less, total net assets at age 30 (even excluding SL debt).   It's like they think that they don't need to save like adults until their "real life" begins when they settle down.

The good news is that she thought she had a plan, and did not rack up cc debt while spending all her money.

If she automatically save off the top, there is no problem with cotinuing to spend down the remainder (in her own account)... as long as she intends to work for many more years.

If we narrow our search only to people with FT jobs, paying their own way (which she is), no cc debt, AND financailly savvy savers... I gotta tell you, that this reduces the dating field a lot...   many of the MMM's here have a spouse that is more than content to let their SO's take care of the money side.

OP -- your challenge will be if you want to have kids.. at that point, you will need to either absorb some of her SL debt to pay it off, or take time off work yourself, or pay fully for the child care yourself / expanded apartment, kid costs, etc.   

JTColton

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #61 on: May 30, 2019, 09:42:39 AM »
If we narrow our search only to people with FT jobs, paying their own way (which she is), no cc debt, AND financailly savvy savers... I gotta tell you, that this reduces the dating field a lot...   many of the MMM's here have a spouse that is more than content to let their SO's take care of the money side.

OP -- your challenge will be if you want to have kids.. at that point, you will need to either absorb some of her SL debt to pay it off, or take time off work yourself, or pay fully for the child care yourself / expanded apartment, kid costs, etc.

It reduces it quite a bit, but if you're in the top percentile yourself why wouldn't you exercise your options? I never understood the tendency of high quality people to settle when they could do much better for themselves. If someone is in a dead end job that doesn't pay well, we don't wring hands when they leave we congratulate them. So if someone is in a relationship with someone who obviously doesn't share their outlook or priorities on life, why the difference?

The fact of the matter is that a 35 y/o man with a good job, his finances in check, and even a remotely interesting life is in a position to choose, not be chosen.

Hula Hoop

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #62 on: May 30, 2019, 12:20:07 PM »
If we narrow our search only to people with FT jobs, paying their own way (which she is), no cc debt, AND financailly savvy savers... I gotta tell you, that this reduces the dating field a lot...   many of the MMM's here have a spouse that is more than content to let their SO's take care of the money side.

OP -- your challenge will be if you want to have kids.. at that point, you will need to either absorb some of her SL debt to pay it off, or take time off work yourself, or pay fully for the child care yourself / expanded apartment, kid costs, etc.

It reduces it quite a bit, but if you're in the top percentile yourself why wouldn't you exercise your options? I never understood the tendency of high quality people to settle when they could do much better for themselves. If someone is in a dead end job that doesn't pay well, we don't wring hands when they leave we congratulate them. So if someone is in a relationship with someone who obviously doesn't share their outlook or priorities on life, why the difference?

The fact of the matter is that a 35 y/o man with a good job, his finances in check, and even a remotely interesting life is in a position to choose, not be chosen.

The reality is that for most of us human relationships aren't all about money.  You talk about the OP being in the "top percentile" and "high quality people".  For many of us, income, wealth and savings are not a big factor in judging who is a "high quality" person for us.  My husband grew up poor and still earns a low income (although he works really hard).  That was simply not a factor for me when we met and married.  Our values align and we truly love each other.   I've dated very high earning men who would have made me miserable.  Everyone's priorities are different and I find it kind of horrifying that you'd see someone's finances (good job and finances in check) as being indicative of their 'value' on the dating market.  Having similar values about finances are one thing (and there is no indication that the OP's girlfriend is running out and buying brand new cars every year) but income and wealth are quite another.

DadJokes

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #63 on: May 30, 2019, 12:59:58 PM »
If we narrow our search only to people with FT jobs, paying their own way (which she is), no cc debt, AND financailly savvy savers... I gotta tell you, that this reduces the dating field a lot...   many of the MMM's here have a spouse that is more than content to let their SO's take care of the money side.

OP -- your challenge will be if you want to have kids.. at that point, you will need to either absorb some of her SL debt to pay it off, or take time off work yourself, or pay fully for the child care yourself / expanded apartment, kid costs, etc.

It reduces it quite a bit, but if you're in the top percentile yourself why wouldn't you exercise your options? I never understood the tendency of high quality people to settle when they could do much better for themselves. If someone is in a dead end job that doesn't pay well, we don't wring hands when they leave we congratulate them. So if someone is in a relationship with someone who obviously doesn't share their outlook or priorities on life, why the difference?

The fact of the matter is that a 35 y/o man with a good job, his finances in check, and even a remotely interesting life is in a position to choose, not be chosen.

Finances are only a part of finding a significant other. Take everything Goldilocks mentioned, then add in agreement regarding religion, politics, child-rearing plans, and physical attraction. There may not be a perfect match, or it may take decades to find one. One must make compromises. I'm fortunate that my wife allows me to handle the finances as I see fit and provided no push-back when I started saving half of our income. We disagree in other areas to though, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Kris

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #64 on: May 30, 2019, 01:07:13 PM »
If we narrow our search only to people with FT jobs, paying their own way (which she is), no cc debt, AND financailly savvy savers... I gotta tell you, that this reduces the dating field a lot...   many of the MMM's here have a spouse that is more than content to let their SO's take care of the money side.

OP -- your challenge will be if you want to have kids.. at that point, you will need to either absorb some of her SL debt to pay it off, or take time off work yourself, or pay fully for the child care yourself / expanded apartment, kid costs, etc.

It reduces it quite a bit, but if you're in the top percentile yourself why wouldn't you exercise your options? I never understood the tendency of high quality people to settle when they could do much better for themselves. If someone is in a dead end job that doesn't pay well, we don't wring hands when they leave we congratulate them. So if someone is in a relationship with someone who obviously doesn't share their outlook or priorities on life, why the difference?

The fact of the matter is that a 35 y/o man with a good job, his finances in check, and even a remotely interesting life is in a position to choose, not be chosen.

The reality is that for most of us human relationships aren't all about money.  You talk about the OP being in the "top percentile" and "high quality people".  For many of us, income, wealth and savings are not a big factor in judging who is a "high quality" person for us.  My husband grew up poor and still earns a low income (although he works really hard).  That was simply not a factor for me when we met and married.  Our values align and we truly love each other.   I've dated very high earning men who would have made me miserable.  Everyone's priorities are different and I find it kind of horrifying that you'd see someone's finances (good job and finances in check) as being indicative of their 'value' on the dating market.  Having similar values about finances are one thing (and there is no indication that the OP's girlfriend is running out and buying brand new cars every year) but income and wealth are quite another.

My ex-husband also had a tendency to use phrases like “high quality people” to describe/categorize individual humans as more worthy/worthwhile and less so. It made me incredibly uncomfortable, for the reasons you state here.

We ultimately divorced in part  for reasons quite related to this — including his tendency to dismiss and even discount the worth of anyone he deemed “not high quality.” And the same implication that high quality people are choosers. Not people to be chosen. Feels very patronizing to me. I would not, and did not, want to be in a relationship with someone who felt as though he, as a high quality person, was better than me, or somehow “deserved” a deluxe model “high quality” partner in the same way that one might say they deserved a BMW instead of a Hyundai.

Interestingly, I’m guessing Donald Trump would have fallen into his category of “high quality,” at least if his wealth is what he says it is. I personally do not think of Trump as a high quality person.

(Also interestingly, I have heard Trump himself use this exact same expression. In the exact same way.)

« Last Edit: May 30, 2019, 01:23:46 PM by Kris »

Roks

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #65 on: May 30, 2019, 02:21:23 PM »
I didn't start making significant strides and learning how to manage my money wisely until I was in my early 40s.  Yes, I know for many on this forum, that's a no-no, but look - life happens.  Some of us have other challenges that take an emotional toll on us.  I always wanted to pay off my student debts and was making strides, but still had a long way to go. 

What helped me was my ex-boyfriend's frugality.  I know it may sound strange, but I didn't know I could cut out the expenses that I did. I didn't know that was possible until he came into my life and was a role model. Watching him with his spending taught me that I could do the same.  While he and I had other problems, and while I didn't completely agree with his money management, his frugality, coupled with my personal interest in debt-payoff and investment matters, helped me quite a bit! It was around that time that I heard about MMM and JL Collins.

Everyone is teachable. Sometimes we don't know what we don't know, no matter our age. There are times in our lives when we need someone to guide us.  Maybe you can guide her on money management and come up with a plan for her to pay off her debt.  It will be up to her (not you) to follow that plan. 

Give this a try. If it doesn't work, I agree with others it will be difficult to continue because it will be an issue of different values. However, I disagree with others that you should write her off right now because she showed signs of irresponsibility at age 40. Many of us have been irresponsible, many of us have turned things around and many of us have lived and learned.  Such is life. Best of luck to you.
 
« Last Edit: May 30, 2019, 02:27:28 PM by Roks »

Kris

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #66 on: May 30, 2019, 02:29:23 PM »
I didn't start making significant strides and learning how to manage my money wisely until I was in my early 40s.  Yes, I know for many on this forum, that's a no-no, but look - life happens.  Some of us have other challenges that take an emotional toll on us.  I always wanted to pay off my student debts and was making strides, but still had a long way to go. 

What helped me was my ex-boyfriend's frugality.  I know it may sound strange, but I didn't know I could cut out the expenses that I did. I didn't know that was possible until he came into my life and was a role model. Watching him with his spending taught me that I could do the same.  While he and I had other problems, and while I didn't completely agree with his money management, his frugality, coupled with my personal interest in debt-payoff and investment matters, helped me quite a bit! It was around that time that I heard about MMM and JL Collins.

Everyone is teachable. Sometimes we don't know what we don't know, no matter our age. There are times in our lives when we need someone to guide us.  Maybe you can guide her on money management and come up with a plan for her to pay off her debt.  It will be up to her (not you) to follow that plan. 

Give this a try. If it doesn't work, I agree with others it will be difficult to continue because it will be an issue of different values. However, I disagree with others that you should write her off right now because she showed signs of irresponsibility at age 40. Many of us have been irresponsible, many of us have turned things around and many of us have lived and learned.  Such is life. Best of luck to you.

Agreed. When I met my husband, he was 48 and $45,000 in debt.

Thirteen years later, we are FI and he just retired three months ago.

Roks

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #67 on: May 30, 2019, 02:46:08 PM »
I didn't start making significant strides and learning how to manage my money wisely until I was in my early 40s.  Yes, I know for many on this forum, that's a no-no, but look - life happens.  Some of us have other challenges that take an emotional toll on us.  I always wanted to pay off my student debts and was making strides, but still had a long way to go. 

What helped me was my ex-boyfriend's frugality.  I know it may sound strange, but I didn't know I could cut out the expenses that I did. I didn't know that was possible until he came into my life and was a role model. Watching him with his spending taught me that I could do the same.  While he and I had other problems, and while I didn't completely agree with his money management, his frugality, coupled with my personal interest in debt-payoff and investment matters, helped me quite a bit! It was around that time that I heard about MMM and JL Collins.

Everyone is teachable. Sometimes we don't know what we don't know, no matter our age. There are times in our lives when we need someone to guide us.  Maybe you can guide her on money management and come up with a plan for her to pay off her debt.  It will be up to her (not you) to follow that plan. 

Give this a try. If it doesn't work, I agree with others it will be difficult to continue because it will be an issue of different values. However, I disagree with others that you should write her off right now because she showed signs of irresponsibility at age 40. Many of us have been irresponsible, many of us have turned things around and many of us have lived and learned.  Such is life. Best of luck to you.

Agreed. When I met my husband, he was 48 and $45,000 in debt.

Thirteen years later, we are FI and he just retired three months ago.


Well done!!! That's inspirational on many levels. 

Hula Hoop

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #68 on: May 30, 2019, 03:23:33 PM »
I didn't start making significant strides and learning how to manage my money wisely until I was in my early 40s.  Yes, I know for many on this forum, that's a no-no, but look - life happens.  Some of us have other challenges that take an emotional toll on us.  I always wanted to pay off my student debts and was making strides, but still had a long way to go. 

What helped me was my ex-boyfriend's frugality.  I know it may sound strange, but I didn't know I could cut out the expenses that I did. I didn't know that was possible until he came into my life and was a role model. Watching him with his spending taught me that I could do the same.  While he and I had other problems, and while I didn't completely agree with his money management, his frugality, coupled with my personal interest in debt-payoff and investment matters, helped me quite a bit! It was around that time that I heard about MMM and JL Collins.

Everyone is teachable. Sometimes we don't know what we don't know, no matter our age. There are times in our lives when we need someone to guide us.  Maybe you can guide her on money management and come up with a plan for her to pay off her debt.  It will be up to her (not you) to follow that plan. 

Give this a try. If it doesn't work, I agree with others it will be difficult to continue because it will be an issue of different values. However, I disagree with others that you should write her off right now because she showed signs of irresponsibility at age 40. Many of us have been irresponsible, many of us have turned things around and many of us have lived and learned.  Such is life. Best of luck to you.

Agreed. When I met my husband, he was 48 and $45,000 in debt.

Thirteen years later, we are FI and he just retired three months ago.

I agree - congrats to you both.

cheaplynn

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #69 on: May 30, 2019, 07:00:02 PM »
LONG POST WARNING:

Hooooo boy, do I FEEL this situation. At 33, I was struck by lightning when I met my partner. I knew from the first day I met him that he and I were meant for each other (and I'm no pollyanna -- I've been in a long-term partnership had several other healthy shorter relationships, a 33-going-on-50 kinda girl.) I knew this man was the one for me. There were complications -- age difference, distance, previous marriages, etc -- but things that had once seemed dealbreakers were suddenly just parts of the relationship to work through.

And while I also knew that he made less money than me, but I had no idea about the REAL realities of his financial situation until a year and a half into our relationship. All was revealed on a post-dinner walk when he broke down (yes, into tears) and admitted that he had significant debt. I, like most people here, have been suuuuuuper responsible with money -- hearing that he had, all told, around $40k in debt (mostly credit card, ouch, plus about $8k on his ex-wife's car, lovely) (PLUS $1400/mo in child support) made my guts clench. He was 47 at the time. I spent months in a panic: how could we have a future together with this burden? How am I supposed to help him with this problem?? Did I even know who he truly was??!

Once I got over my own panic and started to have gentle, awkward conversations with money, I certainly gained more empathy -- it was the bumps in his own life (divorce and child support) that put him in this situation. [Much like your gf's student loans and small CC debt. Like others have said, it's well documented that student loan servicers routinely provide misinformation/straight up lie to their customers in order to prevent pay-off programs. As a person working in the public sector as well, I'm familiar with her program, and I know that a tiny fraction of people actually benefit from the 120 payment loan forgiveness program because of these shady servicers]

For us/me, I eventually decided that our future together was more important than short-term savings. He moved in to my apartment, and I continued to pay my housing as normal. I could afford it before, and I can afford it now. While we split groceries, I pick up most of the tabs for eating out and other luxuries. On top of this, I have also buckled down to save more cash to help for his debts. I know that many people would disagree with this--I didn't think I would at first, either, don't @ me -- but this is going to significantly help. On top of everything else I've paid for, I've also socked away an additional $10 in cash, which I will be dumping into his biggest credit card. I plan to do it again next year. By doing this, we will have everything paid off by the end of 2020. CLEAN SLATE CITY, USA.

Look, I know that I've been doing the right thing; I know he's made bad decisions about money. I, too, have struggled with him making extraneous purchases. But through this process, we've had many conversations about money -- at first, difficult and awkward, but by now, easier and more natural. Both his and my own lazy money habits have come under new scrutiny, for the benefit of both of us. For example: those unnecessary splurges that have always made me bristle (for him, records) have become a point of actual discussion. And through this discussion/transparency, his habits have changed. Ultimately, our relationship is SO much better for it.

There are people in this thread that would/do say 'run,' but that disregards the actual humanity of the situation. People are more important than money. Our relationships are more important than money. We work hard and save hard so that we can enjoy more time with the people that are important to us. My goal is to retire at the same time as my partner. His military pension kicks in at 60, and he's 12 years older than me. I'd like to be able to work at least part-time starting at 48 at that point. We've got 10 years to buckle down and use these newfound skills of money communication and frugality as a couple.

Dealing with my partner's debt has just made it clearer how much I love him, and how committed we are for the long term. You wouldn't be panicking about your gf's debt if you weren't imagining a serious, long-term future with her, either. Right now, your girlfriend's debt brings her panic and shame. Let her know how much you love her, that you love her more than you love your money, and that you are her partner in navigating this situation.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2019, 07:06:42 PM by cheaplynn »

FIREstache

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #70 on: May 30, 2019, 07:43:36 PM »
She's not a huge spender but she's made some big mistakes with money. Most notably, she works in non-profit and thought she was in a program that would forgive her loan after 10 years. As she approached the 10 year mark, she discovered she was not repaying under the right program, so her loan will not be forgiven any time soon. She was devastated when she found out and it's been a huge source of anxiety for her.

Depending on how you structure your finances, nothing really changes. Proceed with the relationship, if you move in together she'll be able to pay off the debt faster. Do not get married or become financially liable for her, do not pay her debts. No reason you can't have a happy life together if you are both otherwise happy together. Keep finances separate and help her with a plan and timeline for repayment.

The quoted section above is a big red flag though. This woman thinks it's okay to steal nearly $100k from someone. That's reprehensible and would be the end of it for me. I despise thieves. It doesn't matter if it's $1 or $1 million, theft is wrong. I will not be friends, much less spend the rest of my life, with someone who does not respect property rights.

Is this intended as sarcasm or a statement on the loan forgiveness program?  Do you not understand how the loan forgiveness program works?

In other threads, he has called taxes and welfare theft, and has repeatedly called Social Security welfare.  So his comment here is right in line with that.  Sol had one explanation for the comments in this post:
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/anyone-consider-social-security-'bend-points'-for-deciding-when-to-fire/msg2384701/#msg2384701

mistymoney

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #71 on: May 31, 2019, 07:15:14 AM »
If we narrow our search only to people with FT jobs, paying their own way (which she is), no cc debt, AND financailly savvy savers... I gotta tell you, that this reduces the dating field a lot...   many of the MMM's here have a spouse that is more than content to let their SO's take care of the money side.

OP -- your challenge will be if you want to have kids.. at that point, you will need to either absorb some of her SL debt to pay it off, or take time off work yourself, or pay fully for the child care yourself / expanded apartment, kid costs, etc.

It reduces it quite a bit, but if you're in the top percentile yourself why wouldn't you exercise your options? I never understood the tendency of high quality people to settle when they could do much better for themselves. If someone is in a dead end job that doesn't pay well, we don't wring hands when they leave we congratulate them. So if someone is in a relationship with someone who obviously doesn't share their outlook or priorities on life, why the difference?

The fact of the matter is that a 35 y/o man with a good job, his finances in check, and even a remotely interesting life is in a position to choose, not be chosen.

The reality is that for most of us human relationships aren't all about money.  You talk about the OP being in the "top percentile" and "high quality people".  For many of us, income, wealth and savings are not a big factor in judging who is a "high quality" person for us. My husband grew up poor and still earns a low income (although he works really hard).  That was simply not a factor for me when we met and married.  Our values align and we truly love each other.   I've dated very high earning men who would have made me miserable.  Everyone's priorities are different and I find it kind of horrifying that you'd see someone's finances (good job and finances in check) as being indicative of their 'value' on the dating market.  Having similar values about finances are one thing (and there is no indication that the OP's girlfriend is running out and buying brand new cars every year) but income and wealth are quite another.

wow - yeah - thank you. was getting a little worried about joining this forum......

I have soooo many expectations about a potential partner, but very few around money. And a lot of those are not something you could really cultivate or develop (whereas money habits are!). I need someone with a high level of raw intelligence, and to have that refined/tempered through a large measure of education. Not willing to put up with the smartest-person-from-5th-grade-and-decades-later-think-I-know-more-than-prominent-phds-about-their-field type arrogance. Kind and funny, a bit artistic, kind of good looking, keeping fit, nice package, skill in the sack. That's a lot to ask for!


For money - Just someone relatively decent around money - not deceptive or leachy of course, and relatively self-sufficient. Someone who pays their own way in life.



mistymoney

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #72 on: May 31, 2019, 07:37:58 AM »
LONG POST WARNING:

Hooooo boy, do I FEEL this situation. At 33, I was struck by lightning when I met my partner. I knew from the first day I met him that he and I were meant for each other (and I'm no pollyanna -- I've been in a long-term partnership had several other healthy shorter relationships, a 33-going-on-50 kinda girl.) I knew this man was the one for me. There were complications -- age difference, distance, previous marriages, etc -- but things that had once seemed dealbreakers were suddenly just parts of the relationship to work through.

And while I also knew that he made less money than me, but I had no idea about the REAL realities of his financial situation until a year and a half into our relationship. All was revealed on a post-dinner walk when he broke down (yes, into tears) and admitted that he had significant debt. I, like most people here, have been suuuuuuper responsible with money -- hearing that he had, all told, around $40k in debt (mostly credit card, ouch, plus about $8k on his ex-wife's car, lovely) (PLUS $1400/mo in child support) made my guts clench. He was 47 at the time. I spent months in a panic: how could we have a future together with this burden? How am I supposed to help him with this problem?? Did I even know who he truly was??!

Once I got over my own panic and started to have gentle, awkward conversations with money, I certainly gained more empathy -- it was the bumps in his own life (divorce and child support) that put him in this situation. [Much like your gf's student loans and small CC debt. Like others have said, it's well documented that student loan servicers routinely provide misinformation/straight up lie to their customers in order to prevent pay-off programs. As a person working in the public sector as well, I'm familiar with her program, and I know that a tiny fraction of people actually benefit from the 120 payment loan forgiveness program because of these shady servicers]

For us/me, I eventually decided that our future together was more important than short-term savings. He moved in to my apartment, and I continued to pay my housing as normal. I could afford it before, and I can afford it now. While we split groceries, I pick up most of the tabs for eating out and other luxuries. On top of this, I have also buckled down to save more cash to help for his debts. I know that many people would disagree with this--I didn't think I would at first, either, don't @ me -- but this is going to significantly help. On top of everything else I've paid for, I've also socked away an additional $10 in cash, which I will be dumping into his biggest credit card. I plan to do it again next year. By doing this, we will have everything paid off by the end of 2020. CLEAN SLATE CITY, USA.

Look, I know that I've been doing the right thing; I know he's made bad decisions about money. I, too, have struggled with him making extraneous purchases. But through this process, we've had many conversations about money -- at first, difficult and awkward, but by now, easier and more natural. Both his and my own lazy money habits have come under new scrutiny, for the benefit of both of us. For example: those unnecessary splurges that have always made me bristle (for him, records) have become a point of actual discussion. And through this discussion/transparency, his habits have changed. Ultimately, our relationship is SO much better for it.

There are people in this thread that would/do say 'run,' but that disregards the actual humanity of the situation. People are more important than money. Our relationships are more important than money. We work hard and save hard so that we can enjoy more time with the people that are important to us. My goal is to retire at the same time as my partner. His military pension kicks in at 60, and he's 12 years older than me. I'd like to be able to work at least part-time starting at 48 at that point. We've got 10 years to buckle down and use these newfound skills of money communication and frugality as a couple.

Dealing with my partner's debt has just made it clearer how much I love him, and how committed we are for the long term. You wouldn't be panicking about your gf's debt if you weren't imagining a serious, long-term future with her, either. Right now, your girlfriend's debt brings her panic and shame. Let her know how much you love her, that you love her more than you love your money, and that you are her partner in navigating this situation.

Well, I for one will tell you that I think you are doing far too much. You've essentially taken on digging him out of debt, and frankly, I wouldn't be comfortable with someone who was comfortable with that.

He should be paying something relatively equitable towards living expenses, and paying off his own debt.

While you are looking strictly at dollars and cents here and helping him out, he is a very grown ass man and you have taken away a large amount of his agency here.

How relieved and happy can he be when the debt is finally cleared when you've essentially paid it off for him? This is not a good dynamic for an able-bodied 50? year old man to be in. Moving in and sharing expenses would have been help enough. Even if it took him 5-10 years to dig out, I honestly think he would be better off if he did this on his own and in his own time rather than you taking over everything.

If you two are truly together forever, you could take the money yousave by cohabiting and add that to your investments which will be there for both of you if this relationship makes the long haul.

If this relation falters years down the road, how resentful will you be if he ups and leaves? How trapped might he feel - if he wants to leave but feels like he owes you and then resentment festers. Compare that to a more equitable sharing of living expenses and him paying his own debt. The relationship would be able to stand or not on it's own.

cheaplynn

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #73 on: May 31, 2019, 10:57:35 AM »
LONG POST WARNING:

Hooooo boy, do I FEEL this situation. At 33, I was struck by lightning when I met my partner. I knew from the first day I met him that he and I were meant for each other (and I'm no pollyanna -- I've been in a long-term partnership had several other healthy shorter relationships, a 33-going-on-50 kinda girl.) I knew this man was the one for me. There were complications -- age difference, distance, previous marriages, etc -- but things that had once seemed dealbreakers were suddenly just parts of the relationship to work through.

And while I also knew that he made less money than me, but I had no idea about the REAL realities of his financial situation until a year and a half into our relationship. All was revealed on a post-dinner walk when he broke down (yes, into tears) and admitted that he had significant debt. I, like most people here, have been suuuuuuper responsible with money -- hearing that he had, all told, around $40k in debt (mostly credit card, ouch, plus about $8k on his ex-wife's car, lovely) (PLUS $1400/mo in child support) made my guts clench. He was 47 at the time. I spent months in a panic: how could we have a future together with this burden? How am I supposed to help him with this problem?? Did I even know who he truly was??!

Once I got over my own panic and started to have gentle, awkward conversations with money, I certainly gained more empathy -- it was the bumps in his own life (divorce and child support) that put him in this situation. [Much like your gf's student loans and small CC debt. Like others have said, it's well documented that student loan servicers routinely provide misinformation/straight up lie to their customers in order to prevent pay-off programs. As a person working in the public sector as well, I'm familiar with her program, and I know that a tiny fraction of people actually benefit from the 120 payment loan forgiveness program because of these shady servicers]

For us/me, I eventually decided that our future together was more important than short-term savings. He moved in to my apartment, and I continued to pay my housing as normal. I could afford it before, and I can afford it now. While we split groceries, I pick up most of the tabs for eating out and other luxuries. On top of this, I have also buckled down to save more cash to help for his debts. I know that many people would disagree with this--I didn't think I would at first, either, don't @ me -- but this is going to significantly help. On top of everything else I've paid for, I've also socked away an additional $10 in cash, which I will be dumping into his biggest credit card. I plan to do it again next year. By doing this, we will have everything paid off by the end of 2020. CLEAN SLATE CITY, USA.

Look, I know that I've been doing the right thing; I know he's made bad decisions about money. I, too, have struggled with him making extraneous purchases. But through this process, we've had many conversations about money -- at first, difficult and awkward, but by now, easier and more natural. Both his and my own lazy money habits have come under new scrutiny, for the benefit of both of us. For example: those unnecessary splurges that have always made me bristle (for him, records) have become a point of actual discussion. And through this discussion/transparency, his habits have changed. Ultimately, our relationship is SO much better for it.

There are people in this thread that would/do say 'run,' but that disregards the actual humanity of the situation. People are more important than money. Our relationships are more important than money. We work hard and save hard so that we can enjoy more time with the people that are important to us. My goal is to retire at the same time as my partner. His military pension kicks in at 60, and he's 12 years older than me. I'd like to be able to work at least part-time starting at 48 at that point. We've got 10 years to buckle down and use these newfound skills of money communication and frugality as a couple.

Dealing with my partner's debt has just made it clearer how much I love him, and how committed we are for the long term. You wouldn't be panicking about your gf's debt if you weren't imagining a serious, long-term future with her, either. Right now, your girlfriend's debt brings her panic and shame. Let her know how much you love her, that you love her more than you love your money, and that you are her partner in navigating this situation.

Well, I for one will tell you that I think you are doing far too much. You've essentially taken on digging him out of debt, and frankly, I wouldn't be comfortable with someone who was comfortable with that.

He should be paying something relatively equitable towards living expenses, and paying off his own debt.

While you are looking strictly at dollars and cents here and helping him out, he is a very grown ass man and you have taken away a large amount of his agency here.

How relieved and happy can he be when the debt is finally cleared when you've essentially paid it off for him? This is not a good dynamic for an able-bodied 50? year old man to be in. Moving in and sharing expenses would have been help enough. Even if it took him 5-10 years to dig out, I honestly think he would be better off if he did this on his own and in his own time rather than you taking over everything.

If you two are truly together forever, you could take the money yousave by cohabiting and add that to your investments which will be there for both of you if this relationship makes the long haul.

If this relation falters years down the road, how resentful will you be if he ups and leaves? How trapped might he feel - if he wants to leave but feels like he owes you and then resentment festers. Compare that to a more equitable sharing of living expenses and him paying his own debt. The relationship would be able to stand or not on it's own.

Well, I guess this is a good example in how much the full truth of a situation isn't revealed on the internet. Your assumptions about his feelings simply aren't accurate, but I knew when writing my experience to share with the OP that people would jump to a similar conclusion. It's true that these things *might* happen down the road -- I've considered them too -- but committing to a person means that you realize all of the negative things "might" happen and decide to commit anyway.
Not only that, working together to pay down his debt hasn't changed my own savings rate. In fact, I've put more money into my retirement account this year than any year previously. I've saved this extra cash through just tightening the belt. We do a lot of free things anyway -- running, reading library books, etc. The best thing I've learned this year is how easy it is to cut down on small expenses to add up to big results.

Ultimately, what most motivated my action was this: when my brother got married, he had no student debt but his wife did. She had worked in a low-paying job after college and he was an engineer who had made bank. (They met when both switching careers, and now are on similar ground income-wise.) Since her student loan debt suddenly became a shared burden, they both worked to pay it off. Nobody criticized him or told him that his wife was a "grown-ass woman" who should be responsible for her own debt. They wanted to buy a house, so they paid off the debt and then both saved for a down payment together. This is all very logical, right? Well, my partner and I are in a similar situation and we're taking action in a similar way.
(Side note: I am very aware that gender dynamics exacerbate the way people react to my situation (which, frankly, I don't share with people in real life since it's a private matter for our relationship. I'm taking advantage of the anonymity of an online forum to discuss my experiences.))

I guess my point is this: there isn't one right way to deal with your situation, OP. Some people might just stay by their side and provide moral support. Some might contribute financially by taking on some of the living expenses. Some might work together to pay down the debt. Some might turn tail and find someone less "financially complicated"! All of these are options, and only you are capable of knowing what's right for you and your relationship.

JTColton

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #74 on: May 31, 2019, 11:08:26 AM »
The reality is that for most of us human relationships aren't all about money.  You talk about the OP being in the "top percentile" and "high quality people".  For many of us, income, wealth and savings are not a big factor in judging who is a "high quality" person for us.  My husband grew up poor and still earns a low income (although he works really hard).  That was simply not a factor for me when we met and married.  Our values align and we truly love each other.   I've dated very high earning men who would have made me miserable.  Everyone's priorities are different and I find it kind of horrifying that you'd see someone's finances (good job and finances in check) as being indicative of their 'value' on the dating market.  Having similar values about finances are one thing (and there is no indication that the OP's girlfriend is running out and buying brand new cars every year) but income and wealth are quite another.

Finances are only a part of finding a significant other. Take everything Goldilocks mentioned, then add in agreement regarding religion, politics, child-rearing plans, and physical attraction. There may not be a perfect match, or it may take decades to find one. One must make compromises. I'm fortunate that my wife allows me to handle the finances as I see fit and provided no push-back when I started saving half of our income. We disagree in other areas to though, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

My ex-husband also had a tendency to use phrases like “high quality people” to describe/categorize individual humans as more worthy/worthwhile and less so. It made me incredibly uncomfortable, for the reasons you state here.

We ultimately divorced in part  for reasons quite related to this — including his tendency to dismiss and even discount the worth of anyone he deemed “not high quality.” And the same implication that high quality people are choosers. Not people to be chosen. Feels very patronizing to me. I would not, and did not, want to be in a relationship with someone who felt as though he, as a high quality person, was better than me, or somehow “deserved” a deluxe model “high quality” partner in the same way that one might say they deserved a BMW instead of a Hyundai.

Interestingly, I’m guessing Donald Trump would have fallen into his category of “high quality,” at least if his wealth is what he says it is. I personally do not think of Trump as a high quality person.

(Also interestingly, I have heard Trump himself use this exact same expression. In the exact same way.)

Money itself vis a vis net worth doesn't determine self worth and I'm not sure how that was construed from my post. If everyone has thought that's what I meant then I didn't explain clearly in my post. What money itself does, is signify certain desirable qualities: logical decision making, non-impulsiveness, foresight, ability to commit to a strategy among others.

If you want a short term fling then nothing much besides physical attraction matters (and not even that sometimes), if something longer term then similar interests might get you by, something serious (cohabitating or marriage) where the legal person is joined along with the physical one these qualities absolutely matter. Is not money the #1 reason for divorce in the US? It seems that compromising in this area is not paying off for people.

Each person must make their own choice as to what priority they place on these things. A person who would not only have nearly $100k of student debt at 40, but living under mistaken impressions about the repayment of said debt shows to me a lack of judgment and critical thinking. Does not mean they are a bad person or do not have worth but this is not someone who shares my outlook and priorities in life, and I think obviously not the OPs either. There are so many amazing people out there who do share those same desires as I do, who do prioritize the things I do that I do not feel the need to compromise on something that could impact my/our future well being.

Also, I'm not sure what Trump has to do with any of this.

wow - yeah - thank you. was getting a little worried about joining this forum......

I have soooo many expectations about a potential partner, but very few around money. And a lot of those are not something you could really cultivate or develop (whereas money habits are!). I need someone with a high level of raw intelligence, and to have that refined/tempered through a large measure of education. Not willing to put up with the smartest-person-from-5th-grade-and-decades-later-think-I-know-more-than-prominent-phds-about-their-field type arrogance. Kind and funny, a bit artistic, kind of good looking, keeping fit, nice package, skill in the sack. That's a lot to ask for!


For money - Just someone relatively decent around money - not deceptive or leachy of course, and relatively self-sufficient. Someone who pays their own way in life.

That's just my point, it is a lot to ask for, and to get it one must bring an equal amount to the table no? By amount I don't mean a net worth but a number of desirable qualities. Everybody wants the same thing in a guy or girl: smart, funny, attractive, clean, good in bed, knows how to cook, good with money etc etc etc ad nauseam. People that possess all or even most of those traits are in an ever shrinking group of people. Do most people possess enough of those traits themselves to attract someone who "checks all their boxes"? No they do not. It's basic supply and demand and a tough question to answer about oneself.

Goldielocks

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #75 on: June 03, 2019, 01:19:15 AM »
Quote
This alarming thing is not necessarily the 80k in student debt. The alarming part is the zero savings and what that says about this person. You say this person is not a big spender but that is obviously untrue as evidenced by no savings. You say you are triggered by her spending on little things and rightly so.

This part is definitely true.... if you see many small spending points that trigger your "ouch" reaction, then yes, she is spending too much.

However, many people can change this when faced with the truth - no student loan forgiveness is coming, and maybe some non-repeatable misfortunes in her past (paying off relatives medical bill comes to mind here).   Just be aware if she is a risk taker with her money.  DH has a risk taker cousin that is always broke because he puts all his available $$ and then some on the next business venture and doesn't leave any wiggle room for failure.  This cousin is 45 now...

Roadrunner53

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #76 on: June 03, 2019, 07:14:56 AM »
I think if you love this woman and want to be with her then you both need to sit down and have some serious discussions on how to pay down this debt. The CC debt should be first and wipe that slate clean. If purchases are made on those cards, then they have to be paid off each month. Research a credit card where she will get cash back at end of year. I have the Costco Visa but there are some that pay more bonus bucks. I am able to pay many of my bills with the credit card each month that I was not doing just a year ago. I charge almost everything I can each month on that card and pay it off at the end of the month. It is also a good way to SEE where your money is going. You have the monthly bill with every charge on it. I keep each months bill in a binder for quick reference.

Discussion points:
1.  Can she look for a higher paying job? Since this college debt forgiveness thing didn't work out, maybe it is time to get a better paying job.
2.  Ask if she will allow you to see all her bills and debts and make a list of monthly expenses, where does the money go?
3.  Create a budget.
4.  Create a 3 month cushion of money not to be touched unless dire straights occur.
5.  Set up automated payments, automated 401K, automated payments for the college debt. Pay off high interest loans first.
6.  If she doesn't want to change jobs, she should consider a part time job and throw all that money towards the college debt.
7.  Ask her when she expects to retire. She has to get that debt paid off and then put it into high gear to catch up on retirement savings.

Tell her you love her and want to help HER pay off HER bills by making some suggestions and creating a budget. Create some different plans for her to see what is doable. Like a 4-5 year plan, a 7 year plan, a 10 year plan. She should have never let this debt linger so long. Minimum payments are not going to cut it.

If she is unwilling to change her mindset or try new ideas, then maybe she is not the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.

Living together could be the answer if you are ready for that next step. If so, I would encourage her to commit to a 4 year pay off plan for the college debt. If she got a part time job or a higher paying job, that might reduce the time down to less than 4 years. Tell her it will not be easy but can be done.

The bottom line is that debt bothers you and apparently her too. She has not had someone kick her in the pants and tell her to pay it off. You can jump start this situation with love, encouragement and some frugality.

Laurak

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #77 on: June 03, 2019, 12:07:40 PM »
How did the subject of $$s come up? Isn't it strange that it comes up after so many months together? Unless you only see each other 1/month, and then it's like an eighth date. If this was me I'd be wondering what else is a 'secret'.

DadJokes

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #78 on: June 03, 2019, 12:16:59 PM »
How did the subject of $$s come up? Isn't it strange that it comes up after so many months together? Unless you only see each other 1/month, and then it's like an eighth date. If this was me I'd be wondering what else is a 'secret'.

Not really. The subject of finances didn't come up with my wife until we got engaged, which was after a year and a half of dating. I think we knew enough about each other to know if there were any serious red flags, but we didn't sit down and discuss details until we decided to get married. I think that's pretty normal for a lot of people.

mlipps

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #79 on: June 03, 2019, 01:06:12 PM »
How did the subject of $$s come up? Isn't it strange that it comes up after so many months together? Unless you only see each other 1/month, and then it's like an eighth date. If this was me I'd be wondering what else is a 'secret'.

Not really. The subject of finances didn't come up with my wife until we got engaged, which was after a year and a half of dating. I think we knew enough about each other to know if there were any serious red flags, but we didn't sit down and discuss details until we decided to get married. I think that's pretty normal for a lot of people.

Everyone is different. I think anywhere between 6 months and getting engaged is a pretty normal timeline to start talking about your personal finances in detail. Regardless of the other particulars, the timing of this doesn't raise any red flags to me.

clarkfan1979

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #80 on: June 03, 2019, 02:21:26 PM »
Be awesome and help her manage her way out of debt, but don't throw your money at it.

+1

freedomfightergal

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #81 on: June 06, 2019, 03:04:23 PM »
Be awesome and help her manage her way out of debt, but don't throw your money at it.

+1
+2

I think it's great you're thinking of the future, you must really care about her. 

In my life though this kind of scenario hasn't ever worked out.  Usually big inequities result in resentments.  Eg you may want to go skiing one day and she can't afford it so you pay, then it's always paying...  Or she comes home with a new handbag after you've been paying for everything...

It's a tough situation and I applaud you hoping to help her.  Going forward I would only want to be with someone who has similar ideas regarding money and who isn't looking for a legup (not saying she is).  But I've had a BF move in to my house and then he had all the excuses to not pay for bills, etc, and made comments about my large salary.  It didn't work out.  Same happened to my friend.  Her BF moved in and suddenly he couldn't pay for a thing because eg his daughter got a speeding ticket, then it was his son's orthodontist bill came in.   

It's tough adding finances to the equation.

Good luck!

Zamboni

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #82 on: June 06, 2019, 04:15:57 PM »
I'm shocked by the harshness of some of these responses.

At the risk of ruffling feathers here, I'll chime that OP's GF is just normal. Lot of people of all ages have lingering student loans, some CC debt, and very little saved. Honestly most people have more CC debt than she does. Most people don't feel comfortable talking about money at all. It's normal. We're the weirdos. Remind yourself of that.

I'd be stunned to find a partner who had money management together as well as I do. At what OP has stashed by 35, finding his money match would be like looking for a unicorn.

OP, I think you should love her the way she is while keeping in mind that we can all learn things from each other. Suggest this forum and gift her YNAB. Encourage her to pay herself first by saving for retirement and definitely don't let her leave a potential employer match on the table. Support her even though these conversations are hard for her. They are hard for most people. If you have love, then keep it, because all the money in the world can't buy it. See if she makes any changes based upon some gentle suggestions . . . it might take awhile and she might be slow to adopt ideas, but be really supportive even of any small changes.

Again, we're the weirdos. She's normal.

FLOW

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #83 on: June 06, 2019, 04:53:49 PM »
What was her actual plan?  Even if she had her student debt forgiven, her plan was... what -- to be 40 years old and have only $2,000 saved?  That's a crap plan. 

I'd really want to know how she got there.  Like did she own a business and it went south?  Did she make some financial bets that didn't pay off? 

Or was her plan just to meet a nice guy with a big stash?

Classical_Liberal

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #84 on: June 06, 2019, 05:01:45 PM »
I went through this exact same thing with my GF.  Although she is quite a bit younger than me, so hadn't been letting the bad finances linger for as long, so I'm not sure if that impacts things here.  About a year into our relationship we got pretty serious and started talking about a life together, that's when I learned of about 40K in student loan debt, 10K in credit card debt, and I already knew she was upside-down on a BMW, by about 5K.  She did have some in retirement, but nothing substantial. Basically was paycheck to paycheck. Earnings were similar to your GF.

Just to give some hope... My GF has done a complete about face over the past year and a half.  Basically we sat down, talked about this stuff and the future we wanted together.  I showed her how that would be impossible in the short term due to her debt.  I gave her a few tools (like good budgeting, showed her how much her car was really costing her, etc) to help herself.  Within six months the car was sold and a cheap used one replaced it, the upside down auto debt paid.  Credit card debt gone 6 months later.  She now has a 6 month emergency fund and just paid down her student loans to a manageable 25K. 

I did not hound her, I do not rail on her for her spending.  I simply helped her find her level of "enough", showed her how to stay within those bounds, and helped her realize where the massive monetary leaks were hiding.  She is still much more spendy than me, but she takes a great deal of pride in her progress.  I am very proud of her too! I've recently stepped up my game by taking a few more proactive steps in helping her reach the end goal of debt free. Small things, like covering our shared utilities myself (we moved in together last fall, NOT because of finances), or paying for her share on date night.

The key to all of this was a shared vision of the future.  None of this would have been possible if she simply ignored the problem. Honestly, that is the biggest issue to overcome. If you can't make the simple progress of creating a vision of an ideal shared future together, the relationship is in trouble for other reasons.

Zamboni

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #85 on: June 06, 2019, 05:09:22 PM »
She probably didn't have a plan other than it sounds like she did think she had the student loan debt forgiveness planned out. Probably she just figured retirement is far away, she can save later, and she'll live on social security some day any way.

Both of my parents bumbled through like just like this. As I said, it's normal.

Here's a gem for you: "The median [retirement/personal savings] for families between 44 and 49 is only $6,200."
https://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/16/how-much-the-average-family-in-their-40s-has-saved-for-retirement.html

partgypsy

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Re: My 40-year-old girlfriend has over $80k in debt. What do I do?
« Reply #86 on: June 06, 2019, 05:13:31 PM »
A few takeaways from your post:

You are using *we* and thinking future, which is a good sign
 Have you personally considered marrying this woman and taking savings you have built up to eliminate this debt that is giving you anxiety? Is she as bothered by the debt as you are?



She *thought* she was in a program that would forgive her loans? How can that oversight happen? Did they lie to her or did she not read through the offer letter thoroughly?

Oh well, it only takes a little bit of Google-fu to figure THAT one out.  The vast majority of people who have applied for loan forgiveness have been denied.  The rules are confusing and the banks...not exactly truthful.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/zackfriedman/2019/01/03/student-loan-forgiveness-data/#45353cce68d0

I work with a very sharp person (she's my boss) did the loan forgiveness thing and said it's basically like another part time job to keep up with the rules and make sure it's being done. It is her responsibility but they don't make it easy.