I live with my boyfriend, and we have a baby together. I brought debt into the relationship, and I’m using your debt snowball method to pay it off, but he is debt-free. We have quite a few shared expenses that we split 50-50, but that means we are constantly reimbursing each other. Should we keep our finances separate until I pay off my debt, or is it okay to combine everything now? I’m 26, and we love each other and want to get married, but he makes quite a bit more money than I do. I feel guilty taking that step when I still have debt.
I don’t tell people they have to wait until they’re out of debt to get married. I don’t tell people they should wait until they’re debt-free to have children, either. Listen, you two love each other. You have a baby together, you live together and you’re trying to figure out a way to combine incomes and everything else – except the debt. Too late. That ship has sailed.
Here’s some arm-around-your-shoulder, old-man advice. The best thing for that baby, and the best thing for you and your boyfriend, is for you two to get married and combine your incomes, combine your lives – combine everything – and join it all so tight it cannot be torn apart. Then, go live a beautiful, glorious life together. Getting out of debt is part of the adventure. Raising that child together is part of the adventure. Waking up and looking at your husband when he starts to lose his hair is part of the adventure.
It’s very difficult legally and relationally to play house financially when you’re not married. You get into stupid arguments over who bought the mustard when you’re sharing the same bed. It’s just so inconsistent and incongruent. That’s the system you’re using now, but there are better things waiting for you.
I’m not being judgmental, Dakota. I just want good things – the best things – for you and your family.
Dave Ramsey is a seven-time #1 national best-selling author, personal finance expert, and host of The Ramsey Show, heard by more than 16 million listeners each week. He has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Today Show, Fox News, CNN, Fox Business, and many more. Since 1992, Dave has helped people regain control of their money, build wealth and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO for Ramsey Solutions.