A man admitted that he’s torn about what to do after discovering that his future wife has a considerable amount of debt to her name.
In a TikTok video, George Camel — co-host of The Ramsey Show and Smart Money Happy Hour — received a call from a listener who revealed that he’s getting married soon, but is unsure if he should help his future wife pay off her debt.
The man wondered if he should use his savings to pay off his future wife’s $17,000 debt.
“My question is, my fiancée has some debt. Once we get married, do you recommend that I use up most of my nest egg to pay off her debt, or should we keep our nest in the bank and keep paying off her debt?” the unnamed man asked.
He explained that he and his future wife both have regular sources of income that they could use for paying off her debt. So far, he has $34,000 of his own savings in the bank. He maintained that his wife’s debt wouldn’t completely wipe out his savings, but that it was money he worked hard to earn and put away.
In response, Kamel agreed, validating that it would be an emotional thing to have to let that money go. However, he pointed out that once the couple gets married, all of her problems will become his — including her debt.
When Kamel asked the man if he was willing to use his savings to pay off her debt, the man replied, “Oh, 100 percent. It’s not even a second thought.” To which Kamel’s co-host replied, then “when you get home from that honeymoon, write a check and pay off her student loan.”
People were ablaze with opinions on what they would do if they were in a similar situation.
“I had $12k of debt. When I got married I was able to pay it off in one year since we now had two incomes. Just pay it slowly,” one TikTok user wrote.
Another user added, “My wife and I have separate accounts. Her debt and spending is hers and mine is mine. Joint account for mortgage, bills, and shared goods.”
“She will be making many sacrifices for him. That’s marriage. How you tackle the debt as a team is up to you, but it is now their debt,” a third user argued, while a fourth user agreed, writing, “One goal one dream! You pay off her debt, that’s your debt now too, you are a team and now you can also make it your business to make sure she doesn’t go into any more debt.”
In the United States alone, personal debt is at an all-time high of $14.96 trillion. The average American debt (per U.S. adult) is $58,604 and 77% of American households have at least some type of debt. Whether it’s student loans, mortgage or car loans, or anything in between, most people in this country have some sort of loan hanging over their heads, and it’s almost impossible to meet someone who doesn’t.
However, the decision to help a spouse pay off their debt is something you can only make on your own.
While joint debt can be a shared responsibility, the individual debts you bring into a relationship or marriage are ultimately yours to tackle. Of course, your partner can offer to help, especially if the debt is getting in the way of making life plans and starting a future together.
Whether or not someone decides to help pay off their partner’s loans, at the end of the day, it’s something that should be decided collaboratively. Each couple is different, and being able to find a balance between individual financial independence and shared responsibility will end up being the key to having a successful and harmonious relationship.
Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.