{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Has anyone here committed to a partner who has significant debt? My partner of over a year has >$300K in debt from med school. She has since quit medicine, due to a toxic culture that sounds worse than biglaw. In the last year she started earning enough to refinance her loans into a 10-year horizon. I am fortunate to be debt free and am saving aggressively with the aim of making a down payment on a NYC apartment in the next 5 years. We would like to get married before owning property (cont)", "post_id": "60bd880a2481850020f805f1", "reply_count": 10, "vote_count": 5, "bowl_id": "5da60c126e5f0d001f32f497", "bowl_name": "Women in Law" }

Has anyone here committed to a partner who has significant debt? My partner of over a year has >$300K in debt from med school. She has since quit medicine, due to a toxic culture that sounds worse than biglaw. In the last year she started earning enough to refinance her loans into a 10-year horizon. I am fortunate to be debt free and am saving aggressively with the aim of making a down payment on a NYC apartment in the next 5 years. We would like to get married before owning property (cont)

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I mean, my fiancée and I both went to law school and have 150k+ each in debt so we are looking at about the same amounts. I don’t think you’ll be SOL by this. I understand being worried but it’s not like she racked up a shit ton in credit card debt. Go with your gut. If a prenup will make you feel better because of the debt then try to softly broach that topic.

likesmarthelpful

I’m on the other side of this. My husband married me knowing I have massive student loan debt from law school. I told him two weeks into dating and poor guy was floored. I told him we could do a prenup (we didn’t) and Im careful to keep separate bank accounts so not to commingle with his property money. Our property is in his name since he got better rates alone than with me. But I’m thankful he didn’t care much about the debt.

likehelpful

I think it depends on what you feel most comfortable with. My husband has $300k in loans, I am completely debt free. We both are attorneys. I had always said, I'd want a pre-nup, but, by the time we decided to get married, to me it really didn't matter! So, you might have to assess the facts against your feelings and instinct! I'd not commingle my inheritance though!

likehelpful

I would commit to a partner with that much debt only if he/she/they had a plan on how to handle it. It sounds like your partner has a plan and took steps to refinance her loans, which to me seems responsible. So I agree that this is different than just racking up tons of credit card debt over shopping habits

likehelpful

I am going to take the opposite opinion. I would be very hesitant about binding myself in that situation without some type of prenup or attack plan for her to get down the debt. The responsibility shouldn’t fall onto you. Also, I get wanting to quit because of toxic work culture, but like where was her head regarding her future and her potential significant other down the line? Money isn’t everything. However, your financial stability should be important now and later. I’m not saying don’t get involved, I’m saying be smart about it and see how they are going to plan to tackle this issue. What do they do now? Can they aggressively start paying? Is the interest out of control? These are also clues about how they may handle their finances. For me that would be a red flag, but to each their own. I am just glad you are happy. To find that is rare but ask yourself would you be happy taking on their debt too if they couldn’t pay?

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You mentioned that she is much older than you; seems like maybe that is also something that is weighing on you?

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I think you just have to communicate very openly and honestly (with the help of a therapist if desired/necessary), and come up with a plan... much like the rest of marriage. That may involve a prenup, it may not, depending on your conclusion. (I also think prenups can be a way to honor the love you have for each other now, by wanting to treat each other fairly if feelings change in the future.) My spouse is in grad school currently. I could probably afford to put my spouse through grad school, or at least partially, but I’m not doing that. They are taking out loans and I am carrying on with my financial goals (retirement, savings, paying down my own student loans, etc.). It kind of makes sense since student loans have a lower interest rate now than they did when I took mine out, but that’s not why we did it. I felt that my spouse should be responsible for their investment in their education, as I am. When my spouse has a job, we will recalibrate how we want to handle finances, but it will be through very open communication after thinking hard about what we both need to feel it is fair, and without resentment. That said, I do feel that we are a team after getting married. I will probably always make more than my spouse, and will probably always contribute more financially to the family. I’m okay with that. I have identified financial goals that are important to me. To the extent I can contribute to my spouse’s goals on top of mine, that is good news for our little family of 2.

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This.

My husband had significant school debt. I didn’t co-mingle money and have a prenup for our assets. He has since paid it off. It never really played a part in the grand financial scheme of things, I just knowingly paid for things more often than him, ie. bills, dinners, trips. Ultimately, he’s the love of my life and I take him over the pennies and dimes.

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(Cont:) and I have hesitations. I have never fallen in love with anyone so deeply, but I can't help but feel hesitant about committing to each other in light of the large financial goals I have. She had never considered the reality of owning property and had basically resigned herself to paying off her loans for the remainder of her life. She is also much older than I am. Has anyone accepted a similar situation with their partner? What kinds of conversations did you have prior to marriage?

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