Question: I have been dating this woman she has some stress from past debt, her job currently doesn’t cover her personal loans and credit card balance. How much of a concern should this be for us moving forward?
Answer: First off, I’m glad she’s being honest with you. If you’re serious about planning a future with this woman, she needs to show you she has changed the behavior that got her into debt in the first place before you can move forward. She is currently living above her means and if she doesn’t change her actions immediately it will keep getting worse. Money is the number one cause of failed relationships. Be careful not to rescue her. She needs to solve her financial problems for herself before she can participate as a partner. She should speak to a non-profit credit counseling agency. Credit.org is excellent. If she can demonstrate that she’s willing to develop a responsible budget and a plan to pay down her debt, then there might be hope for your future. But I have to be honest, you’d be crazy to move forward with a life with her before she straightens out her own. Energy is contagious. If she is stressed, she’ll pass that on to you. If you do move forward, talk about where you will live, who will pay what bills, and what each of your expectations are. I know in this economy a lot of really good people have gotten behind financially. But one of my favorite sayings is – nothing changes if nothing changes. You just need to make sure that history isn’t going to repeat itself.