Put It All Out There
As you all know I'm planning (hoping) to go to law school. Right now it looks like I won't be starting until Fall 2013. I'm hoping for some merit scholarship money but if not, then need-based aid. It's stressful because we are not married and so we have to treat our finances separately (but combined in our minds).
You guys also know that we are trying to buy a condo together and so we will be adding more debt to his school loan debt, and then when I start law school, we'll be adding more debt. It's pretty scary to think of how much debt we will be swimming in, but together we discuss this and know that we have to work with each other to figure out the best way to approach this.
BF has a lot of school loan debt right now which he is trying to pay off and also trying to lower his income by trying to max out his roth IRA, 401k and make use of other tax deductions so that his monthly payments won't be astronomical. The IBR program says that if you don't pay it off the school loan within 25 years (I think) then the loan is forgiven, but you also have to show that you can't afford it each year. I'm not too familiar with it since I do not have any school loans.
He brought up the fact that we should not get married before I go to law school so that I can qualify for need-based aid. I agree with this so that's not a big issue. But we also have to think of the future when we will get married, and we still have to show that our combined income is still low enough so that the monthly payments for his loans won't be $1,300/month. That's more than our potential mortgage payment and that doesn't include my monthly payment for my future school loans. I'm crying inside.
Listen to Each Other
|can't find a source from pinterest :(|
It's important to listen to your partner and make sure that you understand their intentions before blowing up, which is something I have to work on, but I'm glad I was able to stay cool and calm when he said this, although I felt myself getting angry.
My first thoughts were selfish thoughts, such as "Why does he get to save for retirement and not me?" and "Why do I have to pay for the daily expenses?", but I also remembered that we are a team and we have to work on this together. I can't just continue on my merry little way and plan my future without him because let's face it, he IS part of my future and his debt will be my debt, his money is my money and vice versa.
Formulate and Strategize
As we discussed it more, we agreed that yes, we can't make any decisions right now but we will sit down and formulate a strategy to make sure we are maximizing our money and not just paying a ton of interest while saving a lot for retirement and stocks. You have to look at the whole picture and see where you can save money the most. Money is money, and you have to make it work for you. You can't expect it to just grow on it's own while paying down debt as fast as you want (unless you have unlimited amount of funds but sadly we don't). That would of course be the best option.
Our whole perspective on this comes from the fact that we are looking at the worst possible situation. We are basing this plan off the scenario that we will stay at our current salaries with no raises and we even thought of the scenario of living on just one salary (his). It's better to think of the worst possible situation so you are ready for whatever comes your way. We want a house (but it doesn't have to be huge) and we want kids. We want them to enjoy their lives and we want them to go to college with as much help as possible from us. We want to go on vacations and we want to buy lots of property. We want to retire comfortably. As long as we are on the same page for the future, then there is no reason to get angry or frustrated. I think that was the most important part of this for me.
Sorry for the long post but it's nice to just vent about relationship financial issues. When I was talking with the BF, I remembered Erika and her husband over at Newlyweds on a Budget and how they deal with their money fights. They're a team and they inspire me, because they are so similar to us! I hope this inspires you if you are having any relationship issues relating to money.