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Married=responsible for my wife's student loans?

Discussion in 'Finance and Investment' started by mtDNA, Feb 9, 2009.

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  1. mtDNA

    mtDNA Senior Member

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    Hey guys, I am a 3rd year med student who is engaged. My fiance has $100,000 in debt from student loans that she will never be able to repay. My question is this: When we are married, will I have to pay back her loans? if I dont, will my credit be ruined?

    and if the answer is yes, I do need to pay for her loans, my next question is is it possible to set up some kind of prenuptial agreement to make things different? I just feel like I should not be responsible for paying back all of this debt, especially since I will have a ton of debt from my own schooling as it is. My fiance agrees that she does not think I should be responsible for this, and she is on board for a prenup if necessary.

    I guess I am just hoping that one of us can manage to have good credit...
  2. Sol Rosenberg

    Sol Rosenberg Long Live the New Flesh!

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    No. This is a good reason to not co-mingle debts (even when you are married.) Only the named debtor is liable for the agreements that he/she enters into.

    You do realize that student loan debt (the Federally guaranteed type, at least) NEVER goes away. So, if you ignore her debt, it will ALWAYS be there on here credit report. It doesn't go away after 7 years, it can't be discharged by bankruptcy, etc. Ignoring it is not a good idea, IMHO.
  3. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member

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    It is a debt incurred before the marriage, it's a student loan, and it's in her name. You are not liable for it. However, be careful, as was mentioned co-mingling debts because then you will be liable for it. Also, don't let her switch them off on to a credit card or something (same deal).

    Can't ignore them. I think the reasonable thing to do is expect her to work to meet payments.
    PhoenixFire likes this.
  4. TMP-SMX

    TMP-SMX Senior Member Moderator Emeritus

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    No you aren't liable in the case that she can't pay, but it is in your best interest to help her pay everything off if you plan on staying with her as when applying for things like mortgages both of your credit scores matter. She should definitely always make minimum payments.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2009
    PhoenixFire likes this.
  5. DrJD

    DrJD Junior Member

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    I'm sorry but I'm just going to throw out there that if you aren't even married yet and you don't want to "pay off her debt" maybe you shouldn't be getting married... The whole idea is once you get married you share the good and the bad...

    Just my 2 cents on that...

    From a legal standpoint though, be careful about what state you get married in. Marriage laws are on a state by state basis so check in to your state laws to make sure that what the above posters say are true for you.
    PhoenixFire and peonies3030 like this.
  6. foil

    foil Junior Member

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    ( When we are married, will I have to pay back her loans? )

    Yes!!!!!!!!!

    After 28 years of this togetherness, I can safely say you will be paying for it one way or another...........especially when she starts to crank out kids,.............will you say, "Those are your debts , Honey?"

    Well then , you must accept her with all her debts and all her unknown issues that will eventually surface, or
    b) Marry an RN
    c) Don't get married

    Not getting married is not a bad option...........you'll have to find an older gal.


    foil
  7. mtDNA

    mtDNA Senior Member

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    What are the consequences if she does default? I looked this up, and it looks to me like if it went to collections, her credit would be bad, and her wages could get garnished up to 15%. But I am thinking, couldn't we still live good using my credit (which, I am hoping is still good, if I am not legally responsible for this debt)? And I don't think the garnishing of her wages would matter, because 15% of 0 is 0, and if she is still working, 15% of a very small amount is...well you get the idea.

    What am I missing here?
  8. foil

    foil Junior Member

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    (What am I missing here?)


    Wisdom


    It's just plain wrong not paying off your debt,
    It's heavy karma
    and bad Mombo

    Can you afford that?
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2009
  9. JStephens

    JStephens

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    She can never hold a government job if she defaults (if any of them are federal loans) and there are a few other consequences. It's a pretty dead beat thing to do IMO unless circumstances dictate that she isn't able to work to pay them off. No, they can't come after you for debt she had on her own. Why is it that she isn't every going to be able to pay this debt off?
  10. error404

    error404 file not found

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    Also curious as to how she accumulated 100k of debt but can't make a dent in it...

    Prenups. Get one. They're painful to go through, expensive, and require you to each have a lawyer representing you. But they're worth it, in terms of (a) having full disclosure and communication about assets/debts ahead of time, (b) ensuring that you'll have rights in the event things don't work out in candyland, and (c) preloading some of the financial strain so you can feel more secure and amicable later, regardless of how things work out.

    But yes. Most importantly, she should recognize how hard you're working to pay off your own loans, and take responsibility for her own. (Unless she's disabled or somethin'.) It just seems like respect to me.
  11. dragonfly99

    dragonfly99

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    It's wrong not to pay off student loans. If she doesn't, then the rest of us in society have to take up the slack for her. At least she should try.
    For cryin' out loud, I've been paying off my 130k in student loans on a resident salary, so I don't see why she can't get a job for 40k/year and be paying off hers. I'm sorry, but unless she isn't able-bodied or has some other handicap, I don't think that is right for her to just try to get out of her loans...and yes, it will ruin her credit if she does.
  12. yadayadadude

    yadayadadude

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    This is absurd. 30 year payments on $100K at 6.8% are about $650/month. I refuse to believe that this woman can't earn $650/month. That's a half time job at Starbucks, for crying out loud. Suck it up and pay if off.

    Of course, if she ill or disabled, that is another story. I believe that federal student loans have a provision that allows for dischage in the event of permanent disability, but I don't know the details.
  13. mtDNA

    mtDNA Senior Member

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    I agree, and we have already discussed the prenup, and she has agreed to it, so I am thinking it shouldn't be too painful.

    You guys make a good point, that it would be easy for her to pay off if she has a job at a starbucks or something and is able to throw all of her income at the debt, but the problem is that she is in forebearance right now, which will only last 3 years, and I will be in my 2nd year of residency when the forebearance expires, and I don't see how she will be able to throw all of her income at the debt when we are still very poor. Also, interest is accruing during forebearance, so the debt will be even worse. I would like for her to avoid defaulting on the loan if possible, but I don't see a way right now is the problem.
  14. yadayadadude

    yadayadadude

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    I may be missing something here (and if so, I apologize), but if you're a resident and she's working full-time and you guys can't cover your living expenses ... then she gets a second part-time job. Or a better job. Or you explore the myriad income contingient/sensitive/based options for loan repayment. Something isn't adding up for me ... even if her income is miniscule, your total household income must be $60-70K? More? Why is it impossible to make minimum payments on these loans?

    Normal people wouldn't look at this situation and say, "Well, I guess we'll never pay it off and that's that."
  15. dpmd

    dpmd Relaxing

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    It's called living frugally, and taking responsibility for what you owe. The student loan people will generally bend over backwards in terms of payment arrangements. Mortgage lenders, car loan people, and credit card people are not as lenient, but even they will attempt to work with you if you present your situation and propose an arrangement then follow it as proposed. Plan for this by setting aside some money for the loans even when they are in forebearance (paying some of the interest along the way will help with the ultimate amount you end up paying). You may not be legally liable for the debt, but if you plan to use her income to qualify for any kind of credit purchase, they are also going to look at her credit.

    What is the interest rate or rates for her loans?
  16. ShadyMedicine

    ShadyMedicine

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    I think there is some wording in the loan that states "if you feel like you do not want to pay this back at some point, feel free not to."

    I have to say this thread is beyond ridiculous. :rolleyes: It sounds like your woman does not want to work. Wake up call: she shouldn't have taken out the loans if she never intended to actually work (gasp!) to pay them back.

    It sounds like you guys have already decided NOT to pay the loan money back and are just asking for validation or "what's the worst that could happen." :thumbdown:thumbdown:thumbdown: Sorry that paying back a loan is getting in the way of your life...I can't believe this is an actual thread. :laugh:

    Sounds like the "entitled" mentality that gets tagged on our generation.

  17. foil

    foil Junior Member

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    (Sounds like the "entitled" mentality)

    :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
  18. Sol Rosenberg

    Sol Rosenberg Long Live the New Flesh!

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  19. nontrdgsbuiucmd

    nontrdgsbuiucmd

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    suggestion would be to put your future house and other assets in your name only so that they can't be attached.

    points made here are good in general, I'm writing as a person with a spouse w/large student loans, too. The issue that's missed is the reality of how little you will have take home pay as a physician after taxes. Say you're a primary care physician @ 170,000 per year compensation for your own practice, living in a state w/5% state income tax, 1 child that spouse stays home to watch.

    170,000 income
    (16,000) social security - 15.2% on first 106K including employee/employer "contribution",
    (8,000) state income tax (5% of 162K - no tax on "employer" soc. sec contribution)
    (32,400) fed tax - estimated total tax rate is 20%, this will depend on deductions
    (37,000) student loan contributions - this includes 200K med student + 100K spouse student loan, spouse loan has grown to 155K by year 7 when it begins to be paid back.

    Take out 2 normal car loans (550 each per month) and a 300K mortgage, around the average value of a house in many metro areas, and you're left w/3K per month for utilities, food, insurance, gas, phone, cable, etc.

    Which may sound like a fair amount, but this assumes no $$ put aside for kids' college, your retirement, vacations, kids school if one values private education.

    And then you start to think.. wait a minute, I'm paying really high taxes because I'm rich. But I'm not rich because I have to pay back these loans to the government, which is the same entity that's collecting the taxes. And I'm paying the taxes partially to assist others with many social programs that I'll never use, because I worked so hard to get through med school for so many years. And societal pressure seems to indicate tax rates on "the rich" will be going up, although 38% of households have no federal tax liability now so even my 3K per month left over will probably go down.

    Yes one is legally obligated to pay this stuff back. But garnishment and debt collection law recognizes that it would not work to try to collect the entire due amount up front, which is the reason for limiting the percentage of income that can be garnished at 15 or 25% or so. (otherwise the person would have no incentive to work if most of their compensation went to pay the entity owed)
  20. cpants

    cpants Member

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    Yeah, the debt burden can be extremely high. However, that is a product of the choices the person and his spouse made. Debt could have been reduced by attending state schools, or not attending college at all if you intend to be a stay at home mom (I know that's probably gonna catch me some grief, but really is it worth it to spend 100k on an education you aren't going to use?). The wife could work, increasing household income. They could get cheaper, used cars, and generally live frugally until the debt is more manageable. Also, paying at that rate will make the loans disappear in 10-15 years, at which point college, retirement savings can pick up in earnest. Even the 3k/month is not so hard to live on, especially considering that taxes and housing and car costs are already deducted. Many, many Americans live on less than that, pre-tax, pre-rent, and pre-student loan payment. Defaulting on the loans really isn't an option. They won't disappear.

    Also, I have heard that many doctors put houses, cars and other big possessions in the spouse's name, as an added shield from litigation.
  21. chocomorsel

    chocomorsel Senior Member

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    I agree with most of the above posters. Your wife is just trying to get out of paying off her loans. And as a resident you are not going to be that damn poor unless you have like 2-4 kids and your wife stays home to take care of them. In any case, I know many residents who have that situation and still surviving just fine. So have your lazy ass, irresponsible wife get a damn job and pay off her loans so that the younger incoming students can keep borrowing from the government. I believe that's how the whole system works in case you don't know. At least that is what my school told us and it makes sense. We, the graduated borrower's, get jobs and pay up what we owe in order to free up funds for the students behind us. What is your wife looking for a friggin' bailout? Stop looking for excuses and have her ass take some damn responsibility. That's is what's wrong with America these days. Too many people not wanting to take responsibility for messes they've created.
  22. gstrub

    gstrub Member

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    In case you haven't figured it out, we're trying to tell you that your wife should pay her loans back, with your help, you idiotic douchebags.
  23. michaelrack

    michaelrack All In at the wrong time SDN Advisor

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    However, without the college education, she probably wouldn't be marrying a medical student. Without the college education, she probably would've married someone with lower economic prospects, ended up in a low paying job, and would be wishing that she had a college education so she could get a better job. It's kind of a Catch 22 situation

    "In case you haven't figured it out, we're trying to tell you that your wife should pay her loans back, with your help, you idiotic douchebags"

    Agree with this.
  24. rrapkins

    rrapkins

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    Here is a simple answer:

    As of July 2010, if you file your taxes separately, your spouse will be eligible for for reduced payments -- and your future income will not be taken into consideration.

    "If you are married and both you and your spouse have student loans, as of July 1, 2010, the IBR formula will consider you and your spouse’s joint federal student loan debt as well as your joint income if you file taxes jointly. If you are married, but file income taxes separately, only your income will be counted in determining the IBR repayment amount."

    A nice summary of this is at http://www.finaid.org/loans/ibr.phtml

    Also, even if she stays low income for the rest of her life, if she continues to make low, income-based payments for 25 years, the loan will be forgiven. It's 10 years if she is in public service, a teacher or in non-profit.

    Hope this helps.
  25. randomedstudent

    randomedstudent Member

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    In most areas of the country, save NYC, west coast, a couple should be able to easily live on a resident's salary alone. Given your unenviable situation, you might have to take this into account when applying for/choosing residency programs. My husband and I are both residents but we live on only one salary and use the other to pay off our student loans (full payment, not income-based) and save the rest. We live in the midwest - we actually could easily lower our expenses if needed but obviously we don't need to - eg. we live in a house but could rent an apt for half what our mortgage payment is, we could cut back on cable, eating out, etc. It is very doable, we basically don't restrict ourselves in any way currently and still save money.

    You can do income based repayment during residency which I believe is never more than like $300/month so this shouldn't really break you. So your fiancee should still be able to get a job, any job, even part time and pay her loans and likely still have some left over to contribute to the household. Just out of curiosity what is she doing right now? If it is possible for her to get any kind of job now and get the loans out of forebearance and start paying on them rather than continuing to accrue interest I would recommend that.

    Oh wow, didn't realize this thread was a year old, I presume the OP will not see my comment ;)
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2011
  26. chris03333

    chris03333 Veterinarian

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    When you are married, your credit scores are linked.
  27. tkim

    tkim D-d-d-dilaudid

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  28. touchadream

    touchadream

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    Marry an RN! What are you saying? Marry in investment banker, or at least a dermatologist or something...
  29. Oldcrabby

    Oldcrabby

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    You are going to be a doctor pulling down easily a six figure income, possibly seven if you become a specialist and you "don't want to pay you wife's student loan?" Gimme a break. This is why the rich need to taxed, and why estate taxes need to be enforced, to keep the rest of us from paying wealthy scammers debts! And you want to be a doctor with a huge moral lapse like this? I pity the people that end up under you care. Grow a pair and pay the debt. SHEESH!
  30. dynx

    dynx Yankee Imperialist

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    This is a riot.
    Here we go.
    1. If you get divorced with an iron clad pre-nup then she is literally up **** creek without a paddle...MOUNTAINS of debt (interest pluss fees over the entire time she ignores the loan) and no credit to start her life over with. You'll basically destroy her, not that anyone plans on getting a divorce.
    2. If your pre-nup is not the best and she decides not to be nice to you she'll rape your ass in court. She needs to live, never had a job, has no credit to get a place to live...guess who's job it is to pay for all that now? You.

    Either of the above situations would be just fine with me.

    In addition...
    3. Want to file taxes together to lower your taxable income? sorry, they'll garnish your tax return for student loans.
    4. Thinking of collecting social security for your wife one day? whoops...they'll garnish that too.
    5. You could wait 20 years for the debt to explode to lets say 500k (im just pulling numbers out of my ass here) NOW the gov. decides that YOU have enough money to pay them so they sue you. There is no statute of limitations on them suing for student loan repayment. You may win if its all her debt but you'll have to pay to fight the case and you may lose.
    6. you get wacked by a car and die at the age of 55! All that money you were going to leave to your wife and kids....GONE! Thats right, as soon as it became hers they snatched up 10 times what you would have owed them just paying it off.

    Anyway, good luck!
    lovelybones likes this.
  31. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member

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    Speaking of entitlement!!! So after you pay off your 300,000 mortgage (way above average, by the way for a home price) and two way above average cars ($550 a month each), you only have 3K a month left? Oh no!!! How 'bout this. . . buy a 150K house buy used cars (hell, my wife's car has a $170 a month bill attached to it monthly) while you pay off YOUR freakin' debt. Other people didn't force you to go to medical school or your spouse to rack up 100K in debt doing whatever (in the OP's case, apparently nothing useful). People really are morally bankrupt. Amazing.
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  32. tkim

    tkim D-d-d-dilaudid

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    Above average home price for where.
  33. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member

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    USA and even most large cities in the US. Besides, if you can't afford an average home, say in San Francisco, well then either live in a cheaper than average home or move. Don't welch on your obligations and pawn it off on others because you want to live a certain lifestyle.
  34. tkim

    tkim D-d-d-dilaudid

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    http://money.cnn.com/pf/features/lists/nar_4q/price.html

    The median price for a house in SF is $656,700.

    You were saying?
  35. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member

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    . . . to not live in San Francisco. I said the median price of a home in the US is well below 300K and that this is true in most cities. I mentioned San Francisco as an example of a city where this is not the case. A physician just out of school would have a hard time buying a home in Beverly Hills too. Answer: Don't live in Beverly Hills. Pretty easy, yes?
  36. tkim

    tkim D-d-d-dilaudid

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    http://www.realestateabc.com/outlook/overall.htm

    The median home price, the point at which half of all homes are sold for more and half are sold for less, rose in all regions on a monthly basis.

    In the Northeast, the median price rose to $261,100 from $241,500 in May, and it was up 3.1 percent over June 2010.

    The median price in the Midwest rose to $147,700 from $136,400 in May, but fell 5.3 percent from the previous year.

    In the South, the price rose to $159,100 in June from $149,200, and slipped just 0.1 percent in a year-over-year comparison.

    The median price in the West jumped up to $240,400 from $192,300 in May and grew 9.5 percent from last year.

    ---

    So I guess all physicians must move to the midwest and the south.
  37. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member

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    No not all, and notice your medians were all well below 300k and there is also nothing that says you have to buy a house above median values. In the example I responded to, the individual mentioned 300k of school debt. A 300k home is not a need. A car payment of 1100 a month for that couple is not a need. Those are extravagances, and financially kind of stupid. Certainly there are ways to get thru school without that kind of debt. These are choices.
  38. tkim

    tkim D-d-d-dilaudid

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    So where's the indignation coming from? The moral outrage and accusation of someone not paying off their loans coming from? I don't recall the poster mentioned anything about defaulting.
  39. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member

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    It seemed to me that he advised the op in how to avoid attaching himself to her credit default issues and then explained how he felt it to be justifiable (e.g. Tax burden, the cost of a 300k house and car, etc...). If I've misinterpreted, fine, but I doubt it.
  40. tkim

    tkim D-d-d-dilaudid

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    Two and a half years ago.
  41. voidlogin

    voidlogin

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    So from the wife's point of view, getting a college degree, even if she'll never do anything with it was a damn good investment. The husband may be a tool, but the wife is smart and a savvy investor. :laugh:
  42. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member

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    In the scope of the age of the universe, he might as well as shouted it in my face. :)

    Besides, I did not bump the thread.
  43. mrwesticles

    mrwesticles

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    Man, there are some obvious issues here. You are saying that you are marrying her, yet she has debts that she will "never be able to pay off" herself? You are going to end up paying off her debts one way or another if you are planning on being together forever...

    Sorry if I'm misguided, it just seems weird to plan on her defaulting.
  44. SEAirLand

    SEAirLand

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    I'm 39, married and just took my DAT. I've owned my own business and been in the military.

    This thread sickens me.

    1st off, the OP is basically saying, "hey, for the good stuff, I will marry you, for the bad stuff like your debt, its yours. Don't count on me with that!"

    First and foremost, you get married and you are a team. She didn't wake up one day and suddenly have the debt. You knew about it before you proposed. Secondly, if she has a degree, she needs to work and partake in the team and contribute.

    2nd thing, skimp on your debt?? What kind of crap is that? It's called being accountable and responsible for you're decisions. Grow up.

    3rd, the poster that outlined his "reasonable and average" costs. $550 per car? $300k mortgage? And at the end of the list you have $3000 in money to spend on utilities, food, gas, etc? PAY YOUR DEBT! Get rid of a car, buy one with cash so there is no debt, and be responsible.

    Just because you make it through medical school doesn't make you eligible for easy street.

    Just pathetic.
    lovelybones likes this.
  45. fsummer

    fsummer

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2011
    Messages:
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    Status:
    Medical Student
    SO i am stuck in a very strange situation...

    I just graduated med school. still looking to match into residency. hopefully this year, fingers crossed. im drowning in a HUGE amount of medical school debt, as most of us usually are. ( 6 figures to be precise)

    My fiance ( almost), who is not in the medical field, but is making a 6-figure salary himself, in texas, is a having a huge problem with my debt. He believes that it should be paid off BEFORE we get married. He knows that my loan will not become his responsibility, but says that if we were to go and buy a house or car etc, that my credit/debt would be looked at and would hurt matters. That, even if we were to buy it on his name ONLY, my credit/debt would still be looked at and affect us negatively. How true is this?
    Also:
    1. how am i supposed to pay it off such a huge amount of debt before residency? ( He knows I am applying and trying to get residency and after residency will have no problem paying it off)
    2. My debt will not affect him and his finances as far as i am concerned and from the research i have done, correct?
    3. Fortunately, if worse case scenario hits, I have family who have savings and will have no problem helping me pay it off later, if I ever need the help. They are my back-up, in a worse case scenario. BUT he insists I have my family pay it off NOW before we get married, or else we dont get married...does that even make sense? What kind of demand is that?
    4. I kinda feel he wants the loan/debt to be gone so that when i do start making a decent living, it will go towards our common bank account, which would benefit him too. Meaning I kinda feel hes all about the money, rather than marrying me for me..? Doesnt it kinda sound like that too?
  46. tkim

    tkim D-d-d-dilaudid

    Joined:
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    Physician SDN 10+ Year Member
    Focusing too much about the money and not you. Find someone else.
  47. dpmd

    dpmd Relaxing

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    It does sound fishy, although if all he was saying was let's wait until you are in better financial shape I would think it was just his way of protecting himself (if your debt was from other sources like credit card I wouldn't think twice about him not wanting to get saddled with it, so I can understand someone being reluctant about this kind of debt even though everyone with big student loans thinks of them as different than bad debt). The fact that he is insisting your family pay off your loans instead of just delaying (or getting a prenup to protect himself) has an air of controlling nature that would also be a big flag.
  48. Jon Snow

    Jon Snow Senior Member

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    SDN 7+ Year Member
    No, it doesn't make sense. Though I can understand his fear of the debt. Those are big numbers. And, perhaps he sees a risk in that if the marriage doesn't work he may be left with half of it. Make it clear that legally student loan debt is not marital property. Could even put together a prenup and explicitly state it.



    sound like there may be some significant trust issues in the relationship. other than this money issue, how is the relationship? how long have you been together/known each other? Is he nice to you? Fights/arguments, is there name calling, insults? do you feel heard?
  49. fsummer

    fsummer

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    6
    Status:
    Medical Student
    I agree, this was my initial reaction too.
  50. schamj01

    schamj01

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
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    Location:
    West Lafayette, IN
    Status:
    Pharmacy Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    hmmmm...I would seriously evaluate the state of your relationship. I got married to my wife during undergrad, and encouraged her to quit school since she was totally unsure of what she was doing. Now, because her parents pushed her into college she had racked up about 35k of debt. I knew this before we got married, and also knew that my ultimate goal for her (and her goal for her too) was for her to be a stay at home mom. Now, I still have about 10k of that debt left to pay 3 years later, but I have never once complained to her. I don't understand why money comes between two people who are supposed to love each other "for richer for poorer, till death do us part". Don't get me wrong, money is essential; I just don't ever think it's more important than your spouse.


    All that to say, marry someone who is going to put YOU first, in all things. When a marriage is a give-give, it tends to work much better than when one person gives and the other takes. Also, remember that love is a choice along with marriage. If you marry this guy (who, BTW kinda is sounding like more of a jerk than a guy, the way you're describing him) that choice could have some rough consequences for you. If he makes the intentional choice of truly loving you, he could look past the paltry debt issue.

    EDIT: I do wonder if the OP ever did get married to this girl, BTW...
    PhoenixFire likes this.

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