The following was inspired by the article, “Ready for the Marriage Apocalypse?”
I hate student loans. HATE THEM! If there was one thing I could do different in life, it would be to attend one of the colleges that offered me a full scholarship instead of the one that offered me a partial scholarship for my first degree. Due to that decision, I’m still paying on student loans (I hope to be done by the end of next year). I graduated from college with my first degree in 2007. That was the last year that the economy was somewhat manageable, and people were still able to get jobs. Soon after graduation, I was offered a great job with one of the best healthcare systems in Atlanta, GA. That job helped me be financially independent from my parents, establish myself, and pay the
devil student loan company. It was hard at times, especially when I wanted to pay double or triple the amount on my student loan payment. In order to do so, that mean I had to sacrifice. I wasn’t always able to party or go on that trip to the island. I believe in taking care of my priorities before my indulgences. Since then, I’ve been able to pay off a large amount, but I still have more to pay. Going through that made me reluctant about going back to school, but I’m fortunate enough to have received a full scholarship for my nursing education. If I hadn’t have received the scholarship, I know I wouldn’t have went to nursing school.
Hubby, on the other hand, didn’t have to go through this. He was fortunate to have a family that was financially able to provide the monies for his education, as well as finance a car and an apartment. Due to that, he doesn’t have any student loan debt. After college, he was able to advance further financially with investments and savings. He obtained a master’s degree without worrying about how to finance it. He was also able to travel more and live without the worry about paying that monthly payment to Sallie Mae and ‘em. Although he doesn’t like to admit it, he was privileged. It’s a great reality, but it’s not the reality of many people.
When we got engaged, I was happy. My elation then turned into worry because I feared bringing my student loan debt into our marriage. In my world, I wanted to have all of my student loan debt paid off before I got married. I wanted to put off the marriage until all my debt was paid off, but my husband didn’t want to. Instead, we sat down together and put our finances on the table. We were both open and honest about our monies, and we formalized a plan. That made me feel better, but I would’ve still preferred to have my student loan debt $0.00 by the time our wedding came.
I can empathize with those students in the video of the article. I too am a “millennial,” and I will admit that this generation is financially f*^&#d. No one wants to start off a marriage with debt. This encumbering debt is one of the main reasons why the younger generations aren’t marrying as quickly as generations before. They simply can’t afford to. People these days are graduating with student loan debt +$50,000, and that’s just for one degree. My debt is less than $10,000 (thanks to faithfully paying on it), and to me that’s too much. I could only imagine what I would feel like with a whole lot more debt. With debt of that magnitude, who is thinking of getting married? Hardly anyone! People are thinking about how to pay off their debt with the quickness. Ain’t nobody got time for being broke, let alone being broke with another broke person. In this case, two negatives don’t equal a positive.
I still support marriage because I feel as though it’s the foundation for good family values in addition to other benefits. It also makes life easier when you have a supporting lifelong partner. However, I’m also empathetic to those who don’t want to go into a marriage broke. My advice: Pay off as much as you can before you get married. Get your “financial house” in order before you seek a life partner. Get your credit straight, obtain a steady income, and be cognizant of your spending habits. If you are dating someone who you’re serious about and want to marry that person, sit down together and be honest about your finances. Yes, talk about money!!!! There is no shame in doing so. Shame comes in when you get married and your spouse finds out the truth and wants to leave you because you lied. If your partner doesn’t want to do that, then you need to really need to reassess your relationship and possibly leave. What happens in the dark will come to the light, and this true about money. Both parties need to be willing to open up about their finances and spending practices. Marriage can be volatile at times, and money problems will certainly do damage.
Don’t let that money continue to be funny when you say your “I Do’s.”