I’m dating a man who is really exciting and fun, but he has well over $100,000 in debt. He has nice cars, a boat and he travels a lot, and he does it all on credit. He wants us to get married, but his view of money worries me. What should I do?
The fact that you’re worried about this situation means you realize that fun and exciting don’t necessarily translate into being wise. I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but your concern tells me that you two are from completely different planets when it comes to handling money. And that can be a death knell to a marriage.
Disagreements over money and finances are the number-one cause of marital strife and divorce in North America today. Fighting over debt and the stress brought on by financial problems will take a heavy toll on any relationship. When you’re not on the same page with how to handle your money, you’re not on the same page of life. How you spend your money says volumes about who you are, where your values lie, and what’s important to you.
This guy is fun because he’s impulsive and has a lot of toys. But the fact that he’s gone into debt for this lifestyle also means he’s a little boy and not a responsible man. And unless you guys can get on the same page with how money is handled, I would strongly advise not going forward with a wedding.
For this to get serious and turn into marriage material, one of you will have to change. Either he’ll have to straighten up and start behaving wisely with money, or you’ll have to agree to enjoy living deeply in debt.
Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He’s authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 5 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.