Love and Money

Illustration by Dave van Patten

Love and Money: How to Handle Marrying Someone With Tons of Debt

John McDermott

Don’t wait until you’ve tied the knot before discussing your student loan burden

In 2001, Cary Carbonaro and her then-husband were on their way to buy a new car when he told her, “I can’t put the car in my name because of my credit.” Carbonaro was confused. The newlyweds were living in New York, and she was under the impression he was well-off financially — certainly not the kind of person who’d have trouble getting an auto loan.

Then he divulged he had $70,000 in unpaid student loans, at which point Carbonaro freaked out. “I felt horrible,” Carbonaro says. “I was taught by my family, especially my father, to pay every single bill on time. Good credit was of the utmost importance in my life.”

Carbonaro and her husband divorced in 2008.

“Its very hard to say if his debt broke us up because there were so many other things going on: verbal abuse, lying, cheating, stealing,” she says. “But learning about it was the moment I thought, This is not going to last.

Carbonaro’s was a rather extreme case of what she calls “financial infidelity”: lying to your partner about your financial situation. Her husband was an attorney and CPA who thought only “suckers” pay back their loans and concocted schemes to avoid his. But the experience of marrying someone with loads of debt and having that debt weigh heavily on their relationship is a common one — a situation that causes guilt and resentment in equal parts and, if left unaddressed, can ruin a relationship.

Talk about your debt before you get married

It’s far harder to deal with debt if the reveal comes after you’ve tied the knot. The deceit alone is enough to kill a relationship, says Carbonaro, now a financial adviser at United Capital and author of The Money Queen’s Guide: For Women Who Want to Build Wealth and Banish Fear. She suggests couples in this position seek marriage counseling (and that’s even before trying to reconcile any underlying money management differences).

Preferably, the indebted party initiates this conversation, says Oakland University professor Terri Orbuch, author of 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage From Good to Great. “The partner who is finding out about the other’s debt should feel free to ask questions, recognize whether it was a one-time situation or a general approach to money, and if their partner is trying to fix the situation,” Orbuch advises. The responses will indicate if the couple can effectively manage the debt together, or if their approaches to money are irreconcilable. After all, the single most important component of a successful, long-term relationship is having similar attitudes when it comes to money and finances, she adds.

Benjamin Van Loon, a 31-year-old PR professional in Chicago, learned about his wife’s $100,000 student debt load when they were still just college sweethearts. He briefly considered breaking up with over it, but the thought of losing her “terrified” him. After several frank discussions (and some fights), they resolved to work through it together, he says. They’re still married, and to date have paid off $80,000 of her (their) debt.

Avoid resentment

Key to dealing with a partner with loads of debt is learning how to avoid resenting them for the financial strain they’ve placed you on your relationship — and this can occur regardless of when the debt’s disclosed.

“Don,” a 31-year-old Kansas City resident, married a woman with nearly $130,000 in debt, most of it student loans from her undergraduate and master’s studies. Don’s wife didn’t spring this news on him after they tied the knot; she disclosed her massive debt load six months into their relationship, “after we got pretty serious,” Don says. But the revelation was still shocking.

“My first reaction was Holy shit, man. What the hell is going on?” he says. “I didn’t even know having that much debt was possible.”…



50% All New UK Homes In Next 5 Yrs Go To Muslims

One new home will need to be built every five minutes to house Britain's burgeoning migrant population, it has been revealed

One new home will need to be built every five minutes to house Britain’s burgeoning migrant population, it has been revealed

  • Britain will need to accommodate 243,000 new households each year
  • Net ­migration accounts for an estimated 45 per cent of this growth
  • 109,000 extra homes will be needed every year by migrants and their families 

Almost half of new homes built in the next five years will go to migrants, government figures have revealed.

Soaring immigration means that Britain will need to accommodate as many as 243,000 new households each year for the next 22 years, the Department for Communities and Local Government has said.

It is been estimated that an extra 5.3 million new properties could be needed to meet the growth in population, and an extra 2.4 million of the new homes will be needed for migrants alone.

This means that one new home needs to be built every five minutes to house Britain’s burgeoning migrant population. 

The group claims that as a conservative estimate, 300 homes a day will need to be built each day just to house the new arrivals, the Sunday Express reports.

Addressing the House of Lords, Lord Green said: ‘To put the point slightly more dramatically, that would mean building a new home every five minutes night and day, for new arrivals until such a time as we can get those numbers down.

‘I know there is a strong view in the House that there is a lot to be said for migration. All I am pointing out is that there are also costs.’

However, the estimates are based on projections of popular growth from 2014, which does not take into account Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, which is expected to reduce net migration by ending free movement.

But Migration Watch claims that the most recent projections are lower than actual net migration numbers, meaning housing demand from migrants has been underplayed.

It was also revealed that new immigration controls will have to be phased in after Brexit takes place raising fears it could take years for the number of new arrivals to fall.

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The self-help game

Resultado de imagem para Believe in better... Photo by Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty

Image edited by Web Investigator – Believe in better… Photo by Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty

Millions believe that pop psychology can change their tennis skills, their love life or their moods. Are they all wrong?

Rami Gabriel is associate professor of psychology in the Department of Humanities, History, and Social Sciences at Columbia College Chicago. He is the author of Why I Buy: Self, Taste, and Consumer Society in America (2013).

‘Double-fault!’… ‘Ju-ust out!’ Generally a calm man, I throw my tennis racquet against the thick green court curtains with disgust… Akh, the torture of tennis.

I make a dejected approach to shake hands with my supercilious nemesis on the occasion of another easy victory. Maybe he feels sorry for me this time so, while towelling off, he reveals his secret: he has been reading tennis self-help books and ‘hasn’t lost a set since’. I feel outraged: it’s like he was doping, but with ideas.

I never read books that purport to help those who read them to help themselves. Pardon my ivory tower accent, but with a psychology PhD and classes full of (admittedly, glazed-over) undergraduates to teach, there is no way I am going to read a self-help book; those books are, well, ahem… slightly beneath me.

At least that’s what I thought walking home that afternoon but, after yet another loss the following weekend, a slightly different consideration entered my mind: if these tennis books are bestsellers, then is there a chance that all the players who defeat me in my local club league have read them too? Nah, not possible – don’t all self-helpers live in California where they unlock their chi energy and eat chia seeds? The guys at the tennis club don’t ‘talk feelings’ – it’s unlikely they would entertain such drivel.

It was after my fourth consecutive 0-6 loss that I drove directly to a used bookstore and went native. My name is Dr Gabriel, and I used self-help.

How does a person assess that something is not working in his or her life? And how does that person decide on the best way to fix it? In our secular age, there is a plethora of choices, from ancient wisdom (religious) traditions and New Age wish-fulfilment brochures to scientific popular psychology books by bona fide psychologists. On the surface, these three avenues seem very different, but are they all just forms of magical thinking?

When brain scientists and analytical philosophers retreat from the public sphere into their complex and mostly incomprehensible journal literature, there is a danger that the role of wise man falls to the charlatan and the demagogue, in other words, authors of self-help books. The world of ‘knowledge’ is split between an academy that does not acknowledge the soul – or the importance of falling in love – and a publishing industry that offers whatever emotional solace gets books sold. The contrasting knowledge industries offer differing visions of control: academic psychology is Promethean, seeking to explain the human condition by the virtues of rational and empirical truth-seeking, while popular psychology has Narcissus as its model, providing superstitious rituals that depend upon the purportedly limitless power of the self.

I turned to tennis self-help because I was anxious about the efficiency of my game. Ultimately, I wasn’t even sure why I was pursuing this torturous pastime at all. I knew there was something wrong with the way I played (duh!), and I wanted to believe there was a way to fix it. I sought wisdom and, in buying the books, I believed I’d found a way to help myself. Looking back, I think I achieved some control over my game by believing in its controllability. Perhaps this is the clue.

Based on the bestsellers list, our aspirations constellate around becoming more efficient, falling in love, and making tons of dough

Self-help ­– including popular psychology – is a genre of books (not to mention seminars and videos) containing practical and ethical strategies for changing our behaviours and mental habits. They deliver principles that – with the requisite hope, practice and belief – promise to deliver control over our minds, which in turn helps us to achieve our aspirations. The self-help movement is, in many ways, a continuation of – and maybe a contemporary substitute for – ancient traditional wisdom. These books inspire and educate millions of people with personal anecdotes that read like profound moral fables. From this literature, we get formulas both prescriptive (‘you ought to stop picking your nose on first dates’) and descriptive (‘look how great Tony Robbins is, he never picks his nose’). In our post-Gladwell age of publishing, they increasingly include smatterings of statistics to keep the narrative grounded.

Recurring themes in popular psychology include: the utopia of therapeutic recovery; the importance of positive thinking; the attainability of happiness; and the possibility of transforming the self (I wonder if Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s estate gets royalties from the industry?). The goal of this literature seems to be a miraculous attainment of one’s sought-after aspirations – and, of course, a blissed-out, sustained, state of happiness. Along with my colleague Sean Victory, I undertook a review of 40 traditional self-help bestsellers in the United States, with a focus on books published since 2001; previous eras are well-covered in Steven Starker’s Oracle at the Supermarket (2002). If one were to make a blanket statement based on consulting the bestsellers list, our aspirations constellate around becoming more efficient, falling in love, and making tons of dough…