This was the topic of conversation between my mom and I today. This conversation got me to thinking about debt and marriage. The expectations that we as married couples have put on ourselves to live a certain lifestyle in which we accumulate, as much debt as our credit line will allow and then spend the rest of our lives paying it off is completely crazy.
When I first became engaged everything was roses, sunshine and bunnies. This feeling was quickly replaced by the planning of our wedding and honeymoon and the money we would have to save to pay for this dream. I realized while planning my wedding that this event is not entirely about us, it’s about celebrating our love with our family and friends, as well as showing off the amount of money we have spent. We were expected to have a certain kind of wedding. My grandma had dreams, my bridesmaids had their opinions, and everyone else came to see a show filled with free food and drinks.
After the wedding and the honeymoon, the real debt talk started. “When are you going to purchase a home?” “When are you going to purchase a new car?” “When are you going to have kids?” For some odd reason because I was married my 2003 Mazda Tribute was no longer good enough for me, our 1/1 apartment was too cramped for our things and it was time to spread out and buy a house, and obviously our house was so quiet that it now needed to be filled with kids and a dog.
Call me a conspiracy theorist, but when did getting married equal more debt? Why when you jump the broom everything you own is no longer good enough? You have to replace all of your old things with shiny new toys with higher price tags. Society has put an expectation on young married couples to travel to exotic places, purchase new homes and cars, have a lavish wedding, and have at least 2 kids.
Don’t get me wrong, this is pressure we have put on ourselves; through social media, movies and TV shows that we believe we must have it all right now. There are times I feel as though my husband and I are not trying hard enough to show people we are building a strong financial unit because hardly anything in our lives are new and shiny. We have $58,000 in debt with student loans, credit cards, and a car payment; to me this is one of the main focuses of our marriage. While we would like to have new things we have agreed to minimize our debt right now and not add to it. We have come to the conclusion that this is the amount of debt that we are okay with handling. Not because our family and friends have affirmed this but because being okay with our level of debt as a married couple is more important to our long-term financial planning.
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