Peace Out and In

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Finances

Whose Debt is it Anyway? // On Being Married to Someone who has Massive Debt

I’ve written before about how Mr. POAI took out a massive amount of student loan debt. And I find it important to note that he’s always owned that it’s his debt. He doesn’t want it to affect me or the family.
One challenge is that it does affect me in a few ways. No matter what Mr. POAI earns, he pays and will pay a certain amount of his income to Navient each month for 20 years. In July he’ll have 2 years under his belt, so 18 more years. That decreases the amount he can contribute to the family or to his own retirement. (We have some separate and some shared accounts). Or it means that he has less money to spend on books, games, etc.
I admit that I worry about the debt quite a bit. I transfer Mr. POAI’s payment to Navient each month, and I see how the debt is accruing. I worry that in 18 more years, when the debt is forgiven and the amount forgiven is counted as income, we’ll have lots to pay in taxes. I say “we” because although it’s his debt, I just can’t see myself allowing him to eat all that cost.
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There are some positives about the debt too. One positive aspect of the debt is that researching how people deal with it has brought me to some amazing blogs and podcasts. I would likely have found some of these on my own when working on how I can retire early, but having massive student loan debt has driven me to seek out many more blogs than I would have.
Another kind-of positive aspect of the debt is that I am often thinking up ways to pay it down. So far I have not used any of my earnings to pay off the debt. I often think about it along with other solutions. So it keeps my mind going.
Finally, I have more understanding of how people get into massive debt. I care deeply for Mr. POAI and I see so many of his great qualities, so I understand how smart, generous people end up in debt in certain situations. This give me more compassion for those who deal with debt.
Are there any positives or negatives I’ve left out? How do you feel about your own or your spouse’s┬ádebt? Does anyone out there have grown kids who incurred lots of debt? Share in the comments below!
 
 

3 Comments

  1. Initially my wife stressed about the size of my student loan debt. She’s been more relaxed about it recently since the principal goes down a sizable amount each month (at least $2k, although the past few months it’s been going down more than $3k). Even though it’s totally debt I accrued, it’s both our responsibility, since we pretty much have intertwined financials at this point.

  2. Hi Joe,
    Thanks for the comment. I appreciate knowing how you and your wife deal with your student loan. It is so nice to see a loan go down so quickly.
    Part of my struggle is that we would have to pay $600 more a month than the payment Navient set just to keep the loan the same. So anything over that $600 plus the regular payment would bring the principle down if I’m understanding everything correctly.
    The loan “feels” like it’s both our responsibility in some ways, so we may be headed to what you and your wife do. We’ve got decisions to make! ~Jaye

  3. Hi Joe,
    Thanks for the comment. I appreciate knowing how you and your wife deal with your student loan. It is so nice to see a loan go down so quickly.
    Part of my struggle is that we would have to pay $600 more a month than the payment Navient set just to keep the loan the same. So anything over that $600 plus the regular payment would bring the principle down if I’m understanding everything correctly.
    The loan “feels” like it’s both our responsibility in some ways, so we may be headed to what you and your wife do. We’ve got decisions to make! ~Jaye

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