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Over the next few weeks we’ll be shining a light on how relationships and debt are intertwined.
As a debt counsellor I once put together a budget for a middle-aged single man who was entering a debt management plan (DMP). The man was happy he could live on the budget and the plan was all set to go ahead.
A couple of hours later he called back and spoke to a colleague who answered a few further questions he had.
The client was worried that if he met a lady friend he wouldn’t be able to get into a relationship because of his DMP! (Something we’ve discussed before here.)
My colleague assured him that a DMP didn’t mean he couldn’t have a girlfriend for the next five or six years. The gentleman was suitably relieved!
The best things in life are free
Working as a debt advisor it soon becomes clear that relationships and money are all very closely intertwined.
We’ve all seen cases where one family member has supported, or taken out credit for a partner. If these relationships breakdown it can mean that heartbreak and family tension can combine with debt problems.
We come across problems with joint finances so often that we’ve even dedicated a blogpost to who has to pay towards joint debts when a relationship ends.
When debt and divorce/separation collide there are often legal implications; a judge in a divorce court may grant certain things as long as one particular partner agrees to maintain a joint debt.
However if the joint debt isn’t maintained the creditors will chase both clients despite what’s written into any divorce agreement.
There are even some figures that suggest that divorce itself, or the end of a relationship is one of the biggest causes of problem debt. Ending a relationship is more expensive than starting one.
When you’re in a relationship finances can often be a contentious issue. It’s cliché to say that a lot of couple’s biggest cause for argument is money. We’d suggest it would be better to discuss these issues and make sure they’re out in the open; if arguments about money are increasing it’s a sign that something is wrong.
Love and money
Money is a terrible thing to fall out over, especially with a partner. Like all debt problems money isn’t usually an issue until a sudden change of circumstances. A happy household bringing in two salaries might turn less happy if one partner suddenly loses a job.
In a situation like this we’d recommend sitting down together to create an accurate and realistic budget, and we’d recommend seeking free and impartial advice from a debt charity like ourselves. We’d also recommend speaking to the relationship counselling service Relate, who are helping an increasing number of couples during the current recession.
Love and money are alike; they’re both a combustible mix. The devastation that the loss of one or the other can bring to families should not be underestimated, but as we see everyday problem debt has remedies. And as far as we know there are no ‘love reference’ agencies that record your relationship status for all to see and evaluate. Hearts, like credit files will mend given time.