Ask Farnoosh: How to Help My S.O. with His Debt?


Welcome to our Mint blog here! This week’s vlog installation is about how
to help your significant other with debt. We had a reader write in, “Dear Farnoosh,
my significant other has a lot of credit card debt. I want to help him but avoid pulling cash
from my savings. What’s a smart way to support him?” Alright, well first thing’s first, love is
blind. But you don’t want your emotions to cloud
your judgement and derail your personal finances. I know this is a very emotional question. But let’s be practical here for a second. I think it’s important that you allow your
significant other to go through the motions of paying off his debt as independently as
possible. If you just write him a blank check or you
give him the money, it’s like it never happened, right? And maybe it will increase the chances of
falling back on old habits – bad habits. Getting back into a cycle of debt, I’ve seen
it happen. So better to support him in other ways but
have him go through the motions, understand the trade-offs, set that budget, track his
spending it’s going to be a little bit more painful but that pain is good. It will remind him, you know, “I don’t really
like being in debt. I’m going to do what I can to avoid it in
the future.” So what can you do, right? You want to help, and that’s totally understandable
and I respect that. First things first, be a good listener. Before suggesting your own ideas and
coming to him with all these strategies, which might be my M.O., sometimes in a relationship,
you just want to like solve the problem! Don’t. You know, just be a good listener, let him
know that you’re there for him. What questions does he have? Pull from him, get him to talk. I think that’s going to be really important
for him to establish trust with you and feel supported throughout this journey. Reduce your shared expenses. If you’re living together, or if you’re not
but you have some shared expenses, look for ways to reduce them. Negotiate, get discounts, stop some expenses
all together, that will go a very long way in allowing your boyfriend to shore up the
cash that he needs to pay off that debt more aggressively. Learn how to enjoy more free time together. If you’re the kind of couple that likes to
go out, eat out, go on trips, maybe you curb that spending for a little bit with the goal
of being able to, again, reposition that money to help your boyfriend pay off the debt. And then finally, now, this isn’t for everybody,
but it is one strategy that some couples use when there’s a person in the relationship
who’s going through a lot of debt. The other person might say, “Okay, I can afford
it. But rather than writing you a blank check,
I’ll take on a couple of our shared expenses entirely.” Maybe that’s rent for a few months, maybe
that’s food for a few months, maybe that’s utilities or cable or whatever for a few months. Notice it’s for a limited period of time. You want to establish your expectations at
the get go – this is not, you know, you’re not an ATM and you’re doing this so that,
with the goal that your boyfriend will take that money that he would have put towards
those shared expenses directly towards the credit card debt. And you want to monitor this, talk about it,
be a team and if you’re comfortable with this, again, emotionally – it’s not for everybody
– but if you can do it and not be resentful, might be a good way to get the wheels turning
and achieve debt-freedom sooner than later. Alright, good luck to you and thanks for your
question! If anyone else has a question for me, I do
answer reader’s questions right here at the Mint blog so email me: [email protected]
and I hope to reach as many of you as possible. Thanks for listening.

1 thought on “Ask Farnoosh: How to Help My S.O. with His Debt?

  1. Hey, you said not to write a cheque or pay off the debt but what if that debt is accumulating interest? Why not help pay it off sooner and then your partner can pay you back interest free or they can save up for something like a trip or a down-payment.

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