Are you thinking about getting married in the near future? As you enter into this new phase of your life, please realize that you are making a lifetime commitment and you are merging all aspects of your life with another person.
Are student loans being added to the mix? If so, your new marriage could get even more complicated. So please learn these three important facts about marriage and student loans before saying “I do.”
How Much Debt Is Coming into the Marriage?
Now that you’ve decided to tie the knot, it’s time to start talking about the amount of student loan debt that each individual is going to bring into the marriage.
If you do not know how much it is already, this is a conversation that you need to have together sooner rather than later.
Does one person have student loan debt and the other doesn’t? Do you both have student loan debt?
Finding out this information before you get married is important. Otherwise, learning about it after you’ve already tied the knot could create major friction in your relationship. Plus, it can be really difficult to manage if you both currently have student loan debt.
It could have a serious impact on your finances, and it may even prevent you from starting a family, buying a house, or anything else that the two of you plan to do together.
Transparency is always the best option when it comes to student loan debt. So let each other know how much you owe so you can figure out a plan from there.
Your Repayment Plans Could Change Because of Student Loans
If you’ve been financially responsible with your student loans, you probably have a repayment plan in place that you’ve been using to pay down your debt.
Guess what? Once you’re married, your repayment plans may very well have to change. There are also tax considerations to figure into your thinking.
If you are going to file taxes as “married filing jointly” then you’re going to combine your income and the income of your spouse. This could have a negative impact and ultimately make your repayment plan expenses go a lot higher.
And if you have an income driven plan, and your spouse doesn’t make enough money, you might not qualify for certain plans any longer once you start reporting joint income.
According to Consolidated Credit, teaching students how to consolidate student loan with your spouse, “The interest rate of your new consolidated loan will be determined by the average of all the student loans included in the consolidation loan.” So keep that in mind.
If you are worried about the financial implications that your marriage will have on your student loans, you could always contact a financial expert or tax specialist to help you figure out what’s best for your particular situation.
Your Spouse May End Up Being Responsible for Your Student Loans
If you intend to consolidate both loans into one convenient option, you should definitely better understand the ramifications of your choice.
Why? With federal loans and a few private loans, there is a death discharge if the borrower happens to die. On the other hand, there are a number of private lenders that do not offer this option, and the surviving spouse will be responsible for the loan.
So if you’re going to go this route, you must read the fine print and fully understand what you’re getting into with your spouse after you get married.
At the end of the day, if your loans go into default, it may become the responsibility of your spouse.
For many couples, marriage is the logical next step. So you should definitely take some time to evaluate your student loans, understand how they will affect your marriage, and come up with a plan to prevent the worst from happening.