I talked previously about how getting my first student loan bill changed my outlook on money. Well, another very important thing came out of that situation, too. Paying my final student loan bill actually allowed me to get married.
I was reminded of this fact earlier this week when I read that my fellow millennials are helping to drive the divorce rate downward by getting married later, when their finances are squared away. And they said we couldn’t commit to anything?
Well, if my wife is any indication, there are a lot of intelligent millennial women out there. After all, she told me she wouldn’t marry me until I paid off my student loans. With many marriages failing due to money issues, she wasn’t wrong to make that argument. Starting life without debt really had an amazing impact on our finances as a couple.
We Talked About Money From the Beginning
I can’t remember a time when my wife and I didn’t talk about money. She introduced me to the subject of paying off debt and striving for financial freedom. Money was such a common topic of conversation for us that it would be more taboo not to talk about it.
I think our very public and honest money discussions make others uncomfortable at times. It always amazes me how people are fine talking about last night’s sports scores or Netflix shows, but God forbid we discuss actual important subjects like personal finance.
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We Used My Student Loan Debt Payoff as a Motivator
I don’t recall the exact day I wrote my last check to pay off my student loans, but I remember the feeling. It was sheer exuberance. In my world, I accomplished something huge. And while I was the one who paid off the debt, my wife will always be the one who encouraged me and introduced me to the concept.
Without my wife’s words of wisdom, I wouldn’t have understood the importance of starting our married life together debt free. It put us on the right footing. Having no student debt allowed us to buy the house we wanted, for example.
We Gained the Confidence to Overcome Other Money Issues
Unfortunately, despite going into our marriage debt-free, we made other money mistakes and got ourselves into debt after tying the knot. That was a stressful situation. There was fighting and heated exchanges, and it absolutely put a strain on our relationship.
However, as we always do, we came together to figure it out. We put ourselves on a budget and cut expenses that were not needed. We also have taken on other jobs or started businesses, paid off other debts and sold items we didn’t need.
To date, we’ve been married more than seven years, have two children, have a lovely home in an affordable area and have learned a whole lot — especially about money. What keeps our marriage going is our willingness to have the important conversations both financial and otherwise. Marriages take work and the real test begins after the “I Do.” Whatever your marital status might be, always remember to have that “money talk” no matter how hard it might seem. Trust me, it’s worth it.
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