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December 28, 2007


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Gotta' have love first, the rest is meaningless if that's not there.

On the flip side, how in debt would someone have to be before you refused to marry them, no matter how much you loved them?

It would be difficult to marry exclusively for money but I am sure there are those who will.

However I WOULD NOT marry someone with high debt loads. There might be an exception if the debt is from an unexpected life event.

That being said I did marry someone with a high debt load, over 40k in student loans + 15k in cc debt. I didn't find out about it until a few months before the wedding. I was in my 20's then had I been in my 30's or more mature I would have called it off. Fast forward 8 years and it is gone now however we had to delay a lot of living to get rid of it.

Lesson learned, before getting married, ask to review your partner's financial statement. Love doesn't conquer all.

NO and NO. I make just enough money to be independent. No amount of money could attract me to the wrong person, period. I'm attracted to kind and genuine people. I'd never even consider someone who didn't truly care for me, its pretty easy to tell the difference.

And by the way, wow. Is Richard saying he wouldn't marry his wife if he could do it all over again? All the more reason I'll gladly stay single until I can find someone who realizes that a good relationship is worth more than money.

The question is faulty as anyone with that much money would be stupid to get married without a pre-nup which would probably limit how much you could "enjoy" the 1.5M.

@Amanda, I'm not sure I would marry my wife again but I'm not sure I wouldn't either. What's done is done and the wounds have healed. I could have helped her out more but I was saving for an emergency fund, which we needed on several occasions. We would still be in debt without the savings I created. The one causality of it all was delaying kids.

I did learn a life lesson which I will pass to my kids (if we have any), my younger sibling and anyone I may mentor in the future.

Debt can be a cancer on a relationship.

My aunt always said "it's just as easy to fall in love with a rich person as a poor person". Money shouldn't be the deciding factor, but let's face it, marrying money sure would make life easier!

Fortunately, while I married someone with a huge debt load, I knew the approximate amount upfront. It was actually slightly less than I'd thought. And student loans from 10 years of school, which is pretty legitimate debt--doesn't indicate a spending problem. We also dated for 5 years.

Marry for money? Not really. Not FOR money. Might money factor into my consideration? Probably. But I'd have to marry because I thought I could spend the rest of my life with this person without being miserable (and love, but friendship and companionship are important too).

This morning, actually, I decided that I wouldn't marry Warren Buffet. He'd probably be a really cool guy to hang out with, but I wouldn't marry someone that much older, even if he was that rich and even if he had a great personality.

I can't find the exact study anywhere, so for all I know they've already accounted for this. However, the question in the WSJ article is whether you'd marry someone you LIKE for money. That means you're not marrying SOLELY for money. This might not be the love of your life, but it could be someone completely "kind and genuine."

Would I marry someone I hate for money? No.

Would I prefer to marry someone I love for money? Yes.

Would I marry someone I like for money? Maybe. Money would certainly be a part of my consideration, since I wouldn't marry someone whose spending and saving habits were incompatible with mine. A guy with a dazzling personality who's romantic and sweet and fun, but carries a growing credit card debt because he's buying me flowers or getting himself the latest tech gadgets? As infatuated as I may be with a guy like that, I'd know it wouldn't last and I wouldn't marry him (if I couldn't help him out of his bad habits). There's a reason why financial issues are a major cause of divorce.

I agree with Honest Dollar. I might marry someone I liked "for money," though I'd never marry someone I didn't like for any reason. I guess the wording "for money" makes it sound like that is the person's sole positive attribute, when really there must be more if you like the person.

People generally marry people they like, whether it's for money, companionship, good looks, convenience, emotional security, sex, religious reasons, or because all their friends are doing it. Usually it's a combination of reasons. The whole fascination with marrying for "love"--whatever the hell that means anyway--is a very new phenomenon, one that corresponds highly to the soaring divorce rate.

If by love you mean passionate sex and/or burning desire then I sure hope you're not marrying for love because that ship will sail. If by love you mean you can't live without this person and might die if they leave you, then you may be confusing love with co-dependence or fear, neither of which is particularly healthy or noble.

PS - The net worth figure is meaningless without a context. Also important are age, financial habits and values, income, and asset diversity ($1.5M worth of boats and cars is not the same as $1.5M in cash).

Meg is right on the money!

If 1.5M is squirrelled away and you're having to live off it, it's not much. If it's your "wedding" present from your soon-to-be-spouse, it depends on what "picture" (s)he expects you to present to the world. It's entirely relative.

Same for the other part - the debt at age 20 is big (Richard's comment) but at age 40, not so big. It all becomes about choices, too.

A recent "people" magazine type article talked about this 57 year old "playboy" finally marrying. This gf and now fiancee is reported to be 27 years old. According to the article, she was "by his side" while he went thru and recovered from cancer. Given his worth (much more than $1.5M), I'm sure the life he was showing her (as a gf) was going to be a lot of what she wanted (as a wife), but there may very well have been a lot of respect and love from her for him, and/or for the way he treated her. I'd rather see her with someone her own age, but much better to find someone you feel you can live with, and a comfortable life without worries doesn't require as much strength of character (which I am sure she showed recently, but the scenario above does not request nor require such demonstration as conditions for the $1.5M.)

Money does change equations tho and should always be looked at (i.e., the financial situation should be open and on the table, again as Richard pointed out).

There are many different values that a couple will need to work out; sometimes spending habits and how one manages their money can help illuminate those.

Just my 2 cents (tho since I am not working today, guess it's free!)

FYI, I find it funny when people say $1 million isn't that much (in this case it's $1.5 million by Diane), when that amount is more than what 99% of Americans have in net worth.

I am a woman in my early 50's from Michigan. I was to be remarried to a man I love, this coming August. It has recently come to my attention, that my fiance has huge debt. I knew he had some, but never dreamed it was this high. There is $50,000 in credit card debt, (which is more than what his anual income is) there is a first mortgage, 2nd mortgage, car loan, and another type of loan. This is making me very nervous and upset. I stand to inherit a significantly large amount of money, and I want to protect it, and feel I can with a pre-nup. However, my concern is the income that comes from my career. If I marry him do I assume his debt? Will I be held accountable for it if he can't pay it? Can my wages be garnished if he fails to pay? If I don't assume his debt, will the creditors honor that, or will I be paying for atty.s all the time? In the meantime, I have called off the wedding until I can gather all the facts that I need to make a better and wiser decision.

Rose --

I'll post your question a week or so and let my readers take a shot at helping you out.

Dear FMF..........did you post my question? If so, I cannot seem to find where exactly that you posted it.

Littlerose --

It will be up in about an hour (today).


I'm sorry but I can't answer your legal questions. What I would like to say to you is, take a long, hard look at why this man is in SO MUCH DEBT to begin with. I think you're being very smart to delay but don't be blinded by your feelings. Is he irresponsible with money? Does his irresponsibility end there? Even the very best people make mistakes and run into financial issues so I'm not telling you that he's bad man for sure. Just please try to look at the situation critically before binding yourself to him legally.

Another question: Why get married at all? It seems to me that the financial benefits of marriage are few and people are often "penalized" financially for being married. I'm no expert in this area so if anyone out there can tell me the financial ramifications of getting married versus staying single I would be REALLY interested in seeing that (future blog entry perhaps?). I would guess that you're not planning to have children (I could be wrong here) so other than some moral reason I don't see why marriage is really necessary. You could still call him husband and live exactly as you would live if you were legally married but not have to worry about the possible downsides.

Marriage (as with all decisions) should be a well thought out decision with all the pros and cons weighed. It shouldn't be an emotional decision made simply because we love someone. Love has to be there but it is, by far, not enough. Stepping down from my soap box and wishing you the best of luck and happiness.

I'm recently married to what most people would probably categorize as an "average looking" woman, even though to me she's the most gorgeous creature in God's creation. She's got money. A pretty significant amount of it, actually, thanks to the timely death of a wealthy grandfather.

But then, the day I realized that she was the woman I wanted to marry, she was broke. Indeed, she was in debt. If she hadn't been sure to think I was nuts, I'd have proposed the day we met, and if she'd said yes at that time, it would have saved me a lot of pain and not a little financial hardship. (We didn't even start dating until years later...I, for a time, accepted that "you can't always get what you want" also includes "sometimes the girl you want to marry doesn't love you".)

I won't pretend that marrying her hasn't immensely helped my own finances, since her inheritance. But I'd have loved her just as much, and married her anyway, if her grandfather (rather than being the richest probate lawyer in Kalamazoo, and one of the largest individual land-owners) had been a laid-off auto worker. I didn't even know, until her grandfather died, that she stood to participate in a substantial estate...and yet at any point during the seven years when we were friends but didn't date, I'd have jumped at the chance if she changed her mind, just as I did jump at it when she did change her mind in 2005.

Would I, in some hypothetical world in which she didn't exist, marry somebody just because they had money? Hell no.

It has come to be a society where most women only look at the bottom line. It's a real turn-off when your on a date and she "oh so subtly" starts quizing you about your finances...How much money your worth and what kind of car do you drive... Take it from someone who just won't even continue the date after that, I wouldn't even call these women back for a second date. I have worked hard to build my personal wealth and and if these kinds of questions come up in the first three months I call it off and move on. If you do marry for money, Be warned, Money won't keep you company or talk to you so you can grow as a person, it can only buy things and things won't make you happy inside...That's where it really counts.

I made a list of things money can't buy and I came up with a list of 50 things. Sit down make a list. The amount of money I make, I'll never get married but who knows maybe I'm lucky.
Maybe I'm turned off by money because I don't make much. Or maybe God says no for some reason maybe to teach us things. Maybe its a persons state of mind rather then things that they have outside of them. I've tried the rich life style but it didn't change how I felt. Though I'm not going to cross money off my list. If you have checked out the recent stock market you can see how fleeting money can be. There were people that did commit suicide after that happened. I don't know if I want to get married anyways. Maybe I could being broke well not totally. If your interested in social things and psychology and philosophy well its an intereting subject. Though I agree with Gary.(may 15 2008) I've seen nothing go according to plan, they say plan your work and work your plan, never happened. And if you have so much money you don't think you have any problems whats there left to do? Play bridge golf tennis? Then there are people that are really destitute the homeless man, the mentally ill, really poor people. We've done a pretty good job in this country taking care of those people. A person can go on all the trips they want, live in a big mansion but if they don't have their health whats it worth. Being poor can be a challege but what would life be with out challege? With everything planned and taken care of the best of everything, would it be boring? or weould it be just a challege to make twice as much? I was thinking what if I didn't have any problems, i think then maybe I'd be a mushroom, or couch potatoe. I don't know its a little bit of a mystery sort of a problem taken to the nth degree thats hard to solve. But if your bag is money well maybe its cool but try not to hurt anybody.

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