Real life MMD: Should I pay off her debts?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Money Saving Polls
202 replies 53.3K views


  • Twosheds55Twosheds55 Forumite
    153 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    "So long and thanks for all the fish!"
    — Douglas Adams
    Wins 2009: Misfits LP, 2 x Tickets to Eddie Izzard, £500 worth of Jewellery.
    Wins 2010: Baby making Bible, High School Musical Box set & Camp Rock DVD's. Disney Princess goodies (Blu-rays and a doll!).
    Wins 2011: Sign Language for Dummies
  • Fairly amazing unanimity! I agree no to paying it all off and that 8 months is nowhere near enough.

    I was in that situation five and a half years ago. I paid off some of her urgent debt (about £1,000 for unpaid rent) and went through the process you did of detailing incomings and outgoings. The trouble is that is a very personal thing and it makes you seem like father and child/teacher and pupil rather than a couple. In the end I decided to give her a monthly amount that I could afford and ask no questions about what she did with it. All I suggested (not told, and just the once) was the order she should pay off her debts e.g. the highest interest rate first, and point out the waste of money that interest on loans is. All I did was ask every few months what level her debts were. They were coming down, maybe not as fast as I would have liked, but it showed she was trying. After a few years she had cleared all her debts. We have now just got engaged.
  • CimscateCimscate Forumite
    145 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    Don't do it, if you split you'll feel bad and if you stay together you'll be bailing her out for the rest of her life. Believe me there is nothing that will build a slow burning grudge faster than lending someone money and not getting it back.
  • FujikoFujiko Forumite
    150 Posts
    Forgive me for sounding like an old fuddy-duddy - which I probably am (old, anyway!) - but the thought of being in debt just scares me. I have been married for fifty years and in all that time the only money we have owed has been for our mortgage which was paid off long before my husband retired. We are certainly not wealthy, but we have always lived within our means (boring, isn't it!) and have never borrowed for anything, but we are of a generation which was taught if you couldn't afford it you didn't have it, and given the trouble unfettered credit has brought to so many people thhis is not such a bad philosophy. It would be interesting to know just what this young woman had managed to spend £16,000 on and how much interest she is having to pay - something I would very much resent having to do.
    To answer the question - definitely do not clear this debt. However much you like this woman I suspect she is a compulsive borrower and in a year or even less would be in just as much trouble. She must sort out her own problems - a case of being cruel to be kind.
  • Sounds like an ex. She was in big financial trouble, I did pay them off for her to try and improve her situation. Never appreciated it fully, left me in a similar situation and was by far the last person in the world who in the end deserved any assistance.

    She has got herself into that position and 8 months is still a honeymoon period. Sounds like you have lived within your means, which is something to be grateful of.

    The best thing you can do is to try and persuade her to help herself - its a problem at £16k she didn't just happen to be in but making her face up to the reality is the first step.

    Don't do it!!
  • Never lend what you cannot afford to lose!

    If I were you I would ease the day to day cost of living e.g. pay for things when you are together. If you like her enough to pay off her debts, would it make sense to live together?? This could ease the cost of living for her and enable her to pay off more debt. Summary - do not pay off the debt but try to enable her to do it.
    I seldom end up where I wanted to go, but almost always end up where I need to be
  • Firstly you have to ask yourself whether this relationship is for the long term - as you said, it will take AT LEAST 4 years to clear it! You will feel a total mug if you pay this debt off for her and then a few months down the line the relationship falters and you go your seperate ways - you would have lost financially AND lose some of what is clearly your good nature. But there is another way - you obviously care for this girl and do not want to see her stressed. Now if the answer to the above is yes the next step (and I speak from experience here) is to get her to seriously look at how and why she became so much in debt and to accept she needs to change her spending habits. Finally, you need to sit her down and explain to her that you will 'help' her. YOU will lend her the money instead of the Bank which means no interest is going to be paid and that it is better to be in debt to you rather than to a bank. Draw up a contract where she will pay you back each month (this will cover you in case the relationship does falter). On top of this you will take 'extra' money to put into 'her pot' which she will get at the end of the contract (her little pot of gold). This will do the following: a) she will learn how to save b) she will learn that she is never bailed out for free (no lesson learned otherwise) c) she will not feel emotionally indebted to you. My Uncle did this for me - it was all official and he kept a log book (ledger if you like) which he went through once a week with me to show how the debt was reducing and also how my 'savings' were growing. During that time (it was in the 80's) he invested my saved money into stocks and shares and showed me how to do this and what to look for. I am now a sound, debt free, money savvy person who, while no longer investing in shares at present (for obvious reasons) keeps a keen eye on business/financial news. My uncle is now dead but he has been a key person in my life and taught me valuable life lessons - you sound like you can be just as special!
  • poorbabepoorbabe Forumite
    894 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    As someone who is slowly clearing her debts after years of 'fun' with loans and credit cards, can I ask you to get yourself cloned and send the other one my way? :)

    Seriously: No. As others have said, pay for the odd thing here and there but she must settle her debts herself otherwise she will never learn.

    All the best.

  • raindaisyraindaisy Forumite
    37 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Dont help her clear the debt, carry on with the support to help her, the odd treat now and then to keep her moral going, dont let her think your going to pay for everything she still has to pay for some as its a joint relationship. 8 months is still very new, even if u do like her a lot and if she knows you have money then she could be playing you to get you to pay the debts off, make it clear that the money you have saved is locked away for the future and not being touched. Maybe explain about down grading the items she buys look for the bargains and the cheaper items there are many about there are many special offers on good brands if you can be bothered to might even get a few too.
  • ...because I've been there and I've done what you are proposing. The debt I paid off for my ex-partner was £900 about 10 years ago. We had very different views on money - his was 'it's only money' and my view is that it takes a lot of effort to earn so I'd rather look after it. Given his rather relaxed approach to money it was a surprise to find out that once I'd paid off the debt it actually made him feel unhappy and that he had no control in our relationship.
    All relationships are different and you will probably know deep down the answer to this dilemma but I'd also add one more thing - think about your own motivation for paying off the debt. I thought I was coming to his rescue and that he'd love me forever, I was wrong. We split up seven years later - not because of me paying off the loan but because of the fundamental differences between us, one of which was our attitudes to money. Good luck.
    It's later than you think!
This discussion has been closed.

Cheap Train Tickets

Hidden fares, split tickets and how to beat booking fees

MSE Guides