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
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  • Unlike everyone else who replied I think you should pay off her debts. Even asking this question suggests that you need to learn a lesson the hard way!

    You'll learn that she'll gladly let you pay it off and immediately start building up the debt again. Afterall, there were no consequences the last time. This time however, she will probably keep it a secret from you until you are financially tied to her (after buying a house or getting married).

    Have a word with yourself, dismiss this foolishness and put her on a debt reduction plan. If she can't stick to it, what future do you have? What happens down the road when you go down to a single income?
  • NO NO NO

    If you do so the only lesson she will learn is "when I screw up and stick my head in the sand and ignore this problem, Daddy will come and make it all go away". You are doing her no favours, you are doing yourself even less.
  • I have never posted on this or any other forum, but I am compelled to say something in the hope that my advice will stop you from losing £16,000!

    I am not great with money - hence my signing up to this site! (It's been a great help) and my husband is very good with his money. He always has savings and clears his cards every month.

    I came to our relationship with £20,000 of debt after uni. When we started our relationship he was very generous and took me on holiday and bought me treats etc. which was lovely, but did nothing for my self respect. I resented the fact that he was always trying to bail me out and it led to a lot of arguments. However, after a lot of discussion we both started to help me sort me debt out and my husband learned to let me do things for myself. My husband has the patience of a saint, and over the years I have gotten better at saving and have managed my own debt. I eventually managed to save enough to by my first car with cash!

    The moral of the story is - let your girlfriend sort her own debt out. If you do it for her you are taking away any power she might have to learn to do it herself, which she may even resent in the long term. Also she won't learn the skills necessary to keep control of her finances so she will in fact be worse off, not better, because neither of you will trust her with money and it will be you who will bear the burden of sorting out your finances in the future.
    I understand that you want to help and take care of her. But if you do this you risk losing your money and your respect for your girlfriend as well as her respect for herself.

    I should also add that the reason I'm so bad with money is that my parents always sorted out my life for me. They paid for everything and even when I left home they still helped me out. I never learned to save and I never learned to control my own money. It may seem very generous on the face of it, but really my parents did me a great disservice as I was unable to control my spending, knowing they would bail me out. I love my parents very much but it took a lot for me to be able to say 'no thanks - I don't need your help, I can do this on my own!'
    I now have two children and they get regular pocket money and are learning to save for the things they want.

    A valuable life lesson!

    Good luck.
  • If you can afford it, then why not? If you just 'like', as opposed to 'love', her this might be the best way to proceed: you will soon see what sort of long-term partner she would be if you pay off her debts; if she behaves like a wife and becomes a good housekeeper to slot into your life, you've done well and may experience some deepening of your feelings; if, on the other hand, she does not, then it's still money well spent - an ugly experience avoided. If losing the money really won't cause you too much distress - if you can really afford it - then yes, I believe you can use these circumstances most constructively.
  • MynxmoxMynxmox Forumite
    32 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    NO! Don't pay it for her, also for her sake. To be endebted to someone for his kindness to the tune of £16k is a huge moral weight to bear. Let her build her own pride by getting out af it herself - she will love you more for your support this way. Of course you can treat her to luxuries (a meal out etc.) that she will not be able to afford but that should be it.
  • aceceacece Forumite
    57 Posts
    As generous and nice as you are, I would say don't do that.
    I agree with other posts, this is for her sake.
    If she doesn't pay off her own debt, she would never learn about money and how to manage it.
    8 month is way too short to know somebody and I would only suggest otherwise if you are going to marry her.
    Best of luck
  • I would like to say you sound like a really lovely, caring person, and it's so nice that you want to make your girlfriend's stress go away.

    Like many other MSE respondents, I would say that you have only been going out for 8 months, and you have spent a lifetime saving £16k. I would say absolutely pay it off if you end up marrying her. But for now you're not sure what the future holds, just enjoy her company and you can treat her to nice restaurants, flowers, etc. Also, suggesting to pay off her £16k of debts (a lot of debt) with your lifetime's worth of savings, while an admirable and really really amazing gesture, will actually put a lot of pressure on the relationship. Especially if she agrees to let you! In practice, I think you have doubts about this for a reason. Trust your instincts, let the relationship develop. If you're meant to be together forever, you know you will pay it off for her and so you shouldn't feel guilty.

    If it is causing her a lot of stress and affecting the relationship, you could offer to pay for counselling sessions for her and get her to see a financial expert (independent, some run by the govt are free, e.g. Moneymadeclear).

    Good luck!
  • kaz0705kaz0705 Forumite
    240 Posts
    I think the bottom line is only lend if you're prepared never to get it back. That's the worse case scenario so if you're happy to accept basically giving £16k away then go for it.

    From a DFW point of view, it's incredibly unhelpful for you to pay off her debt- she won't learn anything about budgeting, sacrifice and amending her spending if you help her out.

    I'd offer her support and help rather than bail her out.

    Of course, paying when you go out every now and again would help :-)
    LBM: January 2010
    DFD: August 27th 2012
  • edited 10 August 2011 at 11:05AM
    hawk-the-slayerhawk-the-slayer Forumite
    7 Posts
    edited 10 August 2011 at 11:05AM
    The best thing you can do for her is to Help her find her own way out of the debt, paying it of for her will make you look like a saint in the short term but if things go pear shaped you will be the only loser. I had the same situation when i met my fiancee 4 years ago, i helped her to budget found out any information she needed in order to help her but ultimately it was herself that got her out of the mess she was in! The only things i did where small i would make sure i bought the shopping 9 out 10 times, when we went on holiday i booked it as a "surprise" and simply told her that I wanted a holiday and of course i wasn't going to leave her behind was i! and on the odd occasion i sneakily paid her rent, not done to undermine her but simply to help ease her burden. And of course if things such as a wachine machine/fridge/hoover etc needed replaceing i would do it and if she made a fuss, all be it with huge amounts of gratitude i would say "well my clothes need cleaning too or there wasn't enough room in the fridge for my beer" You get the picture. Any way after 2 years she was debt free, i must add most of her problems where caused by her previous partner! now everything we do is 50/50 she loves the fact she is back in control and she loves me more for helping her find her own way out of the mess!! Nearly 4 years down the line we are getting married and i have just had my vasectomy reversed!! so if you love her and think she is the one HELP her to HELP herself you will both end up happier and stronger at the end of it.
  • bluebirdbluebird Forumite
    378 Posts
    Hell NO, what lesson would your girlfriend learn about managing money if you pay off her debt?
    Don't be blinded by love,help by showing her the best way to save,but first get her debts into line by cutting up credit cards and getting HER to pay off the highest interest debt first.
    To learn she must now suffer the consequences of her spending.

    She will thank you in the end.
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