OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) — Financial freedom is a lot of work, but if you are married it can be easier in a lot of ways. Depending on the amount of debt you have, and how quickly you want to pay it off, starting that debt free journey can be a big change. If you have a partner, experts say a conversation is in order before getting started.
“You can easily wander into debt, but you can't wander out. So, when you want to become debt free, you are going to have to commit your money, your time, and your lifestyle to becoming debt free,” says Jen Smith, The Penny Hoarder personal finance expert.
For married couples, working on a debt free journey can be easier in a lot of ways because there is extra support and extra income at play. However, there can be problems too, including extra debt, disagreements on how to handle the process, or even your spouse not being interested in becoming debt free.
If you are not sure if this kind of commitment is for you, you can totally test the waters.
“I would encourage you to pay off your smallest debt, and see if you feel better after that. If you feel a weight lifted off your shoulders, then you are probably ready to pay off the rest of those debts,” says Smith.
Personal finance site The Penny Hoarder says if your spouse isn't interested in starting a debt free journey, then it doesn't mean you have to give up.
“You can keep budgeting and making extra income and putting your money towards your debt. You can also do things to make it seem more attractive to them,” recommends Smith.
Also, consider keeping your debt elimination language positive, and leaving the tough love to experts. Try listening to podcasts or audio books about personal finance together. Smith says that some couples who have different financial goals can benefit from separate bank accounts. She recommends arranging it so that your spouse can see the account, but does not have access to it.