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Thread: Money in a long term relationship?

  1. #1

    Money in a long term relationship?

    Sorry I didn't know what to call this or really what section to post in. I've just stumbled upon this site when googling for advice and I hope you could help me.
    I'll try and keep it as short as possible.

    My partner and I have been together for 4 years living together for 3 of those and we are the same age 35. I am a surgeon (Doctor) and my girlfriend was a Sales rep for a large firm but unfortunately got made redundant at the end of August 2016. Since which time she has been unemployed and searching for work. with the exception of a few temping roles here at there from agencies but these tend to be week long roles to cover sickness.

    My girlfriend is in debt, she helped out a family member who had got themselves into an awful financial state a while ago, back when she was working and the loan repayment was perfectly manageable for her.

    I make good money (sorry if that sounds braggy, that is not my intention) but I like to be careful with my spending. My girlfriend currently has very little income from just occasional temping roles. She is trying very hard to get a job, she would happily to anything, from waiting tables, to office work excreta but she is having a really hard time find full time permanent work.

    Up to this point we have kept our money separate, we take it in turns to pay for meals/weekends away and split the household bills equally.

    I guess my question is what would you do, if you were me? Would you pay off the debt, to ease the situation? there is currently something in my mind stopping me doing that and I don't know why. I am currently paying more than my share of household bills due to her situation, which she feels both very guilty and grateful for as she's quite a proud person and had been in full time employment from leaving college until now. She has never asked or hinted at me paying off her debt.


    One other point is that she can't claim any kind of unemployment benefit as in the UK it is done on household income, so my earnings prevent her doing that.

    I'd like to point out this is a serious relationship and we are very happy together and I see this as hopefully lasting indefinitely.

    I hope this makes sense to you and maybe someone out there has got some advice.

    Many Thanks

    Matt

  2. #2
    Forum Supporter ~Seraphim ~'s Avatar
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    I can only tell you what I would do . If you see this as a permanent relationship one that you want to spend your life in what affects her affects you . My husband and I completely combine our finances there's no half of this and half of that and half of the other . His bad fortune is my bad fortune his good fortune is my good fortune and vice versa .

  3. #3
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    Two scenarios:

    If you were married, how would you handle things
    If situation were reversed, how would you expect her to respond

  4. #4
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Can the family pay her back? Is paying off her debt a gift or a loan from you?
    Originally Posted by Matthoward82
    My girlfriend is in debt, she helped out a family member who had got themselves into an awful financial state a while ago, back when she was working and the loan repayment was perfectly manageable for her. One other point is that she can't claim any kind of unemployment benefit as in the UK it is done on household income, so my earnings prevent her doing that.

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  6. #5
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    As good natured as your thoughts are, I would reconsider. Even though you are thinking long term, doesn't mean you should pay off your partner's debts, and you shouldn't feel guilty about it. The real question would be, are you ok paying off her debts if you never got that money back (even if she offers to pay you back) and you two are no longer together? I don't say that as if you two won't work out, but just so you have no regrets if the worst comes to happen. There are other ways to help your partner - help with job applications, connections, networking, recruitment agencies she could call etc.

    However, if you pay off her debts anyway, make sure it doesn't hurt your credit. Never co-sign.

  7. #6
    Platinum Member j.man's Avatar
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    Does the UK for real include boyfriends / girlfriends in household income? Here in the States, in most cases, only spouses and dependents are included. And I'm pretty sure 4 years would be too early to complicate it with common law classifications.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    I think your instinct is correct in terms of not paying off the debt. You are not husband and wife and besides, bailing her out like that won't actually solve her unemployment situation.

    I'd continue to pick up more of the living/entertainment expenses for now. However, it sounds like she actually needs serious help with how to find a job. So perhaps you can fund a resume writing service, interview coaching, etc. If you talk to pharm reps, maybe you can ask around for any openings, use your connections to help her find some kind of work.

    Looking from the outside in, good sales people are not made redundant. Those who are fired, are the ones who are not performing up to par. Even if the company closes down, a great sales person won't go unemployed for long. They are needed and hard to find. So either there is something off with her CV that's making managers look past her or something goes sideways during interviews or her expectations about the job, salary, commission, etc. are off. Any of the three will stop a person from getting hired.
    You say she is trying really hard, but perhaps it's not about how hard but the manner of. She needs help, but not of the bill paying kind. Think more along the lines of don't give a man a fish, give him the means to fish.

  9. #8
    Originally Posted by j.man
    Does the UK for real include boyfriends / girlfriends in household income? Here in the States, in most cases, only spouses and dependents are included. And I'm pretty sure 4 years would be too early to complicate it with common law classifications.
    Yes unfortunately here regardless of if you've been together 2 months or 20 years you are judged on a household income if you are a co-habiting couple.

  10. #9
    Originally Posted by DancingFool
    I think your instinct is correct in terms of not paying off the debt. You are not husband and wife and besides, bailing her out like that won't actually solve her unemployment situation.

    I'd continue to pick up more of the living/entertainment expenses for now. However, it sounds like she actually needs serious help with how to find a job. So perhaps you can fund a resume writing service, interview coaching, etc. If you talk to pharm reps, maybe you can ask around for any openings, use your connections to help her find some kind of work.

    Looking from the outside in, good sales people are not made redundant. Those who are fired, are the ones who are not performing up to par. Even if the company closes down, a great sales person won't go unemployed for long. They are needed and hard to find. So either there is something off with her CV that's making managers look past her or something goes sideways during interviews or her expectations about the job, salary, commission, etc. are off. Any of the three will stop a person from getting hired.
    You say she is trying really hard, but perhaps it's not about how hard but the manner of. She needs help, but not of the bill paying kind. Think more along the lines of don't give a man a fish, give him the means to fish.

    Thank you for your reply and I completely get where you are coming from. I didn't go into details, her firm went into administration she wasn't fired or let go in that sense. Also since then, we have moved for my job meaning that contacts she had made are too far away. However you are completely right in suggesting I help with the unemployment side of things rather than the debt, because as said above that's not actually going to help long term. I think this is what I was thinking, just not able to verbalise.

  11. #10
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    I personally agree with Seraphim's view - generally speaking. However, it is all very personal and individual. Depends also on what your relationship is like, if you envision being together for good, how solid your commitment is, etc.

    If your instinct or something else is preventing you from bailing her out, how about taking a middle road? Actually, if I imagine myself in her role, middle road is what I'd probably be happy with, even more so than someone paying my debt. For instance, I have a lot of student loans. So, if I'd get seriously involved or even married, since my debt is so big, and - similarly to your girlfriend- I'm quite proud, I wouldn't want my partner to pay it off for me (unless he were quite wealthy). It might chip at my pride. But paying and supporting basic living expenses- that, yes. So, her debt is her debt, but while she is struggling, if you help support her with paying more for rent (or even all of it temporarily?) and other expenses she is struggling to afford - that's helpful. Where exactly the middle road lies is difficult for me to say, b/c I'd need to see all the numbers and budget sheets and decide on what's reasonable.

    Once again, this is just a personal opinion, which is the only ideas I can provide. It really is a very personal question and depends on each couple individually.

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