Yours, Mine & Ours: Getting Clear on Debt ~ #NFPartner #ProudToServe


If you have debt in your relationship, don’t expect to get rid of it until you get crystal clear about who owes what to whom, how much exactly, and what the interest rates are on these lingering amounts.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Navy Federal Credit Union. All opinions are 100% mine.


And while these financial talks might be unpleasant to discuss, it’s never going to just go away on its own. What some people think of as the “easy” way out (bankruptcy or avoidance altogether) only leads to devastating financial consequences, like losing everything and ruining your chances of obtaining loans in the future. Do I even need to point out that financial strain is a leading cause of divorce? Here’s what you need to do to get clear on debt with your partner:


1. Make a list and check it twice. Sit down with your spouse and figure out who you still owe money to. This includes your loans (Yes, credit card debt is technically a loan.), your partner’s loans, and any loans you took out together. Write each one down in a Google doc or Excel spreadsheet. Use whatever works for you both, but jot it all down in one place so it’s easy to see what’s owed. Once you’ve made a complete list (with every single thing you can think of), write down the total amounts still owed to each creditor or private party in a separate column, and the APR (Annual Percentage Rate) in a third column.

2. Prioritize the entries. In some cases, it’s critical to get certain debts paid off immediately, like money owed to the IRS or child support, for example. While you should never miss a student loan or credit card payment, sometimes medical debt collectors are a little more lenient. There generally isn’t interest attached to medical debt, and often you won’t be turned over to a debt collector until you’ve missed at least three payments. In all cases, you should contact creditors to see if there is a grace period, if your payments can be lowered, if you are eligible for a lower APR, and if the date the payment is due can be shifted to a different time of the month when you might not have as many bills due at once.

3. Create a plan of attack. The most money savvy approach is to throw as much money as possible at the bill with the highest APR. The longer it takes you to pay off debts with high interest rates, the more you’ll pay over time. You deserve to keep your hard earned money, so don’t pay more than you need to in interest! If at all possible, transfer credit card debts with the highest APR’s over to accounts with low or even 0% interest, but be warned that if you open a new card simply to take advantage of the 0% introductory rate, don’t charge anything else to it and cut up the card to the old account so you won’t be tempted to unknowingly add to your existing mountain of debt. (Pro tip: Avoid debt consolidation solutions, which are often scams that could cost you more in the long run.)


Once you can see exactly what you’re working with and have created a plan to get rid of your debts, stay the course! It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and to get discouraged, but with some simple, temporary, lifestyle adjustments (eating out less often, selling your vehicle, or getting a second job), you can be free of this burden.

Navy Federal Credit Union has a plethora of financial articles filled with lots of financial advice for those seeking knowledge from improving your personal finances to saving for your retirement. While Navy Federal has been serving members of the military since 1933, their advice is for everyone. With over 7 million members, they understand the needs of their members, because they're member-owned and their promise to always act in their members best interest, because they care. Switch your accounts to Navy Federal today and experience the benefits of membership.

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Annmarie John
73 Comments

73 comments:

  1. Great advice and I can say from personal experience from when I first met my now husband, who had some credit card debt that it is so very important to make a plan and stick to it. Happily, we did and have been credit card debt free for years now. So couldn't agree more!

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    1. That is amazing! So many people don't stick to their plan and that's what makes it difficult. I'm so happy to hear that you guys did.

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  2. I didn't know financial strain was the leading cause of divorce, but that doesn't surprise me! The money talks are a bit rough.
    I'm attending a financial event in a few weeks and I'm excited to get some much-needed education!

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    1. Money talks can be tough and can cause relationship strain. If you have one person wanting to spend all the time and another who would prefer to reduce debt, it can be difficult. I can't wait to hear what they're going to teach you at that financial event. When you're in the military, you get to take the Dave Ramsey class and that helped us tremendously.

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  3. Some really great tips! It can be such a stressful time which is why being open about it certainly helps! Sim x

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    1. If you're in a relationship, you should be open about everything, including your finances. What's the use of hiding things?

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  4. We are finally clear of debt now and it has taken a long time to clear but was so worth doing and now we can finally save

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    1. That is awesome to hear. I was in debt for quite a while when I was younger, now the only major debt we have is our mortgage and even that I'm trying to get rid of as soon as possible.

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  5. This is such a good post, it can be so hard when you have debt and you don't want to even talk about it with a loved one as it can feel something to be ashamed of, but making sure you do talk about it is the first step.

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    1. There really is nothing to be ashamed of, you have to remember that you're not the only person going through this and there are lots of others in the same position. Be open and discuss it together so you can find a way TOGETHER to take care of it.

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  6. We do not have any in our household my Husband works for a big bank she very lucky he does not and I never have too.

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    1. While I tried my best to understand what you were saying I couldn't. I gather you might be saying that you have no financial issues or debts, and if that's the case, that's great!

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  7. That's really important in a relationship, it may not be easy to talk about but it's good that couples lay it all on the table and come up with a plan. I think those tips are great, especially if you've been struggling with debt for a while now and it's been affecting your relationship.

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    1. It is good to come up with a plan and if you do it together, it's really for the best. No-one's perfect and I think we all know that, so it's best to sit back, be honest and come clean about what's going on.

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  8. I totally agree with you here, you need to have a plan of action when it comes to debt as if you don't you'll struggle to get out of it x

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    1. Yes, so much yes! Having that plan of action will help you in the long run, but first you need to talk to your significant other about what's going on.

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  9. This is great for those struggling with debt. It can be such a worry when you have debt hanging over you!

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    1. I know a lot of people worry, but as long as you're taking care of your debt and not ignoring it, you'll be fine.

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  10. These are great tips to follow to clear debts. I remember a friend of mine was not informed of her husband taking lots of loans and that put a strain on their relationship when she found out about it. Money matters but so does being honest.

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear about your friend, and I hope that their relationship worked out. Being honest is truly important in any relationship.

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  11. Definitely create a debt recovery plan and try to maintain it. WHen I finished uni, I had to do just this.

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    1. That is really the way to go. So many people get their credit ruined because they didn't stick to their repayment plan. It's not worth it.

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  12. Those tough talks about finances are so important. Money can be stressful so it's better to be upfront. Sounds like you've found a great resource for helping couples!

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    1. They are important and you're right, they can be stressful, but they're mostly stressful because one person may be hiding the fact of what is really going on. Just be honest about it.

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  13. No one likes to have the debt conversation, but it is a necessary one. Once you become a couple it helps to tackle your finances together so you can stay on top of them and hopefully out of debt.

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    1. That is indeed true. Most people don't like to admit how much in debt they are because they might be ashamed, but there's really nothing to be ashamed of. We all make mistakes in life and it's best to just overcome them the right way.

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  14. This is a very good read today. We are really being careful with our finances as we don't want to end up old and poor. Thank you for sharing your tips. Sometime this week, me and my husband will have to sit and take a look at money matters.

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    1. You're very welcome and seems like you're on your way already to doing the right thing. My husband and I just recently sat down and went over how much faster we can pay off our mortgage if we cut back on a few things. We also don't want to end up too old or dead before paying for our house.

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  15. I had no idea that financial strain was the number one cause of divorce but it does make sense. I liked how you said that prioritizing your entries can help with effective debt management.

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    1. When you're in a relationship, you want everything to go smoothly, but when you're always worrying about money, it can put a strain on the relationship.

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  16. We have recently just done this with our debts. We have plans of buying in the very near future and have been tackling things to build our credit since January!

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    1. That is great to hear, and it can be such a relief when you're finished paying off your debts. We did that before we bought a house and it was such sweet bliss. Good luck on your home purchase in the near future.

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  17. Great tips, I think it's so important to know what you're getting in to financially.

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    1. Well not just financially, but with everything. So many people rush into relationships and marriage not knowing what's in store. Remember you're inheriting your significant other's debts as well.

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  18. I love this. Debt is easy to get into but difficult to get out of. You really do need a plan, and you need to be honest with yourself about finances.

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    1. That is so true. When I was in college I ran up my credit cards so badly because everything I saw, I wanted, and it was easy to get it because I had money on a card. I do things differently now. My credit cards are for emergencies only, while I use my debit card for everyday transactions. If I don't have it to spend, I'm not spending it.

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  19. This is spot on. I think we should all be transparent to our partner with our financial status.

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    1. Yes we really all should be, but unfortunately it doesn't always happen, because people don't like the stigma that having bad credit or being in debt entails, so they keep the information to themselves.

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  20. I liked your tips and I try to stay out of debt whenever possible. I think credit cards are bad debt, student loans medium and home mortgage a good debt. I avoid credit card debt at all times.

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    1. I really wouldn't consider credit card debt bad debt, and it's ok to have a credit card, you just have to be careful about how you use it. I keep mine for major purchases, and try to pay it off as soon as I can, and NEVER minimum payment.

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  21. Some great tips here that I’m sure will help many people into talking with their partners about their debt (might help their relationship aswell)

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    1. Well that's the goal and I hope I was able to help a few people, however, you really can't help everyone because some are just stuck in their ways.

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  22. These days, it really pays to be financially prepared and practical at the same time. Glad that there are establishments like Navy Federal does. Couples, married or not, should definitely consider checking this indeed!

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    1. You're right on both points, prepared and practical. Navy Federal is a great resource for those seeking help.

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  23. These are some great tips - it is so important to be on the same page as your partner and tackle it together

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    1. That is very true. I had a friend who had no idea that her husband was so much in debt, that it really strained their marriage. It wasn't until a collection notice came that he admitted how deep he was in. She helped him and now he's debt free and they're doing so much better.

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  24. My husband is an accountant, so he knows all about this stuff and has us well covered for when we get older. Thankfully he's on top of it.

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    1. Well that's great to hear, not everyone has an accountant husband, but I'm happy to hear that everything is going your way.

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  25. Oh I've never heard of these before. We have plenty of debt in our relationship but it's something we've managed to retain control of. Everything that we can get interest free is. :)

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    1. You've never heard of what before? I'm a bit confused. I'm happy to hear however that you're able to manage your debt, not everyone does that.

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  26. My husband and I are currently taking some of these steps to try to get us back out of debt after moving. They're working well so far!

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    1. That is amazing!! I hope that you're able to get out of debt soon with the steps that you're taking, and at least you took that step. Kudos to you!

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  27. I remember having the big financial conversation with my hubby before we got married. It's so important know what you're both walking into as a couple and how you can make things work together!

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    1. Not everyone does that. Seems like you and your hubby had your heads on your shoulders correctly and had that talk. It is important to know what you're getting into, especially financially.

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  28. I totally agree with these awesome suggestion. Money or Financial problem is one of the most common problems for couples. Communication is one of the key answer for this.

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    1. A lot of people don't communicate about their money problems because they're ashamed, but there is nothing to be ashamed of. Communication is definitely the key to opening up the door.

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  29. I prioritize my bills too. The mortgage with the higher bill and interest gets paid more when we can.

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    1. That's great! Always pay down the higher bill or the one with the highest interest first. Seems like you're heading in the right direction.

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  30. Debt is an awful thing, it can be something so many people just want to hide from, but you really do need to face it head first.

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    1. Yes, most people want to forget that it exists, but there's no use hiding because it will always be there.

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  31. I hate talking about money with my husband but at the end of the day, it needs to be done. I think it's all about being open to each other and making sure you guys have a plan down. Your tips are definitely more than helpful.

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    1. Why do you hate talking about money with your husband? My husband is the one who saves in my house and I'm the one who spends (A LOT), but we talk all the time, mostly about my spending, and came up with a plan. So far we've stuck to it and we're doing great.

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  32. I am currently trying to throw some extra cash at my home loan. Our ultimate goal is to pay it off in 5 years. Seems like a stretch since we owe 365k right now!!

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    1. Pay off $365k in 5 years is impressive. We don't owe quite that much, but I know it will take us a bit more than 5 years, especially since I love to travel, but it is still my #1 priority.

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  33. This is a very important topic that couples need to take seriously. It is the stuff that ends marriages for sure.

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    1. It can end marriages, especially if one partner was lying to the other about how much debt they were in. It's always best to be upfront about your financial affairs.

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  34. Great tips and advice. We also have our own kind of debts and hopefully, we can be debt free once the year ends. love your post!

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    1. Isn't that great when you have a timeline on when you'll be debt free? I remember when I finally got out of debt, it was the most liberating feeling EVER!!

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  35. This is very healthy in a relationship to figure out together how to clear up debt. I heard of the Navy Federal Union and I will look more into their services to see if it can help me too.

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    1. I'm sure that Navy Federal will be able to help you. Are you military? They do look out for their members.

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  36. These are GREAT tips. And so point- having debt and financial issues can cause so much strain on a marriage. I have been there before-- we try to communicate as much as possible and own up to our mistakes.

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    1. That's the thing Tat, you need to communicate and own up to any mistakes that you may have made. Doing your own thing can certainly put a strain on your marriage.

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  37. Great tips for people dealing with financial problems. I'm not in debt fortunately.

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