Newly Married with $52,000 of Debt

My Wife and I Never Discussed Money Before Getting Married–and Ended Up with $52,000 of Debt

Prior to tallying up our debt, we’d talked about traveling internationally, starting a family, and, some day retiring comfortably. There was so much we wanted out of life, but . . .”

This is an excellent article that describes what can happen when a soon-to-be-married couple doesn’t talk about finances.  Fortunately, the two people in this article–Deacon and Kim Hayes–realized they had a problem and then took steps to get their finances back on track.

Specific steps this couple took can make a big difference over time.  Among the suggestions included in this article are:

  • Writing down all your assets, debts, income, and expenses.
  • Prepare a budget and review each item for opportunities to save money.
  • Replacing a newer, expensive car with an older car.
  • Selling unwanted or unneeded items online.
  • Using any extra money to repay debt.
  • Establishing an emergency fund.
  • Saving and investing a specific amount each month.

Consider This:  Deacon Hayes–the author of this article–became a financial planner and now shares his story with his clients.

For more information, Click Here

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Discuss why engaged couples need to discuss their finances before they get married.
  • Stress how easy it is to get in debt and how hard and how much time it takes to get out of debt.

Discussion Questions

  1. Assume you are dating someone who seems to spend more than they make. In this situation, would you continue to date this person?  Explain your answer.
  2. One of the suggestions included in this article is that people write down their assets, debts, income, and expenses. How can this suggestion help a young-married couple plan their financial future?
  3. Assume you have credit card debts and an automobile loan that total $75,000. What specific steps can you take to reduce or eliminate your debt?

Wedding Costs and Marriage Success

The average cost of a wedding is nearly $30,000 and the average engagement ring cost is about $5,500.  However, a high-cost wedding does not ensure a long-term marriage.  A study by two economists at Emory University concluded that “marriage duration is inversely associated with spending on the engagement ring and wedding ceremony“.

Other findings of the research included:

  • spending between $2,000 and $4,000 on an engagement ring was associated with a 1.3 times greater chance of divorce compared to spending between $500 and $2,000.
  • spending between $2,000 and $4,000 on the engagement ring was associated with two to three times the probability of reporting being stressed about wedding-related debt relative to spending between $500 and $2,000.
  • spending less than $1,000 on the wedding is associated with an 82 to 93 percent decrease in the chance of reporting being stressed about wedding-related debt relative to spending between $5,000 and $10,000. 

While money is important in marriage and life, being materialistic can result in relational difficulties.

For additional information on the wedding costs and marriage success, click here:

For the research paper, click here:

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students research actions that may be taken to reduce wedding costs.
  • Have students interview people about their experiences related to planning a wedding. 

Discussion Questions 

  1. What financial difficulties might result from overspending for a wedding?
  2. How might a couple reduce weddings costs?
  3. Describe actions that might be taken to as alternatives for an expensive wedding.