This Sunday is my one-year anniversary. I am not the easiest person to be around, so I’m glad my wife hasn’t changed her mind (yet). Looking back at the past year, it didn’t really seem like a lot happened (other then the wedding and honeymoon in Cuba) that was different than any other year, but there were a couple of milestones that I thought I would highlight:
We as a couple became debt-free, other than our mortgage:
I haven’t carried debt of any kind for the past 5 years, since I paid off the last of my $25,000 in student loans. My new (or as I like to say “current”) wife however had not read the same personal finance books that I had (or any at all) and had not received any financial advice from her family growing up. Until we got engaged, we really didn’t talk about money all that much, I assumed that she had some debt (as most people do), but not a whole lot. I was a little freaked out when I found out (after some coaxing) that the total debt was close to $20,000 – about half on a credit card at 19% and the other half on a department store credit card at 26%! At the time, I didn’t really know what I was getting into, but after some discussion about spending and debt repayment, she was able to pay off her entire debt (on top of saving for our wedding) in about a year and a half. As of this week, she not only has no debt, but she has over $3,000 in savings – something I don’t think she’d ever really even thought about, let alone knew how to do. Money-wise, she is a lot less stressed – there’s just a lot less to worry about, although her new spending involves a lot less new clothes (a downside to watching what you spend).
We bought our first house together:
I had, up to the day I bought our house, never really thought I would be a homeowner. Owning and having to look after a house had never really appealed to me. Being a home-owner was very important to my wife (although apparently it had to be a specific sized house), and I warmed up to the idea, eventually. Together, we have learned to do many new things that I don’t think I had ever really put any thought into before, like laying floor, wiring lights, painting, fitting trim around the house – we have also taken on the most debt that we probably ever will. While the home improvement portion of owning a house is interesting and exciting, the paying off of the mortgage is daunting and boring.
So, those are the two main money things that I got up to in my first year of marriage. Although the debt that I “discovered” was a bit of a shock, my spouse was able to (independently) pay it all off, and at the same time learn some personal finance fundamentals.
Did anyone else have any surprises like this when they got married? How did you resolve it?