Marrying Debt

When MF #5 got married to an Ivy League-educated gentleman who planned to learn in kollel, I overheard her mother complaining.

“When we did our research we didn’t know to ask about student loans! She’s just starting out, and already she’s $20,000 in debt!”

“It could be worse,” her conversant comforted her. “I know a dentist who married a doctor. $300,000, and they think they got off easy.”

“Well at least they have good jobs. My future son-in-law is learning, and long-term he wants to teach. They’ll be living in a basement the rest of their lives.”

That was the first time I thought about debt as a factor in marriage. I am debt-averse to an extreme. Not everyone sees things my way, though.

“Take out student loans,” Done4 urged me when I was in college. “They’re the cheapest loans you’ll ever get in your life.”

“You’re still paying interest and committing future earnings,” I pointed out. “Earnings you can’t guarantee that you’ll have.”

The idea that my careful financial life might be thrown over by someone who thought education was a stage in life to pass through, like puberty, with no bearing on his future, was scary. And it was unbelievable how many guys I dated said they were only in college because their mother said so, and they didn’t want to do whatever they were getting a degree in, and kollel sounded nice, actually, yeah.

Sure it does. So does being back in the womb. But do you belong there?

So I wasn’t rolling my eyes when credit scores showed up as something people want to know before you go (out together). It’s a great way to get an idea of your partner’s fiscal responsibility. Or at least open the discussion about it.