Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Husband's debt(37 Posts)
I'm a long standing lurker bit have nc'd for this. This evening my husband revealed that he is 40k in debt. I'm so shocked, we're together nearly 9yrs (married 4yrs) have two dc 3yrs and 4mths). He's from another country and the debt is from a student loan that he had in his early twenties (now 34) that he was supposed to pay off when he started working. He moved countries for work soon after graduating and according to him "buried his head in the sand" about paying it back. He said it all became too big to tell me but that it's been torturing him for ages that he hadn't told me. He has been in strange form for a few weeks but I put that down to a new baby etc.
Anyway, this evening in floods of tears he told me. Says he feels awful and I believe him. Plans to contact the agency tomorrow regarding starting a repayment plan. So I should feel relieved but I don't...I feel so disappointed and embarrassed. We had been saving for a mortgage for a bigger place and I was delighted that things seemed to be improving financially for us. We had cleared credit cards and a small car loan so I thought we were doing well. I feel strangely empty about the debt itself but am so shocked he kept something so huge from me. All our big financial decisions were made with me thinking I knew where we stood. Feel so ashamed that we're in this position and embarrassed by him. In other respects, he's a loving husband and great father but has a tendency to procrastinate & hide from problems. I feel so conflicted as I know he feels awful but I'm so disappointed. Not realy sure why I'm posting but can't talk to anyone in RL as just so embarrassed.
shows how much you can assume from a few postings
Apologies for slow reply-just lost a very long post so will try again. Thanks for your responses and believe me I'm taking everything on board.
The option to delay repayments was along the lines of what you suggested Yogii but I don't want to have it hanging over our heads and think we should just start paying it. I am equally reluctant to have his parents bail us out as it seems so juvenile, ridiculous and embarrassing (plus I do not want to be beholden to them regarding discussing other future financial decisions).
Re getting independent advice, I will do that. He is waiting on the paperwork to arrive from the agency and armed with that in black and white (and translated), I will make an appointment to make a more informed decision.
We are not based in the UK but I imagine the system is similar enough here. On the website for the agency, it says that spouses and children are not liable for the debt-the debtor alone is liable. I think it's not uncommon that people either don't/can't repay so they seemed surprised and very helpful when he contacted them to arrange payments especially since so much time had elapsed. Any credit check in the past (i.e. previous mortgage applications, loan applications) did not highlight this debt but they also did not know where he was so you're right, that has probably changed. I have a mortgage on a house which I bought before meeting home so it's in my name alone and realistically, I think it will be a long time before we are in a position to buy.
Polly despite everything, your post made me smile, his parents could not be further removed from head-in-the-sand, financially reckless people! They are lovely in lots of ways, but can be almost irritatingly practical and frugal when it comes to spending money. (The Psychologist in me wonders if that is why he is so awful with money-almost a reaction against them!) I was really surprised that they suggested it and it made me think it wasn't such an awful idea but I will of course look into it further.
Thanks for all your posts, I hope I don't sound like a trusting idiot by these posts. I am by nature quite sceptical and cynical but I think I can get caught up in the emotional aspects of his lying and not want to face the practical issues re the debt-this thread is forcing me to consider everything. In lots of ways, he is great and we are good together but this to me is huge...
If you've managed to get a 5 year delay during which no interest is charged then that's fine. If inflation pushes up pay in that time, then the real-terms value of the debt actually decreases. That said, having got into this situation, I'd recommend the short-term pain of getting it all paid off as soon as possible, but I can understand why the option he's been presented with has been taken.
But, when it comes to getting credit (in the UK, don't know about where you are) you have to declare any debts you have and the payments you make on them. Even if you are on a payment holiday, you must still declare the debt. The mortgage will be a long-term loan and they will look at the payments that will have to be made 5 years from now and make a call on the affordability of the loan at that time.
I still think you need to check all this out and have full disclosure. I don't think it'll be an issue, head-in-sand types like to have someone watching over them.
if his parents think it's ok to delay paying the loan so that you can take out another (mortgage) think i can see where dh gets his ostrich approach from.
If he is actually gping to pay it off then I don't think it makes any sense to delay payments on the main body of the loan.
Have a look eg on martin's money?
Aside from his parents paying some off has he actually made a concrete plan to pay any of it off ie to earn more/reduce his outgoings. If not I would be worried that all he's done is stuck his head in the sand again
You are considering a plan that delays the bulk of the repayments ?
He may well have another crazy idea about conquering the world by then, made stupid investments with the savings without telling you, blown the whole lot on a horse
Ok, I am exaggerating
But this guy has form for being a lying fraudster
I wouldn't agree to that
I would be taking steps to separate myself financially, not tying family money further and further into the future
Is this seriously the best advice you have been given?
Please, do your own research
That's right Yogii, savings plan is the repayment plan.The agency involved in collecting the debt have said that he can pay a lump sum (penalties & interest accrued) and then delay the rest of the repayments for 5 years. His parents think this is a good option as it will allow us to get a mortgage here without having to account for monthly repayments but I'm not so sure. They're determined that myself and the dc shouldn't suffer while this is being sorted which is all very kind but I just want it gone. So if he did that he would pay a lump sum and then save each month whilst we got a mortgage. The debt is not traceable here but I just want a clean slate!
Any believe me, my posts are a lot calmer and more reasonable than I feel!
"But it's his ability to ignore it that scares me too"
Beware the head-in-the-sand attitude, it won't go away (that response to any difficulties, i mean), and the reason he's feeling better is the "a problem shared is a problem halved" as they say. You need full disclosure from now on, and it could well mean you always feel like a parent/guardian. You are always going to have to be the sensible one.
I wouldn't trust him to sort this out. Any decisions about how to get this sorted must be vetted by you. I winced at the mention of a financial advisor, in this country they would be the wrong people to approach with an issue like this.
You said he has started a savings plan and is repaying the loan monthly. Is the savings plan the method of repayment, or is he saving AND repaying? i.e. two different actions. I hope it's the former because there is absolutely no point in saving anything if there is outstanding debt that's attracting interest.
and yup, he has conveniently offloaded all the worry onto you..how nice for him
next time he goes into a huff about you being "off" with him, I hope you give him both barrels
I wouldn't be feeling too sorry for him, tbh
The man is a fraudster
The rest of us have to stump up for Uni fees...why the fuck not him ?
I am just sorry that you are now also paying the price out of joint family money. I would be beyond furious, tbh and would lose an awful lot of respect for him
Glow I know, I thought it was a lot too but apparently it's not uncommon. He went to a fairly typical university in a European city and that covers fees and living expenses over four years but also includes interest and penalties because he was supposed to start paying it off about 10/11 years ago when he graduated and started working. I find it hard to fathom too.
Any I do too. I think I'm pretty understanding and supportive. I think he does too but he has an astonishing ability to compartmentalise worries and occasionally, since he told me he actually seems to forget what has happened and ask why I'm off with him. He had the nerve to be "hurt" when I ranted about why i was worried about our financial future but that was fleeting. From his perspective, the hard part was telling me and he's feeling relief now-from mine, it has come as a thunderbolt and I'm reeling still.
Singledad, thanks for your post and male perspective. I do get (relatively) that it was a huge burden for him to carry. But it's his ability to ignore it that scares me too. His explanations for not telling me pissed me off but I think he was grasping at straws to explain why.
I am worried about his ability to make more of his career as he's extremely bright but he procrastinates and gets bored easily. He has changed jobs and companies 3 times in the past 8 years and I think that seems a lot but I'm also in the same public sector profession since we met so it all seems alien to me. Part of it was pride, he has friends who earn crazy money and think he feels he needs to hold his own with that but that also makes me nervous about his ability to plan and change his circumstances. I know this debt will be cleared eventually but he still has plans to make his millions but I worry about how realistic he is about that. In my profession, I studied for eight years and did crappy jobs, stressful qualifications to get where I am so that's all I know. He seems to think he'll find a secret way of making a fortune that no-one else has thought of. Great if it happens but it may not so I need him to be grounded in the real world while he works at that. We both earn very good salaries but since having kids, I work part-time snd wanted not to have to worry so much about money.
I guess what I'm saying is, it's challenged my view of him and our future. I never wanted to always be the sensible one who plans and budgets but I feel I've now no other choice. I'm hoping he'll prove me wrong but it's early days...
So sorry for the epic posts-I think MN is baring the brunt of me not being able to tell people in RL. Thanks for your support and contributions!
Hi, I came across this post and to an extent I can sympathise with both of you. You will feel a bit betrayed by your DH not telling you about this and it makes your plans feel like they are on shifting sand? But from your husbands point of view - whatever reason it happened because of - he DID open up and let you know, which is an extremely hard thing to do - male pride etc - because there is a stigma attached to debt and such stuff these days still. I used to have an extremely well paid job and unfortunately the more you earn the more you spend - so holidays etc were funded on cards and then cleared when my bonuses came in - unfortunately when that job was lost the level of debt made things very hard, I struggled paying everything for two years before admitting defeat. Now my credit rating is shot but that's all it is - you're husband will have felt embarrassed and ashamed by it and the longer it went on the worse he would feel. He has opened up and did the right thing - yes your plans changed but that's ok - you adapt and adjust them as needed and work through it together. Don't be so hard on him - its best to support each other now - BUT make sure he knows he can't do anything else like it!
Glowbuggy NZ for example charges high interest rates on student debt for people who live overseas but if you live in NZ it is zero interest.
I know lots of people that have accrued 40K student debt and have no way of ever paying it back someone I knew had 70K worth of debt as did 2 degrees.
I hope your husband realises how very, very lucky he is to have you
Holy freaking shit break. What University did he go to to get a student debt of 40K. I hope it was Ivy League!
Hi Polly, sorry for slow reply and thanks for asking. All ok, he's making huge efforts with me, kids, everything really but I'm not sure he fully understands how much this has affected how I view him. Has started a savings plan and is repaying loan monthly. PIL have offered a lump sum to pay off proportion of debt, which will be part of his inheritance but even that has irritated me! He has told me that he's relieved that he told me but seems to forget that while this is a huge weight off his shoulders, it's placed a huge weight on mine!
He's working abroad this week so that has given me some headspace. I've realised that while I do love him, it will take a while for him to earn my trust and respect back. Have warned him it's a yellow card (to borrow my FIL's expression) & there won't be a second chance! His parents have been very supportive to me and tough on him so that has helped. Thanks again for your post!
Thanks for your replies. I appreciate your advice 34DD and Ginger-it's very much what I was worrying about. The debt is a personal student loan which cannot be transferred to a spouse and it dies with the debtor (so maybe that's a thought... ) Unfortunately he rang them before I saw your message and they have agreed that he can pay 250pm for a 15yr period so we can kiss any idea of mortgage goodbye (extremely difficult to get mortgages here at present). His parents have offered a lump sum to partially pay off the debt from his inheritance and while it's very kind of them, I think he needs to suffer a bit to learn from this experience.
Totally agree Polly that I need to see concrete evidence of a change in his behaviour and that trusting him again will be a gradual process. He's agreed to a complete review of our finances and budgets and has cancelled some trips abroad later this summer to save that money. He's forwarded on all correspondence from the agency but otherwise has been tiptoeing around me all day which was driving me mad but I think wanting to talk about it all day would irritate me too...I think it will take a while to feel calm about this. Thanks for all your advice and support, I did tell my sister and she was great but it's hard to feel so isolated with this.
Really glad to read 34DD's post because it is good advice and what this thread was missing.
Whilst it might 'feel' right to encourage DH to come clean to all agencies straight off it may not be the best thing for you/your children.
Not sure what your current location will have in terms of Citizen's Advice/private financial advice but would seriously recommend getting the whole position before a professional if it is in anyway too complex for you to deal with.
lots of great advice from cogito
I wouldn't trust him yet and would be wanting a translator to help me understand any calls/documents about finances
As the loans predates your getting together and he has lied about it,i would also be tempted to really make him face up to it... to have him draw up a pay back plan, in which he rather than you and the rest of the family takes the brunt of it by eg working more/spending less on hobbies/car/socialising.
I know you're right, here university education is free so people fortunately don't usually incur huge debts so it never occurred to me to look into that with him. A credit check does sound like an interesting concept from here on though! Thanks so much, having someone listen to my ranting has really helped. I was very calm with him last night and think it hasn't fully hit me yet. Waiting to hear what the agency said to him this morning. Thanks again
Join the discussion
Please login first.