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Husband's debt

(37 Posts)
reelingwife Fri 19-Jul-13 00:54:43

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.

reelingwife Tue 30-Jul-13 03:19:24

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!

AnyFucker Tue 30-Jul-13 07:05:20

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

AnyFucker Tue 30-Jul-13 07:06:35

and yup, he has conveniently offloaded all the worry onto nice for him

next time he goes into a huff about you being "off" with him, I hope you give him both barrels

Yogii Tue 30-Jul-13 09:07:17

"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.

reelingwife Tue 30-Jul-13 12:47:28

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!

AnyFucker Tue 30-Jul-13 16:29:52

Whaaat ?

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

pollywollydoodle Wed 31-Jul-13 06:57:59

hi op
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

Yogii Wed 31-Jul-13 10:23:19


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.

34DD Wed 31-Jul-13 12:54:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

reelingwife Wed 31-Jul-13 22:57:09

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...

pollywollydoodle Thu 01-Aug-13 10:54:34

shows how much you can assume from a few postings smile

34DD Thu 01-Aug-13 11:04:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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