The $10,000 Newlywed Surprise

Coming home from vacation is so hard!

While you’re swinging in a hammock in paradise you forget your long list of things to do, your bills, your diet and your boss. Coming home is a startling return to reality.

Josh’s return home was especially startling. Home from Maui with his new bride, he went to their bulging mailbox to retrieve the mail. He wondered how two people could get this much mail in just one week?

At least the wedding and honeymoon bills hadn’t arrived yet. He hated to think of the bills they racked up in the last few weeks! But a wedding and once-in-a-lifetime-trip was worth it, and he knew he and Paige would remember this time forever.


Then a feeling he’d soon want to forget hit him. His heart sank, his stomach turned to knots – a $10,000 credit card bill? Whose was this? Did his neighbor’s mail get stuffed in their box? Was there some other Paige McCancy? There had to be some mistake!

Unfortunately, the mistake was a lack of full disclosure. Paige hid her debt from Josh while they were dating because there never seemed to be a good time to bring it up. She thought Josh was so sweet, but he was always worried about money. When they started planning the wedding and honeymoon, she figured mentioning her debt would push him over the edge. So she told herself she’d tell him later.

The damage is done. The debt is real. Like the flash floods in Maui, this rush of information has the potential to damage everything. But it doesn’t have to. What can they do now?

1.  COMMUNICATE – Get all the facts on the table. All of them! Was this debt for needs – schooling, car repairs, medical expenses, etc. – or was it for shopping, lattes, and tanning beds? There’s a reason we vow to each other about money in our wedding vows. Her debt is now their debt.

2.  GET HELP – Get some third party assistance. We wouldn’t try and tackle this on our own. Ask someone with more experience and a fresh perspective to help you understand how you got here and how to never return.

3.  IDENTIFY your Money Personalities – Understand each other’s view of money. Every person approaches money differently. If you understand your spouse’s Money Personality you can address some of the problems before they arise and talk through your individual approach to money in an open, thoughtful manner.

It looks like Josh’s Primary Money Personality is a Saver. His Secondary may be a Security Seeker. Is Paige a Risk Taker? A Spender? A Flyer? Our assessment calculates both Primary and Secondary Money Personalities so Josh and Paige, and all of us, can deal openly with who we are and who we fell in love with.

There’s definitely some trouble in paradise, but they can take this opportunity to start fresh and learn some valuable insights about each other that will help their marriage far beyond the honeymoon.

Do you know of any newlywed Money Surprises? We would love to hear them – let us know and we will pass them on.

The Money Couple: Authors of 'First Comes Love, Then Comes Money'

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