Advice for couple with half a million dollars in debt


Kevin, 32, and Michelle, 30, seem to be living a nice life.

They both drive luxury vehicles, own their home and are preparing to welcome their second child.

The problem is, they can’t afford to keep living like this.

“We’re in a really bad financial position,” Michelle told self-made millionaire and money expert Ramit Sethi on a recent episode of his “I Will Teach You to be Rich” podcast. The couple’s last names were not used.

“I hope that our plan to get out of it works well and that we can keep our house and keep everything running smoothly and that nothing happens to either one of us in the next two years, because if it does, we’re screwed,” Michelle said.

Though they earn a healthy joint income of around $216,000 a year, Kevin and Michelle’s high fixed costs — primarily their monthly debt payments — are stressing Michelle out and preventing the couple from saving for the future.

Each month, they pay $3,700 for their mortgage, $3,342 on their credit card debt and $2,495 on their auto loans. That’s a monthly total of over $9,500 before they’ve even gone grocery shopping. Including their $251,000 mortgage, the couple has around $628,500 in debt.

Here are the couple’s biggest pain points and Sethi’s suggestions for getting on better financial footing.

‘The house is burning down’

Sethi’s advice for getting back on track

They won’t be able to fix their problems overnight, but Sethi suggested a few changes the couple can make to improve their financial situation.

1. Working together

In addition to their spending habits, one of the couple’s foundational issues is their “money dynamic,” Sethi told them. Michelle has taken on a role similar to a parent to handle the family’s money — Kevin asks her for permission or for money outright if he wants to buy something, for example. 

But they need to hold each other accountable and work together to address their problems, Sethi said. Kevin needs to step up and make a more concerted effort to be involved in the finances, and Michelle needs to stop letting him off the hook when he’s not contributing equally.

The couple shared an example of a time when Michelle was on vacation and left Kevin to make the mortgage payment. When she saw he didn’t, she got angry and did it herself.

Sethi encouraged Michelle to trust Kevin to do his part, but he also pushed Kevin to make the changes he needed to earn that trust back.

2. Setting boundaries

Kevin and Michelle need to put their financial security first and be honest with themselves when they shouldn’t spend money on something, Sethi said.

They immediately took his advice. The couple had plans to go to dinner at an expensive New York City restaurant the day after the podcast recording, but talking with Sethi helped them realize they should cancel.

Skipping one dinner wouldn’t get them out of debt, but it’s a good example of when they can and should set a boundary, Sethi said.

When Michelle suggested that canceling the dinner made her the “bad guy,” Sethi pushed back.

“You’re both saying, ‘No, we’re going to put ourselves first, not this dinner,'” he said. “There’s something very meaningful about this type of restaurant for you, and for you to say, ‘No, we’re coming first,’ I think that’s really awesome.”

3. Thinking long-term

Michelle noticed she and Kevin were letting temporary situations derail their efforts to improve their overall situation. Events like Kevin going back to school or the baby coming soon let them think things were just bad for the moment, when in reality they’ve been bad for a long time and it’s going to take time to get better.

Sethi commended this realization and encouraged the couple to keep working at it because life is full of costly situations at every turn.

“It’s going to be tough forever unless you change the dynamic,” he said.

Check out the full episode here

Want to make extra money outside of your day job? Sign up for CNBC’s new online course How to Earn Passive Income Online to learn about common passive income streams, tips to get started and real-life success stories. CNBC Make It readers can use special discount code CNBC40 to get 40% off through 8/15/24.

Plus, sign up for CNBC Make It’s newsletter to get tips and tricks for success at work, with money and in life.

Ramit Sethi: How renting could make you richer than buying



Source link

Share This

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website.