How To Talk To Your Spouse About Debt

By Aaron Sarentino Reviewed by Nima Vahdat Updated Jan 11, 2024
How To Talk To Your Spouse About Debt

Knowing how to talk to your spouse about finances, and particularly about debt, is a key factor of a successful marriage. 

According to an American Psychological Association Stress in America Survey, 33% of Americans fight about money. One way to avoid this is to learn how to talk about it honestly and openly.

It’s not exactly a fun or romantic topic, and you may feel some guilt and shame. But communicating the situation to your spouse and making a plan together to pay down the debt is crucial for both your financial and relationship health.


  • Hiding debt may seem easier, but in the end, it can ruin relationships and cause more financial distress.
  • If you’re in credit card debt, paying it off should be a top priority on your list as it will help you reach your other goals faster because it frees up more money to reach them.
  • Talking regularly about your progress and what you must do is the key to sticking to your goals and adjusting whenever necessary. 

Why You Should Talk To Your Spouse About Debt

As mentioned earlier, talking about debt can be stressful and even embarrassing, but you must talk about it. To reach your financial goals and avoid (or at least minimize) money arguments, you must be open and honest about your debt to create a plan together.

Hiding debt may seem easier, but in the end, it can ruin relationships and cause more financial distress. 

Knowing how to talk to your spouse about debt can eliminate the stress and help you get through these trying times.

The Risk Of Hiding Debt From Your Spouse

If you’re worried about discussing debt with your spouse, you may consider hiding it. 

While it may seem like the ‘easy way out,’ ignoring debt only makes it grow. Interest continues to accrue, as do late fees. 

If you miss too many payments, you may risk having accounts go into collections or being sued, which would cause even further financial distress. 

In addition to the above, here’s what you risk:

  • Being accused of financial infidelity (cheating but with finances)
  • Causing arguments about money that could have been prevented
  • Digging your household into a deeper financial hole
  • Getting turned down for future loans because of the damaged credit you or your spouse created

Marriage can be hard enough on its own, and adding hidden debt to the equation can make it much worse. You’ll create arguments and could even ruin the trust in your relationship.

Steps To Talk To Your Spouse About Debt

So, how do you talk to your spouse about debt without creating an argument or ruining trust? Here are some simple steps to follow…

Open Communication And Honesty Are Key

First, know that open and honest communication are key factors throughout the process. No matter how difficult the topic feels, honesty is best.

It’s also important not to point fingers or make either partner feel bad for the situation. This is a time to solve problems and determine how to move forward. Take time to process the situation and plan what you’ll say before discussing the debt situation with your spouse.

If you’re admitting you have undisclosed debt, give reasons why you didn’t disclose it upfront. But if you’re asking your spouse about his/her debt, ask in a way that’s not demeaning and instead makes them feel like you want to fix the situation rather than point fingers.

Assess Your Goals

After opening up about the amount of debt you both have, it’s time to look at your goals. You can have separate and combined goals in a marriage. To determine this, each partner should write down their individual goals. 

Together, compare your lists and see where there is overlap. Those are the combined goals that you should include in your list. 

Next, prioritize each person’s individual goals and see how they fit into your plan. You may have to sacrifice some goals to care for others, but you can always add them back into your plan when you’ve achieved other goals.

This step may take some time as you determine which goals to prioritize without hurting anyone’s feelings. Keep in mind the big picture and where you want to be as a couple in the next year, five years, and as long as 10 to 20 years down the road.

Create A Debt Payoff Plan Together

If you’re in credit card debt, paying it off should be a top priority on your list. This is a combined goal and is what will help you reach your other goals because it will free up more money to reach them.

If you aren’t sure how to create a debt payoff plan, consider discussing it with a debt relief company like Americor that can help you create a plan that works for your financial situation. 

Keep in mind you won’t get out of debt overnight; it can take months or years. The key is tracking your progress to stay motivated and stick to the plan.

Create A Budget And Stick To It

After creating a plan and determining your goals, you must create a budget. A budget tells you how you can/must spend your money each month. 

A common budget and the easiest to use is the 50/30/20 budget. With this plan, you allocate 50% of your income to your fixed expenses (housing, transportation, food, medical, and insurance), 30% to wants (fun spending and entertainment), and 20% to savings and debt payoff

This is the easiest way to ensure you reach your goals. It’s a slow and steady race, but the more consistent you are with your efforts, the easier it will be to reach your goals.

Have Regular Money Talks

Identifying your goals and creating a budget is important, but the follow-up is even more important. Having regular money talks to see where you are at financially is important. 

Things will come up that may derail your efforts, and that’s okay as long as you recognize them and figure out how to move forward.

Talking regularly about your progress and what you must do is the key to sticking to your goals and adjusting whenever necessary. 

Final Thoughts On Talking To Your Spouse About Debt

Knowing how to talk to your spouse about finances (and particularly debt) is a key to a happy marriage. 

Debt can cause arguments, stress, and even be the reason for divorce, if you aren’t careful. It is important to know how to approach your spouse to come clean about your debt or get him or her to tell you about the debt incurred.

When you’re honest with each other, you can create a plan that helps you get out of debt and reach your financial goals. This may take months or even years, but having a plan is the most important first step.

At Americor, we understand the importance of managing your finances wisely. 

As America’s trusted source for debt relief solutions, we aim to empower you with financial knowledge that can lead to informed decisions, whether it’s about savings, investments, or managing debt.

If your debt has become unmanageable and you have difficulty making your debt payments each month, then you should consider a free consultation call with one of our certified Debt Consultants, who can provide personalized advice tailored to your specific needs.

By taking proactive steps today, you can put an end to your financial stress and work towards a brighter financial future. 

Remember, there is always hope for debt relief, and our team of experienced professionals are ready to guide you on your journey to regaining control of your finances.

For more information on Americor’s debt relief services, contact us today to see how we can help you eliminate your debts, and get on the fast-track to becoming completely debt-free!


Aaron Sarentino

Aaron oversees executive, administrative and management functions for the firm. Aaron has a Bachelors in Business Administration from Pepperdine University. He is responsible for helping customers at every stage of the debt settlement process and focused on building loyalty to ensure long-term client retention by addressing customer issues. Aaron plays a pivotal role in the upliftment of the Americor team to ensure the best possible customer experience for clients.