Dave Ramsey is a money-management expert, national radio personality and best-selling author.
My sister's fiancé will be bringing a lot of debt into their marriage. He has several credit cards that are all maxed out, a $30,000 mortgage, and lots of medical bills. She's quit college to work full-time and help him pay it all off. Is this a good idea?
—Heather via email
Dave Says: This is a very bad idea. Those bills will become her joint responsibility soon enough-like after they're married, and not one second sooner. What if something bad happens and they break up? Once you get married, there's no "yours" and "mine" anymore. It's all "ours," and that's when you should pay everything together. Marrying someone who is in debt is OK. But you need to make sure the habits that caused the debt have been broken, and that you're both in complete agreement from that point on about how the money will be handled.
Your sister's biggest responsibilities right now are making sure she really loves this guy, and that they're in agreement on financial issues before taking the trip to the altar. I've seen too many people come into our offices for counseling who were broke because they paid the bills for someone who left them before the big day. Never pay your fiancé's bills before you get married!