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Hello fools! As a soon to be married person, I was excited to see this board to get ideas about handling joint finances. Here's a question for those who've been there or those who have good ideas :)

How did you all handle pre-existing debt, mainly student loans and credit card debt, when you married? We have dated 3 years, lived together a year or so and are getting married this summer. We still maintain separate accounts and are looking for the best way to structure changing that (major hurdle #2) but first, are looking to pay off a large amount of Credit card (his) and student and car loans (mine) debt while not going deeper into debt to pay for the wedding (major hurdle #3).

The thing is, our debts aren't really equal, and the interest rates are heavily weighted towards his debt being paid off first. We're talking about probably 50K total debt, with about 25K in credit card debt and 25K student and car loans. We both make fairly significant incomes now with new positions that have evolved over the past year or so, probably in the ballpark of 150K+ combined.

The major hurdle #1 is that he is a spender, NOT a saver, and I am someone who is very uncomfortable with this amount of debt. Most Fools would agree with me :) but future hubby isn't made as uncomfortable by it. I've always known that we viewed money differently, but I never knew how differently until we discussed debt and I found out how deep he was in. I was deep in credit card debt after college, for what I saw as investment in education reasons, and worked my tail off to get out of that debt so I could work on my student and car loans next. I feel as if now I'm back in a hole. Budgeting set amounts unfortunately won't work as I work an entirely commission based job, although it is lucrative, and he both is an employee and owns his own side business.

We have had a lot of discussions about this, but my main question for the group I guess is this; do you think that the best way out of this is to both whack away at higher interest rate debt first, given that we are still working out the kinks in our money togetherness? I guess my concern is that with the balances dwindling quickly, as I've been so far throwing larger chunks of money at it even though we make similar incomes, he won't be as motivated to get rid of the rest of the debt and will start spending more again. HE didn't even know the total debt he was in until I made him sit down and total it, and I think it was a wake up call. My main concern is devising a fair plan to get rid of it, and then CONTINUE with this habit once the sticker shock of the final tally wears off. He frankly has more expensive tastes than I do, and I don't want to become the money monger or nag in this relationship.

Thanks for any and all input!

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