Debt

Shot of a happy senior couple going for a relaxing walk in the park

If you are in a relationship where there is debt, including a mortgage, a conversation around this topic is beneficial as part of your financial discussions. 

If the debt is manageable, the topic can be covered when talking about budgets. However, if the debt is of concern, it may be useful to discuss it in a more structured and focused manner.

Debt can be another strong emotional topic so some groundwork may be necessary before launching into a conversation.

One way to do this is by discussing other financial matters first. Then you can slowly ease into a debt conversation in a more natural manner.

An example of this could be: 

How do you know if you've got too much debt?

Many couples and individuals will have to take on at least some debt in their lifetime. 

Problem debt arises when a pattern of revolving debt emerges – when one debt is being paid off by taking on another debt. 

Unfortunately, there is no quick solution to this situation, however, with some honest communication between partners, a plan can be made to help limit spending more than you can comfortably afford.

Here is a guide to get started – there are many options to address debt including the support of a financial mentor, website tools, and other services:

Click the boxes 👆

List
Make a list of all your debt: mortgage, credit cards, car, student loans.
Divide
Divide your list into two categories: the debt you are okay with and the debt you’re not okay with. You might be comfortable having a mortgage, car payment or student loan.
Review
Review the okay category. Are the payments more than you can manage on your current income? Can repayments be adjusted?
Total
Total up the 'not okay with' category. Ask yourselves whether you are being realistic or if you're trying to live beyond your means. Talk about which debt you can commit to paying off first.
Estimate
You need to consider outstanding and overdue amounts, penalties, interest, minimum repayments, and the possibility of negotiating lower repayments.
Rework
Create a plan that includes payment on the debt you've decided to pay first.
Reach out
If you are in serious financial difficulty or just need some help or advice, there are options below that provide free financial support.

Our DEBTsolve programme will help you take control of your unmanageable debt.

Our specialist debt coaches will work with you to understand your situation and create a plan that will help you get on top of your debt. 

Click here to find out more about DEBTsolve

Happy, young, Maori female wIth shoulder length dstk haIr in busIness attIre on her own and against a wooden background

“At first I thought it was just another loan shark, but then I saw people commenting things like ‘this was really great for me’. I didn’t think something this good was possible.”

Click here to read about Hannah’s DEBTsolve experience

© Good Shepherd NZ and AUT, 2021

Good Shepherd NZ has built this toolkit in collaboration with Dr Ayesha Scott of AUT’s Finance Department.