A reader is looking for a "hack" to avoid telling his girlfriend the truth.

2 minute read

Question: I think I might be in deep trouble. My girlfriend and I have been dating for a year, and I really want to marry her. Except I have like $10,000 on like five or six credit cards that I’m paying the bare minimum on.

The thing is, my girlfriend thinks I’m doing really well. I got a real good job, but I lease a car that’s killing me and my apartment rent is going up again. Thing is, if I cut back on the nice car and nice pad, I’ll look like I’m not successful.

Eventually, I’ll ask her to marry me and she’ll find out about the debts. How can I quick-fix this? there must be some hacks. I hear all the time about signing up for plans that freeze your interest rates and late fees. But I’m not sure which one is best. Is there one you recommend so I can just catch my breath here? At least through the wedding?

— David in Washington

Howard Dvorkin CPA answers…

Let me start at the end, David: There’s no “hack” that can delay your debt payments until after your wedding. Even if there was, I wouldn’t want to help you lie to your wife the same way you hid the truth from your girlfriend.

Before we dive deep into your finances, David, let me convince you to come clean with your girlfriend now, before she becomes your fiancée.

Debt.com has written often about the psychology of money, citing studies that prove money is why your marriage will fail. Yet just a few weeks ago, we ran this detailed infographic showing couples aren’t talking about money in marriage.

Hiding Debt From Spouse

If you truly love your girlfriend, you’ll tell her the truth about your finances. If she truly loves you, she’ll stick around — as long as she sees you working hard to climb out of debt, instead of trying to “quick-fix” it. You have several options, although I strongly urge you to consider the last one I’ll mention.

First, never lease a car if you can’t afford it. If you want to drive an impressive set of wheels, do what my friend Stacy Johnson does. The founder of Money Talks News owns a boat but have never bought a new car — because he saves thousands buying older luxury cars for deep discounts.

Second, if you propose to your girlfriend, you can consider living together in your nice apartment as a way to learn compatibility before you get married. If your values (or hers) don’t permit that, I’d urge you to find a male roommate to halve your rent.

Third, I’d usually recommend a balance transfer if you have good income and manageable credit card debt. However, with “like” $10,000 on “like” a half-dozen cards, it’s obvious to me that you haven’t really sat down and added up what you owe and to whom.

So I’m going to implore you to try credit counseling. Don’t fret, David, it costs nothing. Debt.com can even set you up for a free debt analysis from a certified credit counselor at a nonprofit agency. While a counselor won’t tell you how to hide debt from your girlfriend, you’ll learn about numerous ways to start chipping away at those debts. By the time she says, “I do,” you’ll be saying, “I’m doing better.”

Have a debt question? Can’t find what you need to know? We can! Submit any debt or finance question you have, and we’ll tap a pro who will respond as quickly as possible.

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About the Author

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

I’m a certified public accountant who has authored two books on getting out of debt, Credit Hell and Power Up, and I am one of the personal finance experts for Debt.com. I have focused my professional endeavors in the consumer finance, technology, media and real estate industries creating not only Debt.com, but also Financial Apps and Start Fresh Today, among others. My personal finance advice has been included in countless articles, and has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Forbes and Entrepreneur as well as virtually every national and local newspaper in the country. Everyone should have a reason for living that’s bigger than themselves, and besides my family, mine is this: Teaching Americans how to live happily within their means. To me, money is not the root of all evil. Poor money management is. Money cannot buy happiness, but going into debt always buys misery. That’s why I launched Debt.com. I’m glad you’re here.

Published by Debt.com, LLC