Like so many others, you've meticulously checked off all your boxes as you progressed in life. You got your degree(s), landed that awesome job in your chosen career, and made a few investments. Somehow, the marriage box refuses to be checked and you seem to be the perfect candidate on paper. What other box is there to check before marriage? Here's where a phase you may have had in your early twenties comes back to bite you (...and no, it's not the "hoe phase" we've heard so much about on Insecure). It's the "charge it" phase. Many of us went to college and were peasants due to terrible paying part-time jobs or the lack of time to even have a job and keep up with studies. Hence, the "charge it" phase was born.
This phase typically starts during the freshman year, but definitely isn't limited to that year by a long shot. Credit card companies swarm campuses at orientation preying on unsuspecting freshman. These freshman will most assuredly need resources once they get acclimated to not being able to just walk into the next room and get cash from their parents. The pressure to impress their new peers and reinvent themselves drives them into a "charge it" phase more often than not. Then, there are the later years, when you want to have the latest and greatest in your apartment, etc. I remember watching a few of my college friends charge big screen TVs, designer shoes, and the latest fashion in attempts to be the "it" girl. The last scenario that can contribute to the "charge it" phase is student loans. Most people don't have the money just stashed away to pay thousands of dollars per semester, so they take out student loans. The trick here is that some lenders send more than enough and the loan recipient should return the extra money so that they aren't adding to the principle they have to pay back. Sadly, an extra one to two thousands dollars looks too good to a struggling college student so they keep it. After 4 years of doing this at a minimum, you already have $8000 more to pay back that you didn't really need. With every semester's debt shrugged off, one can live right? Sure, until you're ready to get married and have to explain to your partner the $50,000 debt they will inherit.
The "charge it" phase comes back to haunt its victim's around their late twenties and early thirties in the form of financial incompatibility. Everything about you is marriage material except your credit score and debt to income ratio. Bummer, right? For some, it's not even because you were super irresponsible, you just wanted to get a sound education, but the cost happens to be more than your current career can afford to knock out quickly. I'm right there with you.
Financially sound individuals always think twice about marrying debt, and who can blame them? If you want to make yourself the best candidate, you must work to be more financially responsible. You can achieve this by minimizing your debt to income ratio AND improving your credit score (if it's shoddy). Having debt and/or bad credit doesn't make you unworthy of marriage, but ignoring it makes you a financial liability.
I was elated when I saw all the credit repair movements start at the beginning of the year. This one lady in particular (The Budgetnista) is telling people step by step how to raise their credit score and be financially responsible. She actually turned it into a social media challenge and I'm here for it. We all know how popular those challenges are! If you're looking to repair your credit or just be more financially responsible, check her out here. (I'm sharing because I love you guys and want you to financially flourish. I absolutely don't know her. LOL).
With all of that being said, let's get more financially responsible and compatible ladies! Erase your "charge it" phase one charge at a time. You wouldn't want to marry debt or bad credit so let's be what we want to attract. (I talk about that here.) Financial stability is also a form of self-care, loves!
(By the way, I absolutely want to hear progress reports from this!)