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Money News: Influencer pays off her new boyfriend’s $38K debt

Money news: Influencer pays off her new boyfriend’s $38K debt, with Money Bites
I love you doesn’t have to mean paying off their debt.

Bite-Size Read:

  • Many of us are struggling with debt right now.
  • The question of whether you should ever pay off a partner’s debt is an interesting one.
  • We look at the news report of an influencer paying off her new boyfriend’s debt to discuss what you need to consider before you pay off your partner’s debt.


Should you ever pay off your partner’s debt?

Debt is something many of us will struggle with as Australians have the world’s second-largest household debts. We’re also aware of debt struggles in our community, with 90% describing our household debt as a problem.

That debt represents car repayments, credit card debt and loans many of us hold. And in that same survey, a third of people were struggling to pay their debts.


The story on an influencer paying off her boyfriend’s debt:

Lottie Tomlinson is an influencer as well as being the sister of One Direction star, Louis Tomlinson. So, when she gets a new boyfriend, the media takes notice. This was covered in an article on the Mail Online website on 16 September 2020.

So what happened?

This article reported that Louis Tomlinson is said to be concerned about his sister’s new romance after finding out Lottie allegedly gave her new boyfriend £22,000 or the equivalent of $38,726 to pay off his debts. The report states that the sum was paid a month after they confirmed their relationship, which allegedly raised concerns for her family.

Lottie is an influencer and many young people are likely to look up to her. We have no interest in criticising Lottie or her choices. We do however want to ask whether you should ever pay off your partner’s debt given this topic was raised in the article.


Should you ever pay off your partner’s debt?


You may wish to consider paying off a partner’s debt if:

  • It’s a joint debt that both of you accrued and are both liable for.
  • You make it a formalised loan that they have a legal obligation to pay back.
  • It won’t affect your credit rating and you don’t need the money.


We also need to consider the cons of paying off someone’s debt for them.


You may not want to pay off your partner’s debt because:

  • Relationships end and you may not stay together for life, with 39% of married couples divorcing if you even make it that far.
  • If they don’t confront their financial behaviours because you’ve bailed them out of trouble, they might end up in debt again.
  • Putting cash towards their debt is cash you could be spending elsewhere including saving more to retire early.
  • Taking on responsibility for their bad debt may affect your credit score.


You may wish to also consider supporting your partner to pay off their own debt, without you doing it for them.


Here’s how you can support a partner to pay off their debt:


1. Talk about money

We’re not consistently taught about money or how to have these conversations. Practise how to talk to your partner about money so that it becomes easier to talk about.


2. Discuss methods for paying off debt

This includes articulating the difference between good and bad debt. You can then look at how best to pay off your debts, including the debt snowball method.


3. Look at free debt counselling services

A number of countries offer free financial counselling services to help you pay off debt. We’ve started compiling these organisations in our Financial Literacy Hub to raise awareness of these free services that can help you pay off debt.


4. Avoid a financial STD

If you want to start combining your money in a relationship but your partner has debt, tread carefully. Put measures in place so that you know the states of their finances and protect yourself from financial STDs (sexually transmitted debt).


The decision of whether to pay off your partner’s debt is ultimately yours.

You can support them but that doesn’t mean you’re responsible for bailing your partner out of debt. While influencers may choose to pay off their boyfriend’s debt, this may not be the right choice for you and your relationship.  

Written by Kate Crowhurst

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