STDs: Sexually Transmitted Debts

This is an extract from my book, The Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom: A Realistic, 10-Step Manual to Building Liberating Wealth on a Low to Medium Income.

Avoid STDs – Sexually Transmitted Debts

Did you know you can catch a debt from another person?  Usually it is from someone very close: your girlfriend or wife.  In general, debts owed by your spouse or common-law partner are effectively also owed by you.  STDs are most commonly transmitted by a partner being seduced or tricked into taking on responsibility for debts.  About half the time, this is credit card debt.[i]  According to one survey, about 16% of Americans have a sexually transmitted debt.[ii]  The survey suggests that women are slightly more likely to contract an STD than men, but men get lumped with about twice the total amount.

Here are some tips to avoid catching an STD:

  1. Be wary of getting into a serious relationship with someone who is in a lot of debt. Credit card debt, auto loans and student debts are the biggest red flags to watch out for.
  2. Also be wary of being with a partner who is less wise with money than you will be by the time you’ve finished this book. It’s no good turning yourself into a financial guru only to have a partner who throws cash around like confetti.
  3. Further, avoid partners who might be prone to drug or gambling addictions. These are common causes of STDs.
  4. Further still, avoid partners who have other behaviors that might rack up an unpayable bill: a penchant for insanely risky investments, financially dishonest behavior, or being slack in filing tax.
  5. Sometimes people need a guarantor for a loan. This is a person who promises to pay the debt if the other can’t.  Be extremely careful about signing up as a guarantor because if things turn sour you will be on the hook.  Sometimes people are tricked by being told they are just signing as a witness.  Carefully read everything before signing, and if your loved one is becoming testy about your apparent mistrust, slow down and read even more carefully.

  1. If you share a credit card, you are liable for the other person’s bills if they can’t pay them. Sharing a card is a huge step that you should be cautious about.
  2. Buying a house together is also a massive step. If the other person can’t or won’t pay their share of the mortgage, it’s all on you.  Your partner might also take out additional loans using the property as collateral, and if they lose the house, you lose it, too.
  3. Be cautious about opening joint bank accounts, signing up to common phone plans, or even moving into a rental property together. All these steps have financial implications.
  4. Talk openly with your girl about financial matters long before you consider any of the above.
  5. Even if you are happily married, always keep a bit of money in your own account.
  6. If your girl is not honest about any such financial matters, then you’re taking a huge risk. If she has ever fibbed to you about the size of her credit card debt, imagine what else she might be hiding.  Trust is essential.
  7. Once things are getting serious, openly ask her to sit down together to organize finances. If she’s not ready to show you all her accounts, debts, and other financial affairs, you are not ready to get serious.
  8. Even once you are all settled and comfortable, keep any car registered in the name of the person who is financially responsible for the vehicle or the loan.
  9. An ailment related to an STD is loaning your partner money, and then she disappears. Watch out for that one.
  10. Seek professional advice about these matters before proceeding. Step 9 will show you how to find a good advisor.

Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people in this world, and some of them are disarmingly attractive.  For such people, the easiest solution to an unpayable debt is to marry someone who is better with money, like you.  Be aware that cohabitating can put you in the same legal territory as marriage.  A little more about this later.

There are two final points you need to understand.  First, you aren’t on the hook for half of a joint debt – you are on the hook for all of it.  Second, even if you break up or divorce, those debts will still be yours.

None of this is to discourage you from ever having joint accounts, properties and so on.  This is perfectly normal for families, and it would be weird not to.  Rather, this box warns you to be very careful about who you get attached to, because you’ll also be attached to her debts.



End of sample.


To learn more about reaching financial freedom, buy my book:

The Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom: A Realistic, 10-Step Manual to Building Liberating Wealth on a Low to Medium Income

Also available on many other platforms.


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