Hi everyone! I posted here a few times when The Billfold folded, and then stopped, but have still been lurking occasionally. And now I am overwhelmed by money things and it just occurred to me that I could post here.
So I got married last week. Exciting! We went to New Orleans and eloped and didn’t tell anyone. Did we do any research about how that would affect our finances? Nope!
We have lived together for a while with our finances 100% separate, and we planned on continuing that, as it has worked for us. We have pretty different attitudes about money, and we don’t really have any shared financial goals. (Not planning on having kids, I think it’s unlikely that we would buy a house anytime soon or possibly ever.)
Sooooo, uh, apparently it turns out that if we file jointly her IBR student loan payments could go up significantly, which she is definitely not ok with. For context, she makes around $43k a year and I make $63k a year. And if we file separately I won’t qualify for the lifetime learning tax credit, and I’m currently in grad school so that’s a big deal to me. I paid off all my undergrad loans a few years ago, but have federal loans for my master’s program that are obviously not in repayment yet (I graduate in June). So I don’t know if those loans will be taken into account for her IBR payments if we file jointly?
She has no desire to ever pay more than the minimum required for her loans, which I accept (this is one of the reasons keeping our money separate works for us, I was pretty aggressive about paying mine off).
I realize we probably just need to calculate it both ways, but I am kind of overwhelmed by what we do if we decide to file jointly–I pay for her increased student loan payment with my tax credit? Will it be easy to divide the return by what each of us would have gotten if we had done it separately? Is there someone we can hire to not only do our taxes but to advise us on exactly how each way would affect student loan payments? (I did ask a random CPA in a Facebook group I’m in and she said that’s not something she generally does?)
Apparently we really should have just waited to do it until 2022…