Credit and love don’t make the perfect bedfellows. Or so we thought. However, most married couples only find out too late that they should have included conversations about money and their credit before saying their “I do’s.” Far too often, many couples just don’t feel comfortable talking about money matters before they tie the knot when in reality, poor finances and poor financial management is one of the causes why a marriage starts to fall apart in the first place.
Even if this is not a very comfortable subject to talk about and your future spouse shows no signs of ever broaching the topic, you will need to initiate it. You need to sit down together and compare copies of your credit reports, talk about spending habits, discuss your ideas of money management and outline your future financial goals.
Marrying someone with bad credit is a very huge responsibility inasmuch as you are not only marrying the person (or your mother-in-law, in a manner of speaking) you are also legally binding yourself to his or her debts. If you have good credit and your future spouse has a credit score in the 400-level, that is going to affect you negatively as well. It is going to affect your chances of obtaining a mortgage for that dream home you have both planned for, getting a car loan, or applying for a new line of credit.
Thus, you have to be upfront and honest about any present debts you both may have and how much the monthly payments are on these. Ask about each other’s paying habits and if your significant other has a history of paying his or her bills late and you are prompt about such matters, ask that you take care of making the monthly bill payments. Now that you are considering marriage, you should know if your fiancé or fiancée has any splurging or gambling habit. This can range anywhere from buying a designer bag each payday or spending Saturdays betting at the races. You will have to make tough decisions regarding how to curb it if you notice as early as now how such practices are going to make it hard to pay the bills. Besides, when the kids start coming in that is going to mean additional expenses so that will have to be factored into the equation as well.
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In case your future spouse was previously married, you have an even bigger reason to discuss money matters. You will have to ask if there are financial obligations to the former spouse or child support payments involved. Finally, discuss your future financial goals. You will have to talk about budgeting, where to get funds for children’s schooling, and whether you will be having joint or separate accounts.
There is no right or wrong answers to these kinds of discussions. What is important is that you are open to each other about your financial situation before you merge your lives together. In case your future spouse gets angry and refuses to talk about his credit, that should signal that something is wrong and you will have to decide if you want to proceed with the wedding or not. In the event that your loved one does open up about his or her bad credit, you will still have to plan together as to whether you should hold the marriage now or decide to pay off the debt first. You might also want to consider a prenuptial agreement if you feel that this is the best way to protect you and your spouse during and after the marriage.
Remember that marrying someone with bad debt can put an enormous strain on a marriage. Credit and money discussions should be part and parcel of your pre-marriage plans. After all, money matters can make or break vows made at the altar.
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