August 28th, 2012
How to Talk to Your Partner about Credit
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Shocking news: A new survey by Chase and XO reveals that money is the number one cause of conflict for couples.
Are you surprised? Probably not. If you’ve ever been in a relationship—or if you’re currently in one—you’ve probably had a few heated discussions over money matters. Sooner or later, you have to talk it out. So we’ve come up with a few tips for talking about one very important aspect of your finances: credit. Here are three ways to ensure your credit conversations stay civil.
1. Be honest about your past financial struggles.
So you’ve racked up a lot of credit card debt during your single years. Now you’re getting married and you have a decision to make: either tell your significant other about your debt troubles, or keep it a secret. The latter will result in you carrying two burdens: your debt and your secret.
Revealing your debt woes could mean that your significant other helps you pay down that debt, or it could just mean that he or she is aware that the debt exists. Either way, you’ll be a bit more relaxed in the relationship knowing you’re starting off on an honest foot.
2. Decide how you’ll handle your finances.
Some couples choose to completely combine their finances. Others decide it’s better to keep them separate. And there’s a third option to combine some finances while keeping others separate.
Whatever you decide, make the decision together, particularly when it comes to saving for the future and paying down debt.
This joint decision will help guide future money choices you make together. You’ll have a foundation to start from as you start to think about other life decisions, like kids and retirement, for instance.
3. Check your credit together.
This is especially important for couples who plan on applying for credit jointly. Maybe you want to finance a car together, or even save up for a home. If you plan on applying jointly, it’s important to know that your two credit scores will work together to determine what kind of rates you receive.
Take some time out together to check your full credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com and your credit scores at Credit Karma, both of which are free. You’ll be able to see if there are any areas you both need to focus on credit-wise before applying for an auto or home loan.
Bottom Line: You’re in this together, no matter how you decide to handle your finances. Be honest and open—that’s always a good basis for a successful relationship.
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