Tips for Managing Your Credit In a Marriage

by Jason Butler on December 9, 2016 · 3 comments

Good morning Dinks.  I know that many of you are married and value your credit. Before you were married, you only had to worry about yourself when it came to finances. Now you have to worry about yourself and your spouse. Getting married has profound implications on your credit. Below are a few tips to help you go from solo credit thinking to joint credit thinking.

Make one thing clear

When you get married, your credit reports are not joined together. Each spouse will still have an individual credit score. If one spouse has a bad credit rating, it won’t bring that other ones score down. Both of you will still have an individual credit rating. The next thing is important. Once you’re married anything new that has both of your names on it will affect both of you. Credit cards, the mortgage, and even car loan will affect both of you. Those things will be reported on both of your credit histories.

Discuss money early

The net tip is to discuss money early. Sometimes people are afraid to have the uncomfortable conversations. The topic of money is uncomfortable for a lot of individuals. Once you get serious with your significant other, you should discuss money. Take the time to understand what each of you believes when it comes to saving money, investing money and spending. Work out your difference before you join your finances. You might be shocked or pleasantly surprised at what you find out when you have those money talks. You guys may agree on some stuff or disagree totally. If that’s the case, you should try to work together and come to a common ground. If you can’t compromise then, he or she probably isn’t the one. That may be a tough pill to swallow, but it’s better to find that out before you’re in too deep.

Discuss your financial goals

Something else that you will want to talk about early on is your financial goals. Are you trying to be debt free? Do you want to invest? Do you want to create a college fund for children if you decide to have them later? Do you want to leave something for your family when that time comes? Those are just a few financial goals that you should discuss. Different lifestyles and different goals require very different financial planning.

Check your credit together annually

The final tip is to make it a habit to check your credit report every year. Before getting married, make sure that you take a look at each other’s credit. There should be no secrets, so it’s time to share your scores with each other. Every year after you get married, check your credit together. Doing this will allow you to spot any blemishes on your credit as early as possible. Since most of your big purchases from now on will probably be joint, it makes sense to pay close attention to each other’s credit. Managing your credit in a marriage involves shifting your thinking from me to us. That may take a little while to do, but as Dinks, it must be done. You are not just managing your credit; you are also managing your money and goals for the two of you as a unit.


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Emily @ JohnJaneDoe December 10, 2016 at 10:48 am

Even if you both have good credit, it can be good to discuss stuff. I pulled mine few years ago and got worried because there was a card on it that I didn’t recognize. I talked to my hubby only to realize he’d put me on his card. Yes, I was only listed as an authorized user and not the principal, but it still gave me a fright.

2 Mel @ brokeGIRLrich December 11, 2016 at 12:03 am

I remember dating a guy back in college for several years and agreeing that we would probably get married after we finished school. We talked about everything – the kind of home we wanted, kids, etc., but when money came up for the first time, it was the most awkward conversation I’d ever had in my life. I was so puzzled about how we’d managed to discuss everything else we imagined would relate to married life but how quickly he clammed up over that subject – after knowing each other for 5 years! Money makes some people so crazy.

3 Michele Cooper December 14, 2016 at 5:41 am

I do agree with sharing credit scores with your better half. There should not be any secrets regarding each other savings, salaries and investments.

Also the thing to consider is both couples will be responsible for all debt incurred in any joint credit accounts. A missed payment on a joint account will negatively affect both of your records. Keeping an individual account can also be a good thing in the event of divorce or to re-establish an individual credit history.

Women who take their husband’s surname after getting married need to notify the Social Security Administration and their current creditors of this change.

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