When two people wed, it’s almost always out of love, but does that mean finances shouldn’t enter into it at all? While marrying for money may be distasteful, you should take an interest in your future spouse’s finances. You may not want to call off the wedding over bad credit, but you should try to understand how it will impact you.
You’re Not Adopting Pre-existing Debt
There’s a myth that says you adopt your spouse’s pre-existing credit card debt once you’re married. This is not true, but it does indicate that your partner is trying to live above her means. Unless you address this issue and come to some understanding about how credit will be used, the situation could affect your relationship.
Be Wary of Helping a Partner Pay Off Debt
Imagine you’re engaged and your partner suggests you help her pay off her debt, so you can start your life together with a clean slate. You can certainly do that, but, again, be aware that there’s no scenario in which you take on that debt from a legal standpoint. If you pay off that debt and she takes off with someone else, you have no legal recourse for getting that money back. Instead, convince your partner to show her commitment by paying off the debt before the wedding day.
There is a Risk to Your Credit Score
While pre-existing debt remains the sole responsibility of each partner, what happens after your married may affect you. This is especially true if you follow tradition and sign up for joint accounts. When you share accounts, there’s no way to tell which one of you is practicing unwise spending habits. An overspent account or delinquent payments on the account will hit both of your credit scores. Of course, the opposite is true as well. If you work with your spouse to maintain the account, it will help boost her credit score.
Similar Last Names Mean Nothing
Some people believe taking a partner’s last name automatically binds their two credit scores. This is another myth. Credit profiles are based on social security numbers, not names. Simply taking a spouse’s name will have no bearing on your financial status. However, using your name to cosign on bad credit loans Tampa for your partner will tie you to those loans. If she defaults on them, your credit will suffer as well.
You Don’t Have to Create Joint Accounts
If you so choose, you can keep everything separate. There’s no law that says you can’t open your own checking and savings accounts. You can apply for loans, credit cards, and investment accounts without your spouse. Alternatively, she has that same right. Couples often use this to their advantage. The partner with the better credit score can get a lower interest rate on home or auto loans. This helps the couple use their situation to get the things they really do need.
Is Bad Credit Really a Deal Breaker?
In the end, this is a matter of opinion and each situation is different. What it really comes down to is how the partner got into debt and if she has learned anything from experience. If you get the sense that your partner’s spending habits aren’t going to change, you either walk away or accept that finances are going to be a big issue in your relationship. As long as you go into marriage with your eyes open, you may still find a reason to hope for change. Conversely, walking away from the relationship sooner may make better financial sense. You may be happier in the long run by finding someone who shares your same financial mindset.