What To Do When Your Fiancée Has Bad Credit

Written by , October 10, 2012

What To Do When Your Fiancée Has Bad CreditWhen two people get married they each bring different things into the new relationship. Usually there’s a mix of good things and bad things that each person carries with them, and sometimes these things can be of a financial nature.

But despite the commitment and the romance, your impending marriage doesn’t happen in a financial vacuum. Your future spouse’s financial status, including their credit rating, can significantly impact your joint finances going forward. Provided that you have an understanding of what some of the consequences can be, and plan accordingly, your hard-earned financial health won’t unduly suffer.

Here is some credit card advice to consider when your fiancée has bad credit.

  • Don’t Panic. The first step is simply to take a step back and not panic. While personal finances and credit ratings are certainly important in today’s world, a marriage is based on more than just money. Provided that you trust your fiancée and their character, you shouldn’t stress yourself out over their bad credit score. If you’re still concerned, talk to them and try to understand what exactly it was that led to that bad score.
  • Understand the Individual Nature of a Credit Score. One common misunderstanding is that if you marry someone who has a significantly lower credit score than you, then your own credit score will be negatively impacted. This is simply not the case. A credit score is by its nature an evaluation of your own individual activities. Your and your spouse’s credit scores do not get “merged” into a single joint score – joint credit scores don’t exist. That said, any joint financial activity that you and your spouse undertake together will have an impact on each of your individual credit scores.
  • Don’t Open Any Joint Accounts Yet. While it might seem a bit at odds with the concept of marriage, when one spouse has a bad score it’s important not to open any joint credit accounts or seek to borrow any money where both of you are listed on the loan application. This advice applies to buying a new home. Depending on your respective incomes, you may be able to get a significantly lower interest rate if you apply for the mortgage individually, rather than filling out a joint application. In fact, having your spouse on the mortgage application could even lead to the application being rejected.
  • Keep Your Accounts Separate. Until your future spouse has repaired their credit, you should avoid adding them onto your credit cards or other accounts. Once you are both listed on an account, any future decisions regarding interest rates or increases to your credit limit will take into account both of your individual credit scores.
  • Help Them Repair Their Credit. Because a marriage is a long-term partnership, you should plan on doing whatever you can to help your new spouse repair their credit. This might include opening smaller credit accounts jointly to enable your spouse to build up or improve their credit score.

At the end of the day, as long as both people enter the marriage honestly and with mutual trust, things of a purely financial nature – like bad credit – shouldn’t be a barrier to a lasting and healthy relationship.

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