Although most people don’t really think much about a potential partner’s credit score when they’ve just met someone, once the relationship begins to develop into something more long term, having credit scores that are polar opposites can cause problems when finances and households are combined.
In fact, about 40% of the population indicate they might just cool things off in a hurry if a partner has a bad credit score… sadly, unless you’ve had a serious financial setback such as losing your job, getting a divorce, or having a catastrophic illness, having a poor credit history is often viewed as an indicator of your overall level of financial maturity. Not paying your bills on time (or at all), running up the balances on credit cards, and even letting Mom & Dad pay for your car insurance or your cellphone are all indicators of irresponsible use of your money, and sadly, may appear to be a sign of how you’ll handle combined assets in a long term relationship. (Likewise, if you’re the one with good credit, and the person that you’re seriously involved with has a poor credit score, wouldn’t you be concerned if finances were to be combined in the future?)
So, what do you do? Even though you don’t want to know (or share) your financial details on the first date, it is a good idea to talk about your finances early on, before you start planning the wedding! And if your credit is bad (or your partner’s credit is bad)? The first thing that you need to do is to sit down and talk about it, openly and honestly. Then, make a plan together to improve your (or his/her) credit score – and stick to it.
Study your credit reports, fix any errors, and start working on those areas where you’ll see the most improvement: Payment History and Available Credit!
Not only can a poor credit score affect your relationship, but a poor credit score can also lower your partner’s/spouse’s credit score, and make it more difficult to buy a home or car, and seriously limit your job prospects.