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Credit Scores and Relationships: Why Disclosing It All Only Helps

If you’re taking your relationship to the next step, it’s important to talk to each other about credit scores. It may not be a fun subject if your score is a little blemished, but knowing your credit scores can actually be beneficial in the long run. There are many ways you can collaborate together to pay down debt or devise a plan to improve your score.

Having Less than Perfect Credit Isn’t the End of the World

If you’ve made some mistakes in the past, don’t sweat it. There’s really nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes there are forces that are outside of our control. Whether you’ve defaulted in the past or accumulated too much debt, the important thing is to make sure you have a plan to either rebuild your credit or pay down the debt. Sometimes our credit score doesn’t really paint a complete picture of our creditworthiness, so having a bad credit score doesn’t necessarily mean you’re financially irresponsible.

Better Money Management

If someone is carrying a lot of debt, creating a plan to pay it off together will stop careless money management. Whether it’s a one- or two- or even five-year plan, just create one and stick with it! The last thing you want to do is overspend by taking expensive vacations or eating out at fine restaurants too frequently. Although you’ll have to cut back on a lot of your entertainment costs, worrying too much about how you’re going to pay down your debt might cause too much stress in the relationship. The Federal Reserve conducted a study on credit scores and relationships and found that financial distress often foreshadows troubled relationships.

Creating a plan to pay off debt will open up a lot of doors and lead to a healthier relationship. Together as a couple, you might find that cooking at home is actually more enjoyable than dining out. Whatever the case, having a plan will cause less stress in the relationship and pave the way toward an honest and open relationship.

Instilling Credit Education

Not everyone understands credit, and that’s okay. Your partner might not understand how credit scores work, but you might be an expert. They may insist on closing multiple accounts but you might think it’s best to keep them open. Taking a look at your partner’s credit report may provide opportunities to educate them on how credit works. You might find that there are inaccuracies on their credit report or maybe they just have a thin file. Learning about each other’s credit score may actually help your relationship. Aside from the fact that it builds trustworthiness and transparency, the Federal Reserve also noted the following facts:

  • People with higher credit scores are more likely to form committed relationships
  • The strength of the credit score match is predictive of whether or not a couple is more likely to break up for reasons that appear to relate to finance and household spending 
  • Credit scores are indicative of trustworthiness in general

Applying for Financing in the Future

There will come a point where you will have to obtain financing for a major purchase as a couple. It can be a new apartment, a car, or even a mortgage. This is why it’s important to work together from the beginning. If your partner’s credit score isn’t in top notch shape, creating this plan can put both of you in a position to obtain the best possible financing.

Here’s an example: If you’re applying for a mortgage together and need both of your incomes to qualify, the lender may take the lower credit score into account for qualifying purposes. This is why it’s important to make sure both of your scores are in excellent shape since it might hinder you from getting a mortgage together in the future.

Eventually there will come a time where both partners should be transparent. It’s an important step to ensure financial responsibility in the future. 

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