Considering tying the knot? Congratulations! But, as any wedding couple knows, with wedding planning comes financial planning. The rings, the venue, the Pinterest-chic individualized party favors with gold flakes on them—with each addition to your perfect day comes a subtraction from your bank account.
All this spending most likely has you thinking about your financial future with your new spouse. I know how busy you are, so I’ve taken it upon myself to address the three most common questions couples ask me:
1. I don’t love my spouse’s spending habits. Should I try to teach my spouse new habits or just manage the finances myself?
One of the most important facts of life to know before you get married is that you can’t expect your spouse to change—he/she might, but don’t rely on it. If you’re entering into a union with someone who doesn’t have the best financial health, have an honest conversation about it, and see if you can come to an agreement that makes you both happy. If your spouse’s credit score is very low, consider keeping your bank accounts separate, while having a joint account for things like rent and utilities.
If your spouse-to-be isn’t a big spender, but often forgets to pay bills or attend to financial responsibilities, it may be tempting to manage finances by yourself. This is an acceptable solution, but make sure to keep your spouse updated on your financial situation by discussing it at least once a month.
2. Is my credit score affected by getting married?
The short answer is: nope! Your score is tied to your Social Security number, which stays the same even if your name changes. One study showed that about 40% of Americans believe that their credit score is affected by a change in marital status, and that simply isn’t true. And no, it won’t affect your husband’s score either. For better or for worse.
3. We’re married and enjoying domestic bliss…should we rearrange our accounts at all?
This decision is entirely up to you and your own unique couple dynamic. Many couples choose to combine their accounts into one joint, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with keeping your accounts separate.
Keep in mind that whenever you make a joint purchase—especially one that requires a line of credit, such as purchasing a home—the activities of that transaction will show up on both of your credit reports. It’s important to make sure to check both of your credit reports and FICO® Scores a few months before a new loan, so that there are no surprises when you go to apply. Make sure to obtain your credit reports and FICO Scores from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, and make a day of checking them over.
While worrying about credit isn’t something that immediately comes to mind when someone mentions weddings, it’s definitely a factor in starting off your new life together. As you plan your big day (or recover from it), keep these tips in mind to avoid any surprises or disagreements.
Learn more about marriage and credit here.
Do you have experience handling finances and credit with your spouse? Share your experiences or tell us your tips!
Jeanne Kelly is an author, a speaker, and a widely sought-after credit coach. Learn more about her services at JeanneKelly.net.