Question Should personal finances be discussed before you are married?
Complete Answer Discussing one’s personal finances is difficult, but it’s a discussion that needs to take place. Each person brings to the marriage their individual financial history, current finances, and future financial goals. The discussion should include those things that will, or could in the future, have a financial impact on your marriage. It is absolutely imperative that each person be completely honest about their finances with their future spouse. In a recent survey, 31% of 1,045 respondents would consider it a “deal breaker” if a person in a relationship lied about debt.13 You can imagine how disheartening it would be to find out that after you said, “I do” you find out that the love of your life has $33,000.00 in student loans14 or has a credit card bill that has gone into collections. Of course you may also learn that your future spouse’s rich aunt has set up a college trust fund to pay for any great nieces’ or nephews’ future education.
A good place to begin the discussion about finances is to share your credit score and credit report with your future spouse. Be mindful that a credit score is a number derived from a credit report. A credit report is a detailed credit history. You can get a free credit report once a year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Log on to www.annualcreditreport.com to request your credit report. You may have to pay for your numerical credit score. Your credit score will impact your ability to secure a home mortgage and the interest rate you will pay. It will also determine the interest rate for auto loans and credit cards. Auto insurance rates as well may be affected by a credit score. Some employers use your credit score as a factor to consider when you apply for a job. Because a credit report contains a wealth of information, it will provide many topics for discussion. Which in turn increases communications.
Pleas Note: Two of the most common reasons given for divorce are “money problems” and “lack of communications”.15
Financial Literacy Knowledge/Skill
Discuss personal finances before you are married.
Comments or Questions
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Next week’s topic: Do personal finances change after you are married?