Having the Conversation About Money Should Happen Early in a Relationship

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When is it fair to ask about a loved one’s credit score, student loans, and salary?

The answer: Not before the couple moved in together, according to respondents to a recent CreditCards.com survey on financial infidelity. More than others, young adults and Millennials tend to view these topics as off-limits until the relationship becomes more serious, the survey notes.

It’s far too late, said Ted Rossman, principal analyst at CreditCards.com.

“You don’t have to reveal all of your financial details on the first date,” Rossman told me in an email. “But relatively early in a relationship, I think it’s important to discuss at least some of the basics.”

Getting married is a major commitment both emotionally and financially. But for some reason, many couples would rather discuss their weight, health, political views, and religion than discuss their credit card balance, how many payments are left on the car loan, and how much they owe. student loan debt. on the hook for.

Parents can provide a firm hand on these heart-to-heart conversations.

I’m not suggesting Mom and Dad to helicopter in on this problem. But if a relationship gets serious, parents can encourage their son or daughter to ask important questions about their partner’s spending habits, debts and financial goals, and to share their own values ​​when it comes to money.

It doesn’t have to be an interrogation – maybe a conversation after shopping or planning a date on the weekend. I’ve been through this three times with my kids and boyfriend and girlfriend talks about money should be a team effort.

“Knowing where you and your partner have been with money and where you want to go is really important,” Rossman said. “If you’re waiting to move in together and one person has bad credit or too much debt, you could be denied that mortgage or apartment lease.”

Rossman said couples should discuss how much debt they have, especially student loans, and how they can work together to pay down debt, improve credit, and set financial goals for long-term goals, such as than buying a house or starting a family.

Start by requesting each of your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus. Due to the financial turmoil caused by the pandemic, you can view your credit reports weekly and free until April 20 from Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. After that, you can do it for free every 12 months. (Go to www.annualcreditreport.com.)

There are many misconceptions about how marriage affects a couple’s credit situation. Married couples still have their own credit report and credit score, Rossman said. While you can apply for a mortgage or credit card together, Rossman said it’s important for each partner to have their own established credit.

Credit cards are usually held in one person’s name, so if one spouse dies or the relationship breaks down, the other partner will lose access to that card.

Even if one partner decides to keep a separate bank account or credit card, don’t keep it secret. However, the CreditCards.com survey found that a third of respondents who are in serious relationships admitted to spending more than their partners would be comfortable with, holding a secret debt, or keeping a credit card or account. secret stream.

The biggest cheaters were young adults and millennials.

Contact Steve Rosen: [email protected]

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