Planning for a Wedding and a Happily Ever After
With wedding season around the corner, many couples will soon take a financial “plunge” together. But before signing a lease, mortgage or marriage license, stop to think about how well you know your significant other, financially. For example, is he/she in debt? How about long-term financial goals?
FICO, the leading credit score provider, shares these tips to help couples get ready for the big day:
1) Be honest, discuss finances with your partner – People tend to steer clear from discussing finances – but your partner’s financial burdens will affect your credit if you help out with their debts and obligations. After you marry, you may keep some assets to yourself; however, everything you acquire together will be merged.
2) Good debt vs. Bad debt – For certain things, going into debt is worth it. Discuss what you’re willing to sacrifice with your partner early and set financial goals to fund each of these decisions. For example: Are you willing to put your kids through private school, even if you have to take out a loan to do it? How important is getting a new car, when finances are tight? Set a budget and identify common goals that work for you both before you accrue any debt.
3) Bills, bills, bills – Before the wedding, map out a plan and decide who will pay for what or if you plan to share these responsibilities. People with a long history of paying their bills on time are expected by lenders to continue their good payment pattern, and will be more willing to obtain credit in the future. Late payments are one of the most common ways in which your score will be affected negatively.
4) Don’t run up debt when planning the big day – Buying lavish seat covers and trucks full of flowers is easy, but paying them off years later is no honeymoon. Spend within your means; if you have a lot of debt, adding more debt or maxing out your credit cards will hurt your FICO score, making it harder to get a loan on big ticket items later (a home or a car, for example).
5) Apartment, condo or house? Discuss home buying before marriage; timeline, size, price point, and financing should be agreed upon BEFORE visiting any open house. This talk may also spark conversation of each of your financial standings and credit scores.