It may not sound romantic, but couples planning a life together should develop an ongoing dialogue about money. However, not every couple takes this step before taking their relationship to the next level.
Indeed, only about half of Americans feel it’s important to know their significant other’s credit score before commingling finances, according to a 2015 Wells Fargo study. Yet, financial experts say that discussing how to handle joint finances is one of the best ways lovebirds can set themselves up for happily ever after.
The experts at Wells Fargo offer these five important tips to keep in mind when thinking about money and your relationship:
- Combining Accounts?
A simple question requiring a joint decision based on your financial needs. Separate accounts let individuals maintain independence. Joint accounts can help unite goals.
In either case, ensure your accounts combine to create an effective investment plan.
- Realistic Budgeting
Some say the key to financial success is spending what you have after saving, rather than saving what’s left after spending. Many couples find themselves in the latter position because they lack a budget to control expenses. Couples should sit down and list combined monthly income and expenses; short and long-term goals, and strategies for sticking with the program.
- Joint Credit
A common misconception about credit is that when you get married, your partner’s credit score may lower yours.
While this is not true, it can affect your ability to access credit if you are seeking it jointly.
Additionally, good credit is the foundation for a couple’s sound financial future, and can help when you’re applying for a mortgage or car loan, and, in some cases, a job.
Maintain an open, ongoing dialogue: your credit score can change rapidly, and even missing a single payment can have an impact.
- Making Purchases
You may always apply for loan as an individual, but couples looking to do so together will find that most lenders look at the credit history of both applicants and consider the average of both credit scores when approving a loan and setting an interest rate.
- Ground Rules
By sharing your individual financial goals with each other, you can get motivated to create a financial plan together, as well as ground rules to help you save and plan for emergencies.
More financial tips and resources can be found at www.WellsFargo.com.
Love and credit may not sound like a match made in heaven. In fact, talking about money can feel awkward. But when planning for a future together, these conversations lay the groundwork for happily reaching financial goals.