Millionaires, who place a high premium on financial literacy, advise checking your intended’s credit and before getting hitched.
Millionaires, who understand that a happy marriage is based on a solid financial foundation, advise checking a future spouse’s credit before tying the knot, according to a Millionaire Corner survey conducted in May.
More than 35 percent of Millionaires say checking credit is an important step in promoting a financially healthy marriage. Millionaires also advise premarital counseling (38 percent), outlining financial goals and expectations prior to marriage (77 percent), delaying children until a couple is financially secure (44 percent) and purchasing a home as soon as financially viable (48 percent).
Why does credit matter? Credit is your “financial trustworthiness,” explains the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in its Facts for Consumers. “Good credit means that your history of payments, employment and salary make you a good candidate for a loan, and creditors – those who lend money or services – will be more willing to work with you. Bad credit, however, can be a big problem.”
Good credit can mean lower payments and easier access to loans, while bad credit – usually the result of making late payments or borrowing too much money – can make it difficult to get a car loan, credit card, lease, mortgage or even a job, according to the FTC. (Sixty percent of young Americans are worried about their debt levels, according to our research.)
A credit check will also speak volumes about a partner’s financial habits, according to 360degees of Financial Literacy, a website provided by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
“Attitudes toward spending money, along with credit and debt problems, often lead to arguments that can strain a marriage,” says the institute. The most commonly used credit rating is a FICO score, which is a calculation of a borrower’s ability to repay a loan. (To learn more about the components of a FICO score, click here.)
While one spouse is not responsible for the other’s bad credit or debt, problems with credit can prevent a couple from getting loans applied for jointly, says the institute. Couples can choose not to combine credit after they are married. That way, a spouse with good credit will remain unaffected by a spouse with bad credit.
The FTC recommends creating and adhering to a budget to avoid damaging credit, or to repair bad credit. “A lot of people spend more than they can afford and pay less toward their debts than they should,” says the FTC. “A budget is a plan for how much money you have and how much money you spend. Sticking to a realistic budget allows you to pay off your debts and save for the proverbial rainy day.”
You have to give the FTC credit, that’s good advice.