When you vow to take your spouse in sickness and in health, are you saying “I Do” to their bad credit, too?
Couples don’t typically discuss credit health before walking down the aisle, but they should. Knowing the truth can prevent credit damage and (ultimately) help you save thousands on loans.
Here are the facts behind three common myths:
Myth 1: When we marry, our credit histories merge.
There is no joint credit report or credit score. Your credit reports and scores remain separate, even after you change your last name.
Myth 2: I’ll be affected by his bad credit, or vice versa.
Marriage, in itself, can’t impact your credit. But, if you co-sign for your spouse, or if you open a joint account like a mortgage, credit card, or loan, it shows up on both your credit reports. His bad credit may impact your chance for approval and lower interest rates (and vice versa). More important, bad credit could signal harmful habits. Also, if your mate maxes out or defaults on a joint account, it can damage both of your credit scores and you’d both held responsible for any debts incurred.
Myth 3: When we marry, we’ll share all accounts.
Getting married doesn’t automatically merge any of your financial accounts; that decision is up to you and your spouse. But be smart and discuss each other’s credit history and financial position before tying the knot. Knowing the truth helps prepare you both to tackle any future financial strain.
Justine Rivero is the Credit Advisor and resident Credit Rockstar at Credit Karma, the pro-consumer credit advocate.
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