3 Reasons Bad Credit Can Bungle Even the Best Relationships Don’t let bad credit affect your marriage. Use these tips to find the root of your credit problems. BY ODYSSEAS PAPADIMITRIOU
You can eliminate a lot of stress from your marriage by boosting your credit score.
“ In fact, the difference between good and bad credit amounts to roughly $7,000 per year, just in terms of those particular financial obligations.”
Credit scores are so… grown-up; but so too are true love and marriage. Sure, money in the bank plays a role for many people, but motivations aren’t nearly as clear when it comes to the intangibility of credit standing. Credit opens doors and opportunities (or prevents them), which can begin to strain even the best marriages.
With that in mind, it's important to understand the what's at stake with a good or bad credit score. Understanding these pitfalls will help you and your spouse move forward.
1. Credit Scores Drive Costs: Your credit standing has a direct influence on the cost your credit card, auto loan, mortgage, car insurance and more. In fact, the difference between good and bad credit amounts to roughly $7,000 per year, just in terms of those particular financial obligations.
You don’t want to begin your financial life together playing from behind. Yes, if you have good or excellent credit, you could get around your partner’s poor standing by simply applying for credit in your name; but you can’t blame someone for not being keen on doing all the heavy lifting.
2. Poor Credit Limits Opportunities: Not only does bad credit cost you money, but it also has the potential to close a number of important doors entirely. For example, it’s often impossible to get a mortgage or an auto loan if you have bad credit. It can even make it difficult to rent an apartment or land certain jobs. That’s a whole bunch of obstacles your relationship could benefit from avoiding.
3. Credit Problems Can Reveal Fundamental Flaws: Lenders use credit scores for a reason: They serve as shorthand for an individual’s financial responsibility. But they can reveal much more, too. Bad credit, for example, is indicative of poor planning and organization, as well as a lack of discipline. Such flaws run deeper than personal finance, threatening to cause problems professionally as well as in important relationships.
If you understand the ways poor credit can cost you, it’s only natural that you might begin to resent a spouse who could potentially prevent you from realizing certain life goals—and we want to help you avoid that. Alternatively, if you’re the one with bad credit, you may not enjoy always being blamed for bad credit, which could very well be the result of one of two mistakes made long before you even met your partner. The dynamics are different in every case.
At the end of the day, you have to realize that no problem is insurmountable if you’re truly in love—particularly bad credit. There is a well-defined blueprint for rebuilding credit, and it can even be a bonding experience. By making your spouse with bad credit an authorized user on your credit card account, the negative information causing his or her poor score gradually will be devalued by monthly updates that reflect on-time payments and a significant amount of untapped available credit—both of which might be nearly impossible for your spouse to obtain otherwise.
Odysseas Papadimitriou is CEO of the personal finance website WalletHub, which offers free credit scores, full credit reports and customized advice.