Marriage means 6 FICO Credit Scores. Your credit isn’t merged, but it is interdependent and you should get joint cards and individual credit cards. You don’t want to be credit score dependent, but I don’t think you should be credit separate either. Too many spouses with no individual credit cards find themselves in trouble if the marriage ends in divorce because they have no credit cards to fall back on. Why? Because in many situations, all the credit cards have to be closed down because of trust issues.
While I believe in joint and separate cards, I believe in full disclosure of credit card statements. This will help protect your credit scores. If this means you have to divulge gift prices as a trade-off for better communication, then so be it. Too many couples engage in “financial infidelity” where they hide purchases and I believe this can be at best, petty, at worst destructive.
One of my favorite stories of “financial infidelity” happened a couple of years ago. A women got an elevator who a shoe box and I asked her “new shoes” and she replied “no they are my friends, she doesn’t want her husband to know she purchased them”.
I wonder what his credit score looks like. Perhaps, he’s over on Lesson 6 – Getting a Higher Credit Score getting educated.
Getting engaged doesn’t impact credit scores directly, but once two people start building a life together their credit starts to get intertwined. Although, credit scores don’t merge — you keep your 3 FICO scores and he/she keeps his/hers — your credit scores start to feel the other person’s credit behavior. By sharing credit scores and personal finance goals, you can really create a path together. Being engaged is a time to really open up about credit and personal finance and set goals for your credit score. Now, is the time for full disclosure of all your financial information. One of the big problems is what’s called “financial infidelity”. Many couples don’t share all their finances. They hide purchases from each other or worse hide accounts or credit card statements. This is no way to start a marriage.
While your engagement might seem hectic with the wedding planning, this is a good time to do some financial discussion around what goals you want to achieve together. You can learn more about credit scores behave in marriage in the next episode.