TransUnion (www.transunion.com) conducted a Google Consumer Survey and found the following:
- A quarter of Americans surveyed (24.8 percent) said they don't discuss personal finances with their significant other because it is none of their business. Another 7.8 percent said they don't think you should discuss personal finances until after you are married.
- Almost half (44.8 percent) of married Americans surveyed said they do not know their spouse/partner's credit score.
- A third of Americans surveyed (33 percent) said bad budgeting skills was their spouse/partner's personal finance habit that bothered them the most. Additional 18.5 percent said not checking his or her credit score, 17.1 percent making late payments or missing payments, 16.3 percent said accumulating too much debt and 15.2 percent said being careless with personal information.
"Discussing finances with your fiancee can be a scary or awkward situation, but is an important one to help avoid unnecessary stress down the road," said Julie Springer, vice president at TransUnion. "Understanding the financial commitments that come with marriage can help to maintain marital bliss long after the ceremony and TransUnion has the resources to help couples say 'I do' to reaching their financial goals."
TransUnion provides the following tips to all couples to help them start their new lives together on the right financial foot.
Talk About It - Openly discussing your finances with your fiancee is the best way to prevent future disagreements. You both should obtain and review a copy of your credit report and discuss the debts you have. Talk about your spending habits, your savings and your financial goals so that you will both be on the same page.
Give Him or Her Some Credit - Understanding your sweetheart's credit history can help you avoid future surprises. Your fiancee's credit could have a dramatic impact on the interest rates you might pay for co-signed loans and joint accounts in the future. If there are past credit problems, work together now to clean things up and reduce debts. Starting your new life together could be a lot smoother with good credit.
Marry Your Accounts - Don't worry, your credit reports won't automatically merge together when you get married. Only when you open a joint account, become an authorized user or co-sign on a loan will a record appear on both your credit reports. Combining your finances this way can be a great way to get the best deal on a major purchase. Be careful though, any negative reporting associated with the joint account could mean potential damage for both spouses' credit.
Build a Love Nest - If you are planning on buying a home together, give yourselves at least six months to save up a down payment and reduce your debt-to-income ratio. A few months of financial improvement can help you potentially save thousands on your mortgage.
Cut Wedding Costs - Planning the wedding of your dreams can sometimes lead to a nightmare of debt. The average wedding now costs more than $25,000, according to theknot.com, a hefty sum that can lead to big credit card bills after the honeymoon ends. Talk with your fiancee about how much you can afford to spend without breaking the bank. Being creative about cutting back your budget, e.g. using potted flowers and making the invitations yourself, can help you shrink your costs without reducing your style.