For years, I can remember my mother warn against marrying a man with bad credit. I always lumped that pearl of wisdom into the eat-your-veggies & wear-clean-undies (in case of accident) pile. I liked my suitors tall, dark, and handsome; credit worthiness rarely – if ever – entered into the equation. After eight years of marriage, I can now say mom was spot on.
Why the random stroll down memory lane? We received a question related to “inheriting” a spouse-to-be’s bad credit after you say “I Do”.
Question? If I marry a man with horrible credit, owes IRS, owes child support, and is paying child support, if any, & what of that do I inherit?
- While you don’t inherit debt or credit scores, any joint financial transactions – rent, mortgages, insurance, etc – will take both credit histories into consideration.
- Child support can be adjusted if his expenses decline as a result of the additional income from a new spouse.
- Poor financial habits that exist before the marriage will likely remain after the celebration is over. Set some pre-marriage financial goals and resist setting a date until those goals are complete.
Rational decision making can take a back seat once emotions take over. So maybe mom was on to something. The divorce rate has come down in recent years. Studies attribute the decline to fewer people tying the knot and the increased age of those taking the plunge. Either way, of the marriages that dissolve, 75% site money problems as a major contributing factor. Finances play such a significant role in life. As such, climbing on the same page, financially, before you become one is essential.
Start your conversations about finances sooner than later. A good place to start would be in the context of future goals. If a proposal has already been popped, schedule this discussion today! Don’t doom a budding relationship to failure by overlooking a potential ticking time bomb.
Check out our show on love and finances.