If you're married, you have probably gone through the process of merging his and her belongs all together. But credit history is not among them. Many new couples assume that a new, merged credit report is created after they get married. Not true. Even if you're married, your spouse's individual credit history cannot be merged with yours.
Building a financial future together can be challenging for even the most like-minded couples. But when newly married partners have different credit histories, blending finances can be difficult and, in some cases, even unwise. That said, if you plan on making major purchases together, you are not immune to the consequences of your significant other's bad credit. If their credit is poor, even the best of credit on your part won't be enough to garner you the best interest rates on loans you'd like to take on together. In fact, you may not be able to qualify for joint financing at all. Fortunately, as long as one of you has good credit, you are in an exceptionally favorable position to help with credit repair efforts.
- Pull both of your credit reports. Order your credit reports from all three credit reporting agencies. Go through them, item by item, making note of any and all negative listings. Then for each listing, send a letter to each credit bureau requesting validation of the debt. Refer to our comprehensive article on this process of debt validation. Note, this is a process that can take months, but diligence and patience on both your parts will be well worth the effort.
- Pay off recent debt. Help your significant other pay off the most recent debt that has not been charged off and/or debts that have not been sent to collections. With both your incomes, together you should be able to pay off the debt twice as fast.
- Co-sign on a credit card. Once you have gone through the process of removing all the negative listings possible from your credit reports and paying off recent debt, consider co-signing on a credit card with your partner. Provided you keep the card in good standing, paying off the balance every month, both of your credit scores should benefit.
- Make a budget together, and stick to it. If you haven't already, take the time to go through your income and expenses with a fine-tooth comb. It helps to record every penny earned and spent over a months' time to get a sense of where your money is going, and where you can cut back.
The benefits of the partnership with the one you love are infinite, offering countless ways to improve your quality of life together. Working together to improve each other's credit can be among them. It may take some time and effort, but in the long run, all of this hard work together will pay off in lower interest rates on loans and money saved for those much-needed vacations together.
Be sure to stay tuned to our blog for more informative posts such as this. Leave us a comment to let us know how you manage your finances as a couple, and ensure that both your credit scores are impeccable.