I know this is a very personal subject, and I'm sure everyone has their own levels of comfort. But I am truly struggling with myself if I should ask my live in boyfriend to run his credit report.
My main issue is that I am 28 and recently widowed and he is recently divorced. I learned the hard way from my husbands financial irresponsibility and lies that even the people you trust most can keep a lot secret, when a credit check and previous tax returns could have let me know something was fishy about his spending habits. Luckily I pulled free from the ordeal, almost scot free as I never co-signed on anything with him. His income was enough to get him approved for whatever car he wanted etc. and we paid cash for most everything. Little did I know he had 30k in credit card debt... and 70k in IRS debt that im working with a tax attorney to resolve.
I went from litterally having no idea about credit... how to build it... and what i should have been doing. I always was scared to death to open credit cards in my name, because frankly I believe if i cant pay cash, I can't afford it. Never had a problem because my husband leased cars through his business... and we hadn't bought a house together because of the possibility of moving to other states because of his business.
I now have been single for some time, and found out how hard it was just to get approved for a measely secured card.
I have seen my credit start from the 580 range to a high of 709, and due to credit building and investment in a macbook pro (for educational and business use - will pay off before 1 year interest free offer ends) it is currently at 681(MyFico Score Watch). I made the mistake of asking for a credit limit for what i needed financed. I thought it was a loan, didn't realise it was a credit card till it was too late. But cest la vie, I am on track to be over 720 before the end of the year(probably by this July).
I have a goal to buy a house. i was actually going to buy this year, but I think Vegas housing market is being a little cooky lately with drastic price changes. I think winter or next spring will be when i finally purchase a house.
My main point of concern is that my boyfriend who lives with me now is not very credit savy. Or atleast form what ive gathered from conversations with him is that he doesnt have any credit cards, doesnt use credit... and does most of his bill paying and what nots in cash. His sister is the same also... maybe its a culture thing? He is a mexican who is a legal imigrant since he was a kid. He has had the option to become american, but chooses not to. I find it extremely odd that at 35 he hasn't cought on to the whole credit is important thing even if you don't need it at this very instance... my true fear is he is hiding something.
I have hinted at getting his free annual report. I even helped his twin sister pull her 3 up! He has yet to actually do it. Now maybe im over analysing things... but im starting to worry that like my husband there is a reason behind this. I hate to think bad about my possible future mate... but it is what it is. He did go through a divorce... you would think he would make sure his ex wife isn't trashing his credit since she probably has all his info somewhere in her files.
I love this man, but if he is not showing Credit savvy... and shows no signs of caring about something i think is essencial for my goals fo buying a home and having children together ( which by the way he has already discussed marriage and children me, and its something he plans on in the near future). He even took me ring shopping at my uncles jewelry store to see what i liked back around january, but he has yet to actually go in himself and discuss lay away or financing with my uncle.
Should I be worried? Or am I just over anyalizing, and worrying myself over nothing. I am firmly set on not financially tieing myself to someone who does not have the same ideas on financial stability... and responsible credit building.
Sorry for being so long winded... but i really need to decide if i should make this a stupulation of being in a relationship. And if its something i can be lenient on, or if its a complete no go and I should end this serious relationship before an engagement ring gets bought.
I think that if decent credit is a high priority for you in choosing a partner, then flat out tell him.
I agree that if you're considering making a life with this guy you have good reason to know his credit picture, especially given your experiences.
One good thing is that you both seem to have similar attitudes about prefering cash over credit (good because of the similarity; not knocking using credit).
Question: Were his parents legal immigrants or illegal? If they were here illegally, they probably did everything in cash and impresed on him at a young age the need to keep transactions away from prying eyes. If so, it may be "a cultural thing," but not so much Mexican culture as the culture of people forced to live a semi-underground existence.
Absolutely you should lay your concerns on the line with your boyfriend then go from there.
Once Bitten, Twice Shy
Your concerns are well founded and You are completely justified.
First and foremost you have to verify EVERYTHING! Request documents!
You had already suffered enough and you are well within your rights to make sure that your concerns are properly addressed.
Lack of financial education is one thing, but if that person is willing to be taught and to follow proper financial responsibility then you can build a future together.
DO NOT BE LENIENT! All of your hard work will be torn asunder if he continues down the path of ignorance. Be the teacher.
Were there children in the prior marriage? Does he owe child support? Judgements? Liens? Is he Legal in the US? Have you seen the documentation? ARE YOU SURE!?!
These are things that will affect you when you get married. Be smart and avoid trouble.
Any questions or doubts that you may have needs to be addressed 100%. Not only will these issues will play part when you apply for a mortgage but will damage your marriage if they come out to light afterwards. (Trust Issues, what else did he not tell you?)
Wish you the best of Luck.
I truly appreciate all of your opinions. It is just a tricky thing to go about doing, and it makes me uncomfortable... But I feel better about asking to know about his whole financial picture, vs. doing a background check behind his back LOL... still might do that.
Starry - I was very upfront at the beginning of our relationship. From the beginning of our serious relationship, I let him know my ideas on financial stability, saving, and importance of credit to me. He used to keep all of his money in the house, and at my request he has opened a bank account to deposit his savings.
Gunnar - His mother is a legal immigrant. They emigrated because his sisters severe health problems since birth. But they were pretty destitute when they were growing up. So I'm assuming he just never became familiar with savings and checking accts. Or traditional money management.
Pheonex - Your answer has come as great reassurance to me, and also opened my eyes to other things I need to know. Yes he is legal, I have seen his greencard, and he has worked at a casino resort here in Vegas for over 9 years... They do FBI backgrounds before hiring. No children in his previous marriage. I think you brought up a lot of issues seeing his actual credit report would help alleviate.
Thanks so much!
Can I just say, as a fellow Nevadan, that I think you are really smart for thinking about finances? Living here, you bump into folks with gambling issues and all sorts of stuff. I'm not suspicious by nature, but we all hear the horror stories of people losing their homes, marriages, etc over financial troubles. At the very least - it's smart to make sure you're on the same page money-wise. Especially if you're considering starting a family with this man.
I wish you the very best.
I agree that you should ask him about his credit, and ask to look at the report. Trust but verify.
I knew my husband had some challenges due to his ex wife and divorce. He was upfront about those things, and I didn't hold it against him as a potential life partner, because his values and my values about money were the same.
His scores are in the high 600s, and his TU FAKO is a 767
Sounds like he's been willing to make changes such as putting money into checking/savings rather than keeping cash in the house. I'd imagine he'd be willing to work on credit also. Maybe you can pitch it as something that you can do together. That a goal of yours is to buy a house, so you need to evaluate where you both stand creditwise and start taking deliberate actions to position yourself for the home purchase. For him, that may mean getting a couple credit cards since it sounds like he is going to have a very thin file.
This way you're not pitching it as something you're doing together to work toward a shared goal. And in the end, you get to see what is going on with his credit as well. If there are any baddies, you have time to work on them (provided they aren't deal breakers).
HAHAHA Sorry Its still a work in progress. I have brought it up casually, as something we should do. I am giving him time to actually acomplish this. And I've told him if there is anything bad, not to worry we can work together to fix it. I feel im armed with enough knowledge on how scores work to help. But I can't force him to give me his SSN LMBO.
I am however itching for a resolve as you are...
Maybe I will pull up the website right now and see if he will do it... hmmmm