Again this year, myFICO conducted a Valentine’s Day survey of more than three thousand myFICO customers, revealing many of their attitudes about relationships and money. I've highlighted some of the results:
- 34% of couples don’t discuss finances or FICO scores until well into the relationship, while almost 12% keep their income, financial standing and FICO scores entirely to themselves.
- 18%-22% claim to be complete opposites on the spending spectrum, or at least drastically different in their spending habits.
- 41% keep finances separate, with another 36% of couples holding both joint and individual credit obligations.
- 13% would quit dating someone if, within the first six months, they found out their partner was in debt and/or had a low FICO score.
- 9% said a good FICO score is the characteristic they find most important in a date, while 82% voted for personality.
Now, from the
- Establish credit in your own name. If you hold credit either jointly or as an authorized user, but not individually, you could be left out in the (credit) cold if the relationship goes sour. If times get tough and your credit turns bad due to the other person’s neglect, you’ll want to have your own credit card that you can maintain and have available.
- Your credit reports don’t merge when you marry. All consumers, whether married or single, have their own credit reports and FICO credit scores. Each person’s report will contain any jointly held or authorized user accounts, along with any accounts in which you are individually responsible. Your FICO score will be based on your report only.
- A divorce decree can't remove your liability for debts incurred either jointly or individually during the marriage. Regardless of what the decree or marital settlement agreement states, creditors are not bound by such agreements and can be expected to come after you for payment if you were a party to the original agreement.
- In most states you can be held liable for the costs of your spouse or child. Most states, including non-community property states, will hold a spouse or ex-spouse liable for any medical costs incurred by the other spouse/ex-spouse or child during a marriage.
- Either party to a joint credit card account can close the account to both users. If the other party has agreed to be responsible for managing a jointly held account but fails to do so, it’s often a good idea to contact the card issuer and close the account to further charges. This will not necessarily remove either person from responsibility for debt already incurred, but it can stop the bleeding and minimize any further damage resulting from additional debt for which you will later be held jointly responsible.
Whether you're currently in or out of love, more information on what you need to know about managing your credit can be found in the FICO Forums community. Have a great Valentine’s Day!
Author: Barry Paperno serves as community manager for the myFICO® Forums and consumer operations manager for FICO®, where he has advised consumers and businesses on FICO® credit scoring since 1995.