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
department, here are 5 credit tips that everyone in a relationship should know,
just in case:
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.
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myFICO is the consumer division of FICO. Since its introduction 20 years ago, the FICO® Score has become a global standard for measuring credit risk in the banking, mortgage, credit card, auto and retail industries. 90 of the top 100 largest U.S. financial institutions use the FICO Score to make consumer credit decisions.