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Merging finances after marriage

Valued Contributor

Re: Merging finances after marriage

@astew1991 wrote:



I am super excited to be marrying the girl of my dreams, probably in late 2019. We are planning on buying a house in 2020, which will involve applying for a loan. We are in our late 20's.


We want to jointly combine our finances but we would like to understand how that will impact our credit score and success rate to obtain the best loan. Our financial characteristics:


Myself - I have no debt whatsoever. My credit score is 800+. However, I have never had any auto loans, mortgage payments or student loans. I am very fortunate for that. Literally my only "loans" have been credit cards, which I've never missed a payment. My income is $80k - $100k


She - She has about $155k in student debt from undergrad and law school, with a 6% interest. Her income is about $110k-$130k and will continue to rise. She has a credit score of about 760. She had an auto loan, but has paid it off and obviously has student loans where she pays monthly payments. 


Would that kind of credit mix for  help us still having an excellent credit score and obtaining a low interest rate for a loan?

To echo some other sentiments already expressed:


1. I wouldn't touch existing loans or debts. There's nothing to be gained from combining them, but something to be lost from doing the same.


2. Scores are already good enough for the best rates. 760 is good enough for the best rates on whatever you need, including mortgages. In other words, you don't need to do anything other than what you've already been doing to be ok here.


3. Per the above, whether you combine or not isn't going to have an effect on your scores or rates. You should combine if you want to, not because you think you have to or that it will give you some advantage. Many couples do just fine never combining and only going in jointly on major purchases (mortgage, for instance). Many couple also do just fine combining everything.


My personal advice on this would be to wait on combining and let all the current stuff stay where it is. As you go forward, take each new loan or account one at a time and decide as a couple whether it should be joint or individual. I know it might sound unspeakable at this point, but you should always evaluate these types of things with a pinch of skepticism, and if anything were to happen and you separate or divorce, breaking up joint accounts is one of the ugliest parts of the breakup. The pros for going joint on big things like mortgage usually outweigh the risk, but for something small like a credit card or personal loan, it really doesn't add anything to the equation while potentially taking a lot away later on. I would also caution against going all-in on joint - healthy relationships always leave at least some personal space for each person, including with finances.

Message 11 of 12
Established Contributor

Re: Merging finances after marriage

@MakingProgress wrote:

@EAJuggalo wrote:

@Dinosaur wrote:
As to merging finances ... would the OP then become liable for repayment on the student loans? Or, with no action on the part of the OP, would marriage mean he would be liable on the student loans anyway? Food for thought.

Would depend on the state you are in and what their laws are.  I live in WI, as soon as my wife and I got married I became responsible for half of her debt.  Now when I get a new card I have to have to either make her an AU or have her sign a form that she knows I got a new card.

I know WI is a community property state and thus both spouses are liable for debts incurred during the marriage, however to the best of my knowledge a spouse is NOT liable for debts incurred prior to a marriage or after a legal separation or divorce. 


This is my understanding as well.

Message 12 of 12
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