Post # 1
I’m not engaged but the man and I are very serious. We’ve been dating for nearly 4 years and living together for 1. I have never wanted to get married but he changed my mind about that. We have always discussed marriage so I know it is in the cards. He is perfect for me in every way.
My problem is: he has bad credit and IMO poor money habits. I won’t say I’m Suze Orman but my credit score is 750+, I own a condo, and pay all bills on time. As we begin to discuss marriage, I am starting to really grow concerned about this. In his defense he is NOT a wreckless spender. I believe he has just made some poor choices in the past that he is paying for now. I have bailed him out of a bind a couple of times and feel like these may be red flags to move on. Part of me feels silly ignoring “red flags” but the other part feels silly saying “I can’t marry you because you are bad with money.” I just don’t always want to have to be the one to put things on my credit as we plan the future. I should also mention that I make about $30K more than him.
As I’ve begun to think about getting engaged, planning a wedding, buying a home, I get stressed thinking that while I am established he is playing catch up and will be for some time.
Has anyone had these types of concerns? I would appreciate any advice on how to bridge our financial gap.
*I hope I didn’t come off as a snob =0/
Post # 3
Hey there! I also have bad credit (poor choices and 5 layoffs in my 20’s!) and my husband has very good credit. We were very worried about it, but my rating only affects him when we go to buy a house. I’ve decided to fix mine by any means possible and started reading the Dave Ramsey books, which are really helping me.
Have you spoken to him about these concerns? It may be that you’ll kind of have to be the money manager in the relationship. It’s weird, because I have the bad credit, but he’s more of a spender so I manage the money and write out all of the bills. You may have to be the “banker” in the marriage, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I would read a book or two on debt elimination and money management (or read them together) and work out a plan for your future. Good luck!
Post # 4
- Wedding: June 2010 - Indiana Memorial Union
I think it only takes 1 year of really perfect debt management to get your credit back on track. Be up front with him about it, research it together, and come up with a plan. If you guys do want to get married, this is something that will eventually need to be addressed. And it’s good for him in general!
Post # 5
I think these are red flags.. but not indications that you should leave him all together!
I think you need to discuss your concerns with him – seek out a financial counsellor together and work things out to get yourself as a couple moving in the right direction financially.
Money is one of the main reasons people get divorced so I think it is important that you work out a strategy NOW of how you as a couple are going to work with money. Then start moving in the right direction and you will be set up for the future perfectly!
Post # 6
I dont think these are necessarily “red flags” that should make you run, but you should be aware that these things are going to continue to happen if something ia not changed. I got married when i was very young and the man i married was very irresponsible with his money. It was so bad that i would have to take his paychecks from him and give him an allowance. I thought we were doing good until i found out that he had maxed out a credit card with a $5k spending limit behind my back. Dont make the same mistake i did. If you are going to change the way he is with money you have to teach him the fundamentals that you learned and help him along the way. Its a committment, but so is marriage. GL!
Post # 7
If you are just coming around on the idea of marriage, maybe you can make that a goal between you – if he does the year long programs etc, and that works out, then you can start talking about marriage.. what’s another year if you plan on spending your whole life together? But in the meantime, dedication to making it better will be a good indicator and negate some of those red flags.
Post # 8
I think it’s a red flag, but not a deal breaker. Obviously you don’t want to destroy your good name, but there are ways that you two can work together and fix his. Have you discussed his problems, tried to figure out compromises (like you take care of the bills)? That’s where I would start.
Post # 9
My FI and I have had several issue regarding money. Its frustrating and when you’re sharing expenses, or trying to make a large purchase together, things can get ugly. I have not always been good with money or my credit but I learned early and repaired the damage. My FI however was a little delayed in making money and establishing credit. He didn’t take my advice so he ultimately messed his credit up. So now, he’s saving for our wedding AND fixing the damage. Its been horribly stressful. But, while this has been a source of contention, its not a deal breaker. We have figured out the balance that works. What works for us is to have a joint checking and savings account. The checking account is money for our bills only. We each put an equal amount in there monthly and I’m in charge of paying the companies. The savings acount is something we’ve put very little in to so far but at least it’ll be there! And we each have our own checking and savings accounts. It took me awhile to trust that he was using that money in his checking account to pay off his bills so periodically he’ll keep me posted. I wanted full disclosure but I realized I was being too controlling. There is a need to communicate with this stuff though. You’ll one day be a team so you need to know what his financial situation is. In the end, if he’s repairing his credit mistakes, this is something you’ll be able to work through.
Post # 10
First off, you’re definitely not being a snob. 🙂 Financial issues are one of the top reasons for divorce, there is no reason not to worry about it – and to work on them prior to marriage.
You say he has “poor money habits” but is not a reckless spender. What are your specific concerns about his spending/credit habits? Credit mistakes do haunt you for several years, but is he currently working on his credit score/past issues?
As someone who royally screwed up my credit in my early 20’s, I can say that having bad credit sucks. It is depressing – and it can easily snowball, because if you are not proactive about it, it gets worse each month. It’s embarrassing.
I would suggest sitting down and calmly discussing your concerns, and his situation. Have him print off his credit report, so you can tackle the *specific* issues. Don’t accuse, just discuss, and make a workable plan for how to solve his credit problems.
He CAN fix his credit, but it’s work and it’s not fun. If he WON’T work on his credit though, that is a red flag, in my opinion.
Post # 11
My fiance had poor credit when we met (I mean, POOR), and some debts. But, he was serious about repairing everything and paying it off. I also had a large chunk of debt as well as student loans.
We faced the music together and came up with a very solid plan to pay off our debts and build his credit, in 18 months it has soared 200 points to a very respectable level and we’ve paid off 90% of our revolving debt.
I think the most important thing here is what his attitude about his credit and/or debt is . Does he take it seriously and want to change it for the sake of building your financial security? Is he actually taking steps to do so? If he is, I’d give him a chance and see how it goes. Unfortunately many people have to pay for mistakes they made when they were younger, I think how they approach these issues is just as important.
Post # 12
It takes a minimum of 12 months of favorable pay history to improve a credit score. That being said, only 30% of your score is based upon the last 12 months of pay history. The rest is based on capacity, the amount of revolving debt, length of time accounts have been opened, types of loans, etc… But it definitely is possible to see a score trending upward in a year!
I definitely dont’ think it’s a deal breaker… my FI is kind of the same way, and believe me, I’ve second guessed myself somedays. I’ve bailed him out of collections multiple times and made payments when he just didn’t think it was important, or he forgot. Most of our bills are in both of our names now, and I handle all of that in our household… I’ve worked extremely hard to get my score to what it is and refuse to let his poor decisions in the past affect my hard work. I also work in the banking industry, so that might have a little something to do with my intense feelings on the subject 🙂
Post # 13
Neither of us have great scores, mine is “good” and I think his is “fair”. I have no excuse for a “good” score, I’ve always had a good paying job and parents paid for college, etc. I just didnt’ take bill paying seriously in my early 20’s and as a result had 2 credit cards close on me.
Now that we are saving to buy a condo, we are super careful about our credit. I have been slowly opening a couple store cards to have a higher revolving limit, but paying them off right away so there are no balances. And always making sure to pay on time, that is key! I think that strategy or similar strategies will work for anyone as long as you keep on top of it and are diligent. Good luck!
Post # 14
Wow Clover, that’s awesome! Good for you guys! Care to share how you did it?
Post # 15
Well, first, we faced the music and made an excel spreadsheet of every debt we had, every bill we needed to pay, what our income was, where our money was going and what the timeline for repayment was. This was really, REALLY hard, but we did it.
Then, we started saving and paying down our debts. As my fiance cleared off each debt, his score rose bit by bit. Last month we were able to knock out a huge chunk and I expect that our scores will soar again in a month or two once it’s reflected with the credit bureaus.
My main advice is be honest with yourself about your situation, what you owe, what you take in each month and where your money is going.
Post # 16
Thanks Clover! Very true about having to be honest with your self. I think that’s the hardest part for the two of us. I hope to say we’ve resolved 90% (or heck, even 50%) of our debt in a year!