Q: I’m getting married this year and am cleaning up my credit.
I have 10 delinquent debts on my credit reports due to my ex.
My future husband has outstanding credit. How will my poor credit affect my fiance after we are married?
A: In a nutshell, your past bad credit won’t impact him at all. It is a common misconception that once two people get married, so do their credit files or their credit histories.
But that simply is not the case. Your future spouse may be impacted financially by you in a whole host of ways (perhaps you’re a spender and he’s a saver … or maybe he will opt to pay off some of your past debts), but I can assure you that he can maintain a stellar credit rating after you marry, as long as you both adopt a few financial safeguards.
Some Simple Do’s and Don’ts
First, don’t open any joint accounts until after you clean up your credit.
His credit history is currently his alone; ditto for yours. Even after marriage that won’t change. What can change, however, is that the two of you may want to have certain shared obligations and open joints accounts (like a car loan or a mortgage).
If you do, then both of your credit files will reflect that you are equally responses for those debts. Needless to say, if it’s a bill you are or were supposed to handle, but fail to pay, then that will damage his credit rating – along with yours.
You should also limit adding each other onto your respective credit accounts.
Actually, to spell this out a little more clearly: he should definitely not be added onto any accounts of yours, because that will cause his credit file to contain some of your existing accounts, which may have late payments and other negative marks.
On the other hand, if you both agree, it would be beneficial for you to be added onto a few of his accounts.
In all candor, I would recommend that he only add you onto his credit accounts after you have demonstrated (by paying your bills on time) that you can juggle credit responsibly.
By adding you to his credit accounts, as an authorized user, you will get the benefit of “piggybacking” off of his good credit rating, which will, in turn, help to more quickly boost your own credit rating.
If you manage your financial affairs correctly, there’s no reason you can’t have a much, much better credit rating and higher FICO credit scores, by the time your wedding occurs.
Be Open to Learning
Lastly, it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to let him take the lead in managing your household finances – at least initially, after you get married.
Since he has perfect credit, there are probably some things he can share with you about how he achieved outstanding credit.
I know you’ve learned some tough lessons based on your dealings with your ex. But don’t put that baggage on your new love. Be open to his suggestions. Don’t resent him for his high credit rating.
Just learn a bit more and try to do better. Appreciate the fact that he has proven himself to be fiscally responsible. Many women would love to learn from such an individual.
But all in all, there’s no real reason to worry that your past credit blemishes will automatically taint his outstanding credit. Fortunately, the credit system just doesn’t work that way. Good luck with your relationship and best wishes for your upcoming wedding!