May 11, 2016 by Mark Hammerstrom
“In love, the heavens themselves do guide the state; Money buys lands, and wives are sold by fate.”
–William Shakespeare “The Merry Wives Of Windsor.”
“What’s love got to do, got to do with it [?]”
Ah spring! The buds are blooming and the grass is greening and we launch right into the most popular season for marriage as well. For those of us who are married, who can forget those heady days of proposal and acceptance, of anticipation and planning, capped off by a fabulous celebration of marriage, the honeymoon, and then…
A big piece of the adventure that is marriage is this process of discovery and acceptance, and much joy does it bring! Yet there are those things that pop out of nowhere and surprise us (‘I thought that you paid that bill…but you had the statement…a late fee of how much you say??? Well, I guess, but how can you tell the dog is really happy???’).
We discover many wonderful things about our new spouse, some of which we had no idea. And they us, of course.
In January 2016, a survey was completed by Edelman Berland for Experian Consumer Services. The survey consisted of 1,000 newly married respondents and had some surprising findings, not the least of which is how little the respondents knew about their spouse’s income, debt or credit scores.
From the Experian press release, here are some highlights which should give us some pause:
- Oh my! Forty percent of all respondents reported they did not know their spouse’s credit score.
- Really? One in three said their spouse’s spending habits were not what they expected.
- Yikes! On average, respondents reported they spend money on the sly, and don’t tell their spouses: an average of more than $800.
- Oh, didn’t I tell you about that? 16% reported they also have bank accounts their spouses know nothing about.
- Why am I not surprised? Men apparently are worse than women when it comes to undisclosed spending: $1,259 on average for men, while women spend an average of $383.
- Clueless. 25% of respondents did not know their spouse’s annual income before marriage.
- Directionless. 31% did not know their spouse’s long term financial goals.
- Blindsided. 31% did not know the amount of their spouse’s student loan debt!
- Dreams deferred: 32% said their spouse’s credit score impacted their ability to get a home loan.
- Mom and Dad, we have a question for you: 19% reported needing a separate co-signer for a major loan, like a house, due to credit issues.
While a majority of respondents (56%) said they considered the impact of their spouse’s credit score before getting married, 39% said their financial standing, specifically their credit scores, were a source of stress in their marriage. Like newlyweds need more stress!
Perhaps a larger concern was the 19% who reported that not being able to pay off debt was a significant source of stress as well. Stress indeed.
In the news release, Rod Griffin, Director of Public Education for Experian said: “Credit impacts many aspects of building a life together…Couples should check their credit reports and scores and discuss them. Knowing these scores will help couples better plan for a future together and give them the opportunity to take steps to better manage their credit.”
United Credit Service encourages the intelligent discussion of financial matters by everyone, not just newlyweds. Yet, there is no doubt that financial problems and unexpected debt can put enormous strain on a new marriage and take the bloom off the rose pretty fast. “What’s love got to do, got to do with it [?]” Plenty, but without an honest discussion of a couple’s financial situation realizing all those wonderful dreams can easily and quickly become out of reach.
Founded in 1950, United Credit Service, Inc. is a full service, licensed revenue cycle management and debt collection agency in Wisconsin providing effective, customized one on one management and recovery solutions for our business partners. Visit our website at http://www.unitedcreditservice.com, call 877-723-2902 or check out our YouTube video.