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Financial Advice for Married Couples
When you say the words “till death do us part,” you probably aren’t thinking too much about your significant other’s credit. However, as unfortunate as it may be, debt is one the biggest reasons for divorce in this country. Studies show couples who share good credit are genuinely happier, and couples who have bad credit tend to fight more. Thankfully, poor credit doesn’t have to condemn you to a life of martial stress. Take a look below for some of our debt and marriage advice.
Average Wedding Cost
Did you know the average wedding costs over $25,000? Sounds high, but this includes attire, decorations, gifts, invitations, photography, venue planning and more. A number of people break the bank for the wedding, and sometimes people are so caught up in the festivities that they overlook the large amount of debt they are accruing. Personal finances aren’t something people want to talk about on their wedding day, but it is something that should be addressed sooner rather than later.
Marriage 101: Marriage, Debt, and Openness
It’s only natural to disagree over money matters from time to time, but extended financial tension can become cumbersome and often lead toward unwanted consequences.
In order to have a financially healthy marriage, it’s important to be open with your finances and discuss them with your spouse.
- Discuss Spending Habits: Couples should spend a significant amount of time discussing their spending habits and making a budget to avoid overspending.
- Look at Each Other’s Credit Scores: Check each other’s credit score to see how their credit is doing. Remember, if you have applied for a loan together, your credit ranking can have a direct effect on your spouse’s, and vice versa.
- Discuss Your Financial Future: It’s important to discuss your future financial goals ahead of time. Be sure to make well thought-out plans with your spouse so that you can avoid unnecessary financial strain in the future.
The Dark Side of Debt
The laws pertaining to spousal taxes and debt vary from state to state. But here are two basic property rules that affect the liability of your tax burdens.
- The extent to which you are liable for your spouse’s debt depends on where you live. Many states have “community property” rules, which mean most debt incurred by one spouse during a marriage is the liability for both spouses. In other words, both partners are equally accountable.
- Other states follow “common law” property rules. In these states, the debt of one spouse is usually their own, unless the debt is for a shared family necessity such as a child’s education, shelter, etc.
Community Property States:
- New Mexico
Common Law States:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
*Other states not listed have their own specified guidelines when it comes to spousal taxes and debt.
Living with large amounts of debt is never easy, especially when it involves a significant other. The thing to remember is to always be honest. Talking openly with your spouse about your credit and working to improve it can make even the most challenging of financial hardships more manageable.
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