The next big life step for a couple can be moving in together, adopting an animal or even combining finances. Each is an important life step to undertake, but requires a bit of planning beforehand. When it comes to finances and credit, you may need to discuss this subject more delicately than others. Everyone's finances are different, so the topic should be brought up carefully. Following a few of these guidelines and tips, you can talk about finances and credit as a couple:
Discussing all finances
Before you even consider bringing up the subject of a joint bank account or credit card, you should start by talking about general finances. This can include credit cards, checking accounts, investments, student loans, income and even credit score. By laying everything out on the table, you will be able to craft a plan about your future finances.
Improve credit score
If one or both of you is struggling with a low credit score, overwhelming debt or both, you may want to hold off combining finances for the moment. There are simple things you can do to rebuild credit such as making credit card payments on time and reducing your balance. This will help you get in a good credit standing before you take the leap and combine finances or get a joint credit card.
Once you have discussed any investments or bad credit, you should discuss your financial habits with your partner. This can be everything from when you make credit card payments, pay bills and even when you receive a paycheck. Getting this out of the way as soon as possible will prevent surprise spending habits in the future. A good idea is to come to a compromise about spending habits. If you are going to share a bank account, it will pay to get in sync with spending and credit habits. Before you sign up for a bank account, try your agreed spending habits on your own credit and bank accounts first. This will give you a dry run before you start making financial decisions together.