Recently on our bankruptcy forum a user asked, “I met Joe about two years ago. Things have gotten really serious and we are considering getting married. I have seen a few red flags with his spending, and he admitted to me the other night that he has a horrible credit score, over $30,000 in unsecured credit card debt, and already declared bankruptcy two years ago. I am really worried that Joe’s bad spending habits could be a major issue in our marriage. Should I be concerned or does love really conquer all?”
When you first meet someone it might all seem like a fairy tale. Unfortunately, jumping into a marital relationship without knowing someone and asking all the right questions is a recipe for disaster. In fact, money and money management is frequently listed as one of the main reasons couples end their marriage. So although it’s never romantic to delve into someone’s finances, it’s critical for a successful, permanent relationship.
What questions should you ask your boyfriend before you get married?
Before tying the knot or even considering getting married there are some basic questions you need to ask your boyfriend. Whether or not the answers are deal breakers, however, depends on whether or not your boyfriend admits he has a problem and whether you see significant changes in his behavior BEFORE you agree to marry him.
- How much debt do you have?
The first question to ask your boyfriend is how much debt he has. Obviously the type of debt is very important. $50,000 in unsecured credit card bills that he generated purchasing luxury goods is much more troublesome than $150,000 mortgage for a house that is appreciating in value.
Also, discuss his income. If he makes $300,000 a year and has a $10,000 credit card bill this might not be an issue. If, however, he makes $20,000 a year and his credit card bill is $20,000, this could be a serious red flag.
- What is his credit score?
Lenders review credit scores before loaning money. You’re considering marrying and having children with your boyfriend. Understanding his financial status is very important. Having a low credit score can tell you a lot about a person, including how they view their financial obligations and whether when they say they will do something- like repay someone- they make good on their promises.
When you get married a bad credit score can impact you in a variety of ways making it more difficult to get certain jobs, rent an apartment, buy a home, get low interest rates on money borrowed, or buy a car.
- Determine if you have the same financial goals?
Not only do you need to determine whether your future spouse is a spender or saver, it’s also important to discuss their long-term financial goals. Do they want to travel? Do they want to own a big home? Have they always dreamed of driving an $80,000 sports car? These questions may not seem important now, but if you like to shop each week and your spouse loves to count pennies this could cause real problems in the long-run.
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