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Love and Debt: Why you need to talk about money

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Where to go for mortgage and debt help

What You Should Know About Debt Settlement

Create a plan to deal with medical debt

Options for Higher Education

Will Changes in Credit Reporting Affect You?

What to do if your medical bills are turned over to collections

What to do if your spouse can't pay his or her bills

What to do when a family member ruins your credit

Homeownership is possible

What you need to know about the IRS and collection agencies

Will being turned down for a store credit card hurt my credit?

Beware of credit repair

Debt Management versus Debt Settlement

How to get ahead of late fees

Is There a Service That Helps You Not Pay Bills

Is a Debt Owed

Patience is the key to furnishing a new home

How to split expenses with your partner

Will my boyfriend's bad credit affect me?

What to do if your account is turned over to collections

Personal Credit and Starting a Business

Finding Money to Reduce Your Debt and Improve Your Credit

Simple Keys to Personal Finance

Be vigilant to avoid telephone and internet scams

Debt Settlement

Understanding credit utilization

The pros and cons of skipping a payment

Keep an open line of communication with parents about their finances.

Make a Choice to Get Ahead Financially

What to do when a relative asks you for money

Should You Buy a Home Now or Wait?

The difference between debt settlement and debt management

The negative impact of paying a payment 30 days late

Stressed by Finances

How to navigate two significant financial decisions: starting a family and buying a home

How to advise someone close to you who is coming into a significant amount of money

Make a Conscious Decision on How to Spend Your Money

How do you know if you have a good credit score?

Americans spend more money eating out than on groceries

Having Good Credit Saves You Money

Developing good money habits with your first job

How to save for a home

How to Know if you are Ready for Home Ownership

When is the right time to buy a home?

You can improve your credit to buy a home

Plan a Memorable Vacation Without Incurring Debt

The Hidden Costs of Payday Loans

Be Wary of Credit Repair Services

Use Caution when playing the credit card game

What does it mean to say bankruptcy gives you a clean slate?

How your credit is affected by various debt options

Be wary of predatory small business loans

What to do if you fall behind on mortgage payments

Financing a College Education

Money, Credit and Relationships

Should you be concerned with your date's credit scores?

Best options for a small, short-term loan

How to help a relative who is always borrowing money from you

Skipping a Payment over the Holidays

What to do if you are overwhelmed by medical bills

Make your financial intention a financial goal you can achieve

What to do when a collector calls you

The difference between paying bills and managing your money

My wife and I have gone through some tough financial times, which eventually led us to file for bankruptcy.  Following this experience, I don’t ever want to use credit again, but my wife

What do I need to know to pay ahead on my mortgage?

What to do if you get an unsolicited credit card in the mail

What to do when moving in to share expenses doesn't work out

Should you be concerned with your date's credit scores?

Q. I have excellent credit, but I just learned that the woman I'm dating does not. Right now, I don't see this as a problem, since my good credit gives me access to what I need. Should I worry about someone else's credit?

A. This depends on whether you want the relationship to progress.  If so, you’d be wise to consider your girlfriend’s credit scores, and here’s why.

People who get married or have a committed relationship often acquire things with credit as they build their lives together—even if they’re not planning to do so at the outset.  If you eventually decided to buy a home or car together, a prospective lender will look at your high credit scores—and your girlfriend’s low ones, too.  As a result, your girlfriend’s poor credit may prevent you from qualifying for the loan you want or need.

If you need both your income and hers to qualify for a home loan, for example, her credit problems could prove so damaging that her income wouldn’t be considered as part of the loan process.  If this happens, then you’d be left trying to qualify for a loan on your income alone, or forget buying a new home altogether.  

Though you’re working in smaller dollar amounts, the same scenario can play out for a new car, should you decide to buy one together.  What happens if your girlfriend can’t qualify for a car loan?  Are you willing to buy a car together if it means that the loan will have to be in your name?  What if the relationship falls apart, and you’re stuck with all the payments?   

Since your girlfriend’s credit could eventually have a negative impact on you, I think it would be wise for you to find out what caused her credit problems in the first place. Was it due to a one-time life event that was out of her control?  (A serious accident, for instance.)  Or are her credit problems a result of poor decisions, such as overspending or making late payments?  What is she doing right now to improve her credit situation?  The answers to these questions reveal information that will eventually affect your relationship.

In fact, research confirms that differing credit scores among couples can spell future trouble.  In 2015, the Division of Research and Statistics and Monetary Affairs of the Federal Reserve Board of Washington, DC published a report titled “Credit Scores and Committed Relationships.”  Based on data from 12 million Americans over 15.5 years, the report reflects that couples with differences in their credit scores are highly predictive of subsequent separation. A  couple with an initial difference in credit score of 66 points is almost 25 percent more likely to separate during the second, third, and fourth year of their relationship. On the other hand, couples with higher credit scores are more likely to maintain their committed relationships.

People don’t enter a relationship thinking it will end. We are optimistic about the future.  But that doesn’t mean we should overlook the signs that are before us if we want a relationship to last.

Bonnie Spain is the executive director of the American Center for Credit Education and Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Black Hills. For more information, email

The material in this transmission is provided for personal, non-commercial, educational, and informational purposes only. ACCE makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this transmission and assumes no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or any inconsistency herein. You should consult a professional where appropriate.