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Fast Fact: Couples Coy With Financial Info

Center for Personal Finance editors / April 14th, 2018

About a quarter of Americans polled don't discuss personal finances with their significant other, "because it's none of their business," according to a recent survey by TransUnion, Chicago. And another 7.8% say they don't think couples should discuss personal finances until after they marry, reports the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation, the public charity of the Cornerstone Credit Union League, Farmers Branch, Texas, which serves credit unions in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Another 45% of married Americans surveyed say they do not know their partner's credit score. "Mind your own business" is not a good financial strategy for couples, says Courtney Moran, executive director of the foundation. "Of course couples should have frank and honest conversations about personal finance before—not after—they marry." Moran says when you marry, how your partner manages debt, assets, and credit affects you as a couple. "If one person in the marriage is credit-challenged, for example, it could impact the couple's ability to obtain joint credit. If one person is a saver and the other is a spender, it could lead to conflict in the marriage."
"Mind your own business" is not a good financial strategy for couples.
Before marriage, Moran encourages couples to:
  • Talk about assets, as well as debts;
  • Discuss savings and spending habits;
  • Be honest and open about credit histories;
  • Know each other's short- and long-term financial goals; and
  • Share thoughts about how the finances should be handled after marriage—with joint or separate accounts.
"Being honest and upfront about personal finances before you walk down the aisle will help to ensure a more harmonious union," Moran says.

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