Kate and Will’s nuptials kicked off the wedding season in fine, albeit expensive style. If you’re thinking of following suit — even if you can’t afford the dress — you will, no doubt, have a long To Do list.
One item at the top should be, wait for it, checking out each other’s credit report. I suggested this recently at a women’s conference. “That is sooo intimate!” declared one attendee. “Too intimate!” agreed another.
True enough. Exposing this side of your life — especially if there’s an underbelly to it — is the ultimate test of a relationship. But knowing each other’s credit score and history avoids unpleasant surprises.
A couple I worked with on my television show, Maxed Out, had been together two years when they applied for a mortgage. Up popped a raft of delinquent, and unrevealed, loans on the women’s credit report. They bought the house but had to borrow from a higher interest lender. Eventually the financial stress caused by the payments felled their marriage.
Examining your credit report annually is a good practice in any case. My husband and I just discovered that our truck loan, paid off last year, still lingers as unpaid.
The government requires the two major credit reporting agencies, TransUnion and Equifax, to provide free credit reports. You have to apply by mail. A full credit report, plus your credit score, will cost you around $25 from either agency and you can apply on-line.
It may not seem very romantic, but a credit report check-up is an important step for couples who want to build a sound financial foundation.