Helping your spouse improve his or her credit habits requires diplomacy and tact. Since privacy laws limit your ability to access your spouse’s financial records for separate accounts, the first step is usually getting their permission to help. Next, carefully review each of your credit reports and assess the situation together.
Once you’ve done that and have a full understanding of the credit challenges you’re facing as a couple, create a plan for paying bills on time. Determine how much you’re spending on unnecessary purchases and how much you’re paying for bills. If you find that frivolous spending is hurting your credit usage, take steps to cut back and hold each other accountable.
If you find that remembering to pay bills on time is the obstacle your spouse faces, help get him or her on a regular schedule. For recurring bills you can achieve this with auto-pay options where available. For other debts, consider setting up automatic transfers that make payments regularly and without deviation.
Working together to create and stick to a household budget can help both partners keep spending under control. Adding your spouse to joint accounts or co-signing loans with your spouse may allow them to access more credit, but also gives them the ability to damage your credit if their bad habits carry over to your shared accounts.
Keep the conversation going and check in on progress. Better understanding of your credit will give you both the knowledge to get the most out of it, and improvement to your spouse’s credit habits will positively impact your future together.
This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.
Published by permission from ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. © 2014 ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. All rights reserved.