- Financial discussions with a future husband should start on the first date.
- Having your own credit history and credit lines protect you from financial infidelity.
- The key to improving your credit score is reading your credit report. By reading your report, you can address issues in your credit you may not have been aware of.
- Most credit reports have errors. Fixing these simple errors can help improve your ability to access credit.
What is the best way for women to improve their credit score.
The best way for women to improve their credit score is to first review their credit report. It sounds simple, but if you ask people if they’ve looked at their credit report, they’ll reply that they’ve only seen their credit score.
Review your credit report if you’re looking to buy a home, if you’re an entrepreneur, or if you’re looking for a new career. Some employees will even pull your credit report if they are looking to hire you. Understanding your credit report will help you manage your current credit and help you obtain new credit.
Avoid Identity Theft, the Credit Destroyer
A credit report will help you protect yourself from identity theft. The risk of identity theft increases when:
- It’s tax time. Your personal information is being used more often during this time.
- It’s the holidays. People are spending a lot more and may not notice suspicious account activity.
You should look at your credit report quarterly, and more frequently if you plan on using more credit in the near future, especially within the next 12 months. Check your credit report if you plan on building or reestablishing your credit.
I want people to know, especially women, that just because you have a bad credit score or negative credit due to a divorce, or co-signing, it doesn’t mean someone won’t try to steal your identity.
What to Check on the Credit Report
- Check your personal information. Studies have shown that 34% of credit reports may have errors. The errors can be sometime be fundamental issues like your name or address.
- Mortgage lenders don’t want to see 15 addresses on a credit report. Make sure your most recent address is on the report and correct.
- Check your social security number. I am one of those people whose social security number was wrong on my credit report.
- What’s in the public record. Did you have a judgement. Do you owe child support? Did you file for bankruptcy? All these records could be indicators that you will be denied.
- Are there collection items? Even if you do have a collection, is the balance correct? For example, some lenders don’t want to see more than $2000 in collection. Your credit score may be poor due to an incorrect balance.
- Collectors can’t “double dip”. Collectors can’t put the same collection on your credit report multiple times. I’ve seen credit reports where collectors have reported the same collection five times.
- The credit bureaus can only report information that is correct. Reach out to the credit bureaus or the consumer financial protection bureau to get your credit report fixed.
It’s not just one Score!
- You have a bank score. A bank score is used by banks to assess if it’s risky to open a new bank account for you. Banks consider you risky if you bounce checks or rack up bank fees.
- You also have an insurance score. Your insurance score represents the probability that you will file an insurance claim. Your credit rating could affect your insurance score.
- And just to add more complexity, you also have an auto score. FICO provides an industry-specific score that reflects how risky it is to give you a car loan.
Your house lender won’t just use your one FICO score. They will probably take the middle score. So, you have multiple credit scores to manage. Your credit is more than just the score.
It’s awkward to be working thru a mortgage with your husband just to find out you and your husband don’t qualify because of his credit score.
Talk Money in Your Marriage
I asked my husband for his credit report on our first date. Most people tell me, “Well I don’t think I would’ve called you back”. But I was dating with purpose, and I wanted to build something with someone. Now, we go on a money date once a week.
On our first date, my husband took me to a cooking class. On our second date, I took him to a financial workshop!
If you’re looking for someone that could be your future husband, you should be having these conversations. If you don’t have these conversations during the dating “honeymoon” phase, you could go a year before these financial conversations come up, what a waste!
You don’t have to be financially the same as your future husband. He doesn’t have to “budget like a boss”. But are your financial values aligned? If your values aren’t aligned, don’t hope he will just change. Finances are a major cause of divorce. Women will stay thru adultery and all those other flashpoint problems, but financial problems will kill a relationship.
If you have those honest financial conversations up front, then you can really assess if this is the person you want to build my future with.
For most women, financial stability is one of the important factors in a relationship. When you first start a relationship, you want to talk about everything, like where you want to travel. Financial discussions help you figure out how you are going to get to your dream vacation. Most travel destinations you can’t just walk to.
“On the first date, everyone wants to talk about where they want to travel. But how are you going to get there? Are you going to walk. Financial discussions figure out how to do your goals.”
In general, finances and starting a family are the two main goals that need to be aligned to sustain a long-term relationship. Because having kids and financial stability go hand in hand.
Should a Married Woman have her own credit card?
Yes, a married woman should always have her own credit card. Because you are married, you want to build a home together with your husband. But you as an individual have your own dreams, goals, and aspirations. You want to be able to stand on your own two feet, as the worst financial hardship comes from debt, job loss, and divorce.
And if you must separate from your husband, you may have to start all over financially. So, to keep that level of stability, it’s important to keep credit in your own name. It’s okay to have an account that just belongs to you.
I was a whole human before my husband and I met, but I keep my own accounts and credit lines in addition to our joint accounts. I think many times women start losing themselves when they start having kids and become a stay-at-home wife.
Women may feel like they lost themselves. As they fall into depression, they may start doing aimless online shopping, even if it’s something she wouldn’t have done in the past. She may feel like she has lost financial control.
Even if you’re married and you’re being good partners, it’s still good to show financial independence to your kids. Sometimes, as women, we forget that our children are our mirrors. We must make sure that the reflections we show are what we want them to follow in their own lives. Having your own credit shows your kids how to be financially responsible and have security in their own selves.
What if my Husband has a Bad Credit Score?
If your husband has a bad credit score, are you talking about it? You must ask him questions before you can fix the problem:
- Did he come into the relationship with a bad credit score?
- Is he willing to be financially vulnerable and share his financial secrets?
- Is he willing to make the financial sacrifices necessary for the relationship’s future financial success?
If your husband is willing to share his financial secrets, schedule a money date. Financial topics don’t have to take up the entire date but put money talks on the calendar. Keep it short and honest. If you can’t do that, if you can’t discuss your husband’s bad credit, you can try working with a financial professional. But whatever you do, don’t procrastinate. If you don’t deal with your husband’s bad credit quickly, it will become a bigger problem.
Financial Infidelity can Destroy Your Credit!
Financial infidelity is when one or both partners are keeping financial secrets from each other. In extreme examples, wives may be in a marriage, unaware that she is in millions of dollars of debt due to her husband.
Financial infidelity doesn’t mean he’s spending money on another women. It could be the man that goes to Las Vegas and gambles away your savings. And you have no idea!
Sometimes, a man may be coming into the relationship with a “financial mask”. They look at the surface to be financially sound, but in truth they are hiding underlying financial issues. When people find out, they feel stuck. When a wife finds out, the problem has an immediate impact on her. If your husband gets a million-dollar tax lien, half of that is on you!
Ultimately, financial infidelity is when a husband hides financial realities. By having your own credit, you can protect yourself from this.
What else is your husband hiding? I’ve heard stories of financial infidelity from about 40 women. Financial infidelity is very common.
The Bottom Line
Regardless if you’re married or looking to get married, work on your own credit score. Make sure your partners credit is also healthy, as it can directly impact your own ability to get credit. No matter how deep into a marriage you are in, make sure you keep your own credit line in case of an emergency. Showing your own financial strength also gives your children how to be financially independent.