Credit union informs: Combining finances for #FirstTimers

shutterstock 151832219 smallMoney can either bring couples together or tear them apart. It has often been cited as the No. 1 reason for divorce. But it doesn't have to be that way.  

Here are a few tips for newlyweds to launch a healthy financial future: 

  • Get a financial snapshot - Talk to each other about your past financial history. Show your partner your pay stubs and financial accounts. Pull each of your credit scores. It's important to know about each person's past so you know what you will be dealing with as a couple. 
  • One, two or three accounts - Deciding whether to combine all of your accounts into one or each maintaining your own personal finances is a big decision. Many financial experts advocate for the three-account system. Each partner maintains their own savings and checking account and they both contribute to a joint third account. There is no right or wrong way to handle this, the important thing is to talk about it and make a decision as a couple. 
  • Create a budget and talk about it regularly - Understanding how your money is spent and talking about it frequently is the first great step to building a financially sound life together. 
  • Have an emergency fund - Whether it's three or six months' worth of daily living expenses, start saving as soon as possible. Make sure the funds are in a liquid account (like a savings account, not a 401(k) account) so you can access them in case of an emergency. 
  • Share your goals - Do you want to buy a house? Retire early? Have a large family? Sharing financial goals and deciding on how to achieve them can bring you together more as a couple.

Remember, communication is the key to a healthy marriage. Talking about your finances early on in your relationship will save you from heartbreaking discussions later. For more financial tips for newlyweds, visit The Real Deal.

Follow Unity One on Twitter

Credit union informs: Hiding Debt from a Spouse

Q: I recently ran my credit report and found a lot of unknown debt. Afraid of identity theft, I discussed it with my spouse…who admitted to applying for and using credit cards that I knew nothing about. Now what?

A: Nothing eats away at the foundation of a marriage like dishonesty. Hiding debt from each other is not a good thing, but it does happen, and many couples have worked through this. Follow all of these steps, or just the ones that apply to your situation, and let us know how it goes.couple resized 600

  1. Express your disappointment. It’s OK to get mad; it’s not OK to get even. Wait until you’re feeling calm, and let your spouse know how you feel. Saying something that describes YOUR feelings is always better than pointing fingers and blaming your partner. “I’m feeling so hurt and disappointed about this. I thought we were completely honest and open with each other. I’m really hurt.”
  2. Dig deeper. Why would your spouse apply for debt you know nothing about? Is he/she feeling choked by the budget? Are you just a little too controlling when it comes to the finances? Is he/she out of work with too much time and not enough cash? In an atmosphere of acceptance and understanding, see if you can get to the bottom of why this happened. Keep in mind that the truth may be painful.
  3. Brainstorm for solutions. If you’re on the same page, do it together. If this is a problem you’re facing alone, whether your partner feels no need to fix it or for whatever other reason, sit down and come up with possible solutions.
  4. Plan regular budgeting meetings. Keep an eye on your own credit history, and resolve to work out the issues. It might be a good idea to apply for a credit card at Unity One Credit Union and agree to use only that card. When the bill comes, sit down together and make sure you’re both comfortable with what’s being charged.
  5. Spending money. It may make you feel like a kid, but there’s nothing wrong with each partner having a set amount of cash you’ve agreed on that you can spend, for which you’re not accountable. Even if it’s just $10 a month, there’s a freedom in money that has no purpose other than your own enjoyment.
  6. Separate credit cards. If all else fails, make it clear that your spouse's credit cards are his/her alone, and you’ll only be responsible for your joint accounts. I would like to speak with a loan officer.

We all mess up sometimes. Don’t let your partner’s indiscretion spoil the other areas of your life. Give yourself time to stew, work out the details, and then get on with your life together, as a team.

Like, Follow, and engage with us Socially

Stay in-the-know by finding us on one of our many social media platforms. With information about upcoming events, scheduled maintence, and much more, you're sure to see the benefit of engaging and banking with Unity One!