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Spouses should vow to talk money

By Marcie Geffner · Bankrate.com
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Posted: 6 am ET

Many married or otherwise committed couples don't discuss their personal finances with each other or aren't aware of each other's financial situation, according to a new Google Consumer Survey conducted by Chicago-based credit-reporting bureau TransUnion.

Nearly 25 percent of the 500-plus adults surveyed said they didn't discuss their personal finances with their significant other because that information was none of the other person's business.

Another 7.8 percent said they thought people shouldn't discuss their personal finances until after they got married.

Almost half of those who were married said they didn't know their spouse's credit score.

In a statement, TransUnion Vice President Julie Springer said talking about finances with someone you plan to marry can be scary or awkward, but is important to avoid stress later on.

"Understanding the financial commitments that come with marriage can help to maintain marital bliss long after the ceremony," Springer said.

Here are some tips for couples, courtesy of TransUnion:

  • Talk openly about your finances, including your spending habits, savings and financial goals to avoid disagreement later.
  • Review your romantic partner's credit history to avoid surprises when you try to obtain credit together in the future. If either of you has credit problems, work together to clean things up and reduce your debts.
  • Getting married won't automatically merge your credit reports with your spouse's. But records could appear on both of your credit reports if you open joint accounts, become an authorized user or co-sign a loan.
  • If you're planning to buy a home together, allow at least six months to save a down payment and reduce your debt relative to your income.
  • A dream wedding can mean a nightmare of credit card bills after the honeymoon. Discuss how much you can afford to spend and be creative about cutting back your budget.

Did you discuss your finances before getting married? Share your experiences.

Follow me on Twitter: @marciegeff.

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