Marital Due-Diligence

Is the Honeymoon Already Over for Today's Newlyweds?

Many newlyweds are surprised by their spouse’s financial situation;
Credit scores are having an impact on their financial goals

New research from Experian reveals that many newlyweds are surprised by their spouse’s financial situation and that credit scores are having an impact on their financial goals. New research from Experian reveals that many newlyweds are surprised by their spouse’s financial situation and that credit scores are having an impact on their financial goals.

COSTA MESA, Calif., May 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Experian® recently surveyed newlyweds nationwide to see what role credit and finances play in establishing a life together and achieving long-term financial goals, such as buying a home. The results suggest financial discussions should take place before saying “I do.”

“Newlyweds were surprisingly unaware of their spouse’s financial situation before walking down the aisle,” said Rod Griffin, Director of Public Education at Experian. “For example, 40 percent of all respondents said they did not even know their spouse’s credit score before getting married. In addition, one in three newlyweds reported that their spouse’s spending habits are different than what they expected.”

The surprises do not stop there.

On average, newlywed respondents say they would spend more than $800 without telling their spouse, with men spending significantly more (an average of $1,259), while wives average only $383 before telling their spouse. In addition, 16 percent of respondents report having a secret financial account that their spouse does not know about (more men hide accounts).

Marital due-diligence?

While it seems conversations were not taking place prior to tying the knot, 80 percent of respondents said that credit scores were important. When asked what attributes were important in a spouse, 92 percent of survey respondents said financial responsibility.

“Credit impacts many aspects of building a life together,” said Griffin. “Couples should check their credit reports and scores and discuss them. Knowing these scores will help couples better plan for a future together and give them the opportunity to take steps to better manage their credit.”

According to the findings, the biggest financial goal for newlyweds is saving to buy a home but 32 percent say their spouse’s credit score has impacted the ability to secure a home loan. As a result, many couples may have to ask parents to cosign for them in order to qualify. In fact, 19 percent of respondents already have required a cosigner for a major purchase, such as a home, since getting married.

Newlyweds were surprisingly unaware of their spouse's financial situation before walking down the aisle

“Checking your credit score is simple,” explained Griffin. “We recommend initiating “Finance Fridays” with your spouse — setting aside time one Friday each month to check your bank accounts and credit cards – as well as your credit score and report – together. A useful resource for couples is Experian Credit TrackerSM*, which provides access to credit scores and reports, as well as credit monitoring services, so you can keep an eye on your joint finances.”

Other key findings:

Before getting married, many respondents also did not know:

  • Their spouse’s annual income (25 percent)
  • Their spouse’s long-term financial goals (31 percent)
  • The amount of their spouse’s student loan debt (31 percent)

Newlyweds major concerns about their finances:

  • More than half (56 percent) considered the impact of a spouse’s credit score before marriage
  • 39 percent say credit scores is a source of stress in their marriage.
  • Almost a fourth say developing a shared budget (23 percent)
  • 19 percent say not being able to pay off debt

Engaged? It may be time to ask your fiancé about his or her credit score and ensure you are prepared for the potential effects of the score on your future financial goals. For more information on credit and how your score can impact your finances, visit the Experian blog.

To hear real life couples talk about their credit, watch our videos here.

Want to know how credit compatible you and your partner are? Take our credit compatibility quiz.

 

 

*with a paid membership
About the survey
The online survey was conducted by Edelman Berland on behalf of Experian from January 21 – February 1, 2016, among 1,000 adults who have been newly married within the past year and who reside in the United States. This online survey is not based on a probability sample; therefore, no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact [email protected]
About Experian Consumer Services
Experian Consumer Services, a part of Experian, provides credit monitoring and other informational products, such as identity protection, to millions of consumers via the Internet. The organization enables consumers to monitor their credit reports online, check their FICO® Scores and protect against identity theft. Its products include Experian Credit Works and ProtectMyID®.
Experian Consumer Services has established integrated, co-branded relationships with leading online financial destinations that provide consumers with a broad range of comprehensive online financial products and information essential to managing one’s financial life. For more information, visit http://www.experian.com.
About Experian
We are the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to our clients around the world. We help businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making.
We also help people to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft. In 2015, we were named by Forbes magazine as one of the “World’s Most Innovative Companies.”
We employ approximately 17,000 people in 37 countries and our corporate headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.
Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended March 31, 2015, was US$4.8 billion.
To find out more about our company, please visit http://www.experianplc.com or watch our documentary, “Inside Experian.”
Experian and the Experian marks used herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Experian Information Solutions, Inc. Other product and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.