What did your partner give you for Valentine’s Day – chocolates, roses, dinner in Paris, a 7p Asda Valentine’s card or copy of their credit file? Is it time for your love life and your finances to get a divorce?
It might seem unromantic, but this hard-headed approach is far preferable to getting left in financial trouble when your relationship sinks and your own credit record is damaged when your ex defaults on their debts.
If I were applying for joint credit, such as a mortgage, I’d definitely want to know about any financial skeletons in my partner’s closet. I might not want to see their actual credit report, but I’d definitely expect them to get a copy and share any problems with me. After all, once you have a joint account with someone, their credit behaviour impacts your own credit file for as long as the joint account exists.
Sharing your report with your Valentine’s
However, I’m actually starting to question whether I’d ever want to share all of my finances with that special someone. It’s perfectly possible for two people in love to split bills between them without pooling all their assets. I may fall head over heels in love, but it won’t lead me to hand over all of my cash in to a joint account.
A romantic dinner is one thing to share with your partner, a joint bank account is not. And if you’ve got a 50/50 chance of divorce somewhere down the line, you really don’t want your ex’s credit file hanging round your neck for years.
Of course, the way the mortgage market works means you may have no choice but to apply in joint names, with equal liability for the debt. In that case you need to know what you’re getting into before you sign the application form, so asking to see a credit file isn’t unromantic, it’s supremely pragmatic.
Maybe there’s an opening here for Asda to link up with a credit reference agency? It could develop a summary credit report to go with its oh-so-romantic 7p Valentine’s card (I’m not joking, this really does exist).
In the meantime, I’ll be keeping all my finances in my own name only.