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Finance and romance just don’t mix this Valentine’s Day

Pound sign in heart shaped card

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?

New research from Equifax reveals that one in four people would ask their partner to share their credit report before taking on new joint finance.

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.

Comments
Profile photo of Jo Gibney
Member

When my husband and I got together we did talk about financial things (maybe because both our farthers were accountants), including who owed what to who (or whom?). Before we moved in together (rented) I insisted we both get our statutory credit checks. (I think I wear the financial trousers.)

We did the same again before we applied for our mortgage. I was most put out to discover he had a perfect score and mine was only very good or good (the next level down). But then I did change my name after the wedding, which upset my credit rating for a while.

As for joint finances – we have a joint account for bills and food and living costs and put a set amount in each month, and have a set amount we save each month. But we have kept our own accounts and wages go into them, so what’s left is ours to do what we want, be it spend or top up the furniture fund!

I think if you’re planning to be in a long-term relationship with someone then you need to be able to talk about the serious stuff like money, wills and how brown you like your toast! 😉

Profile photo of Nikki Whiteman
Member

Unromantic though it is, one of my biggest concerns about settling down with a partner would be my mortgage – I already have a mortgage in my name and have heard horror stories about people losing the homes they’ve worked for when they split up with a partner. This is something that few people think about at the start of a relationship (“Oh, he/she wouldn’t try to get a share of my house when we split up, he/she knows it’s mine”) but towards the end it can be a real problem, especially if you’ve been living together for years.

As far as credit records go, I don’t think I’d mind too much about my partner’s credit history – I’m very much like Martyn in that all my finances are my own, and will stay that way!