This is the second in a three-part series exploring money and marriage. A recent survey found that debt can, at least temporarily, derail a couple’s plans to get married. We’ll talk to two couples who turned to Dupaco Community Credit Union to help tidy up their finances before tying the knot. Plus, we’ll offer financial advice for other soon-to-be married couples. To the bride and groom!
By the time you decide to spend the rest of your life with someone, you've probably learned a lot about that person.
Maybe you know what song always cheers her up when she's had a bad day. Or, maybe you know about that silly game-day ritual he insists on doing before his favorite team takes the field.
But what about your significant other's credit card debt? Or credit history?
A few months before their wedding, Michelle and Todd came to Dupaco with some important questions about their finances. They got some answers that surprised them.
The couple received a Money Makeover with the help of Jill Rothenberger, a lending consultant supervisor at Dupaco's JFK branch. Rothenberger walked them through the key areas of starting their shared finances off on the right foot.
"I don't know how you'd get married without getting a Money Makeover first," Michelle says. "You have to open your eyes to the financial side of things, too. You have to see how they handle their money, and if they save or not. You have to really think about whether you can spend the rest of your life with that person."
With their fast-approaching wedding, Michelle and Todd wanted to combine their financial accounts. They chose Dupaco because Todd was already a satisfied credit union member and Michelle was ready to leave her current financial. The couple wanted to get a better look at their joint financial picture – and find out how long it would take to make homeownership a reality.
Rothenberger pulled their credit reports and found some issues with Todd's credit. Besides getting some pointers on how to start repairing his credit, the couple learned more about their different approaches to money management through their open, honest discussions led by their financial coach.
"He didn't know how many student loans I had. He got to see them on paper and understand my debt a little better," Michelle says. "And we would have never found out about his bad credit had we not gone to Jill when we did. His credit would have kept getting worse."
Rothenberger also helped the couple create a new budget, determining exactly how much they needed to save for each regular payment – even uncovering hidden savings the couple now automatically adds to a Honeymoon Savings Account.
"They were very open to budget suggestions and were on the same page about where they wanted to be financially," Rothenberger says.
Approaching their two-year wedding anniversary, Michelle says that she and her husband still follow the budgeting advice they received during their Money Makeover. Not only that, but they have since purchased their first home as husband and wife.
By Emily Kittle