How to Explain Your Bad Credit to Your Partner

How to Explain Your Bad Credit to Your Partner
GUIDE
Steven Tumulski
By: Steven Tumulski
Posted: July 16, 2013
BadCredit.org's popular "How-To" series is for those who seek to improve, rebuild or better understand their subprime credit rating.

If you have bad credit, then you’re already used to dealing with a number of challenges.

One you may never have expected is having to fess up about it to your partner. It’s especially difficult if your partner has good credit.

You might be tempted to just hide it all together. This is a huge mistake for a number of reasons:

  1. Your partner is likely to feel deceived, which has the potential to damage your relationship beyond repair.
  2. If you ever get married, your partner’s credit will be negatively affected.
  3. It’s also possible, in some states, to file for a divorce or annulment if you’ve misrepresented your credit worthiness before actually being wed.

With all of the risks, it only makes sense to share this information with your partner. But simply doing so might put the relationship at risk, which explains your hesitation.

The following is a step-by-step guide that will help you broach the subject in a way that virtually ensures it doesn’t ruin things between you and your partner.

1. Sit down with your spouse.

It’s really as simple as that. You’ll not only want to tell them about your bad credit, but you’ll want to tell them you have every intention and desire to improve the situation.

Once it’s out in the open, you can actually get started with the process of fixing things up.

While this is the first step of the process, it’s important you figure some things out before calling your partner into the room.

2. Figure out what habits caused the bad credit.

Do you have trouble remembering to pay your bills on time? Are you financially irresponsible, taking on debt you know you’ll never be able to repay?

Maybe you are just another casualty of the great recession and have yet to find work after being laid off.

Whatever the cause, it’s important you be honest with yourself. If you don’t pay your bills on time because you’re a procrastinator, don’t blame the problem on a layoff (even though that likely contributed to the problem).

Once you know why you’ve landed in this situation, you’ll be able to devise a plan to prevent it from happening again in the future.

“Once it’s out in the open, you

can  start fixing things.”

3. Devise a plan.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • If you procrastinate and forget to pay your bills on time, use your banks automatic bill pay feature to automate the process.
  • If you’ve taken on more debt than you could reasonably pay back, consider working with a debt consolidator to get the bill collectors off your back and make your payments more affordable. Then enroll in a credit counseling course so it doesn’t happen again in the future. The Department of Justice maintains a list of approved credit counseling agencies.
  • If your bad credit was caused by a layoff, it might also help to check with a debt consolidator. If things have gotten really bad, it may make sense to file for bankruptcy so you can start again with a clean slate. While there’s definitely a stigma associated with filing for bankruptcy, it exists exactly because of situations like yours.

In all cases, you’ll need to learn how to rebuild your credit.

4. Check for inaccuracies on your report.

While you may have made some mistakes, you certainly shouldn’t be paying the price for inaccuracies on your report.

Visit AnnualCreditReport.com and grab your free report from each of the three bureaus. Look through it thoroughly to identify any potential mistakes and take the necessary actions to have them removed.

5. Discuss the plan with your partner.

Whatever it is that caused the current situation, you’re going to need some help to ensure the plan proves successful.

The fact you’ve opened up to your partner about the situation should prove you’re serious about improving it. Hopefully your partner is as eager to correct it as you are.

6. Stay dedicated to rebuilding and maintaining good credit.

Once you’ve started the process, it’s important you stick with it. Even one missed payment can have a severe impact on your score.

Check your credit report annually to make sure things are improving. It’s possible to improve your score by 150 to 350 points in a single year by following a few simple tips.

Once you’ve earned your good credit, it’s important you maintain it. Thankfully, with the help of your partner, you should be able to continue practicing the habits that lead to good credit.

Photo source: visualphotos.com.