Financial harmony is the key to a long-lasting marriage. Reports have shown that up to 39% of married couples end up in divorce due to the mismanagement of personal finances. This conflict can be avoided if both partners are informed about how their decisions affect not only their relationship but their couple's credit score as a whole.
Our primary goal is to give you the resources and information needed to help improve your marital, financial status. Healthy communications and marriage commitment are maintained when there are set boundaries and guidelines on each partner's spending habits. Understanding these techniques will strengthen marriage bonds and improve your financial success.
Here are the five tips that will be discussed in detail throughout the duration of this post.
- Don't Sign Joint Agreements
- Update tax info
- Change your Credit Card Names
- Checking tax brackets
- Make Adjustments to Your W-4
Surveys Relating To Marriage & Finance
First, it's important to know that money is an important aspect of your relationship.
In 2003, a survey was conducted to gauge the correlation between marriage happiness and financial standing. The study took a span of two years with over 161 subjects who have fully participated in the study.
This is a random convenience study where each of the couples and individuals was contacted through various sources. Meaning that the survey has no form of research bias due to the randomization of where the subjects were found.
Here is a table outlining the results of that survey.
Table 1. % of couples finding reasons of conflict as primary and secondary (N = 161).
As you can see from the table, finances is a major reason for relationship conflicts. Out of the 161 people that were surveyed, 39% of the participants believed it was their first reason for conflict while 54% saw it as their secondary reason. Because of this, it's important to keep your financial habits in check to maintain a healthy relationship.
How Can Marriage Impact Your Credit Score
Newlyweds tend to ask, "When you get married does your credit combine?" It's a common myth that marrying someone with bad credit will decrease their credit rating. Marrying someone does not instantly cause any chance within your financial scores.
Before marriage, you should see your partner's credit score as an indicator of their financial habits. While their bad credit rating might not affect your score, both of you can suffer if you both have a joint account. Their bad financial decisions will lead to both of you having damaged and bad credit scores.
And that leads onto our first tip.
Tip 1: Don't Sign Joint Agreements
Joint agreements are beneficial if both couples are already financially intelligent. But, things such as late payment fees, interest, and other negative financial factors might come into play if your spouse has a low credit score.
Keep your financial assets such as checking accounts separate from your partner. If a divorce occurs, you can keep your credit score unhindered. Make sure to limit the number of authorized users to your account to ensure that your finances stay in good condition.
Tip 2: Update Tax Info
Another question that often comes up is "Does getting married help your taxes?" The correct answer is "It depends."
When married, you do have the immediate benefit of getting higher tax returns each year. It's proven that married couples receive more deductions and benefits in comparison to people who file as an individual.
However, there are a few steps that must be taken to ensure that this process runs smoothly. You need to update you and your spouse's tax information to receive the most benefit.
To update your tax information, you first should notify Social Security Administration Report (SSAR) if there are any changes in your name. In most marriages, the wife usually changes her last name. Tell the Social Security Administration your name change so that it will match the next time you file the next tax return.
You'll also want to file in a Form SS-5 to apply for a new Social Security Card.
Tip 3: Change Your Credit Card Names
This tip is often overlooked. Here's how to change name on credit cards.
Name changes go for Credit Cards as well. Most credit agencies offer two different options for this step. Banks such as Wells Fargo allow you to change the credit name if both spouses can bring in proof of ID and a marriage license into the branch.
Alternatively, you'll have to visit your card account online and file a request. This might take up to a few weeks for it to go into effect. No matter which option is taken, you'll receive a new debit/credit card in your new name in less than a month. Change names on a credit card to prevent any tax issues in the long run.
Tip 4: Checking Tax Brackets
Since you and your spouse will be filing jointly, it's important to know what tax bracket you both are in. Based on your income, you'll fall into one of the 7 brackets: 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35%, or 39.6%. The higher the income, the higher tax bracket you'll be placed in.
Here are the 2016 tax brackets for married couples filing jointly and separately.
$0 to $18,550
$0 to $9,275
$18,551 to $75,300
$9,276 to $37,650
$75,301 to $151,900
$37,651 to $75,950
$151,901 to $231,450
$75,951 to $115,725
$231,451 to $413,350
$115,726 to $206,675
$413,351 to $466,950
$206,676 to $233,475
$466,951 or more
$233,476 or more
After reading the table, check to see which tax bracket you are in. Inspect both you and your partner's yearly salary to determine how much you both make annually. After that, you'll want to move to our last step in preserving your credit.
Tip 5: Make Adjustments To Your W-4
Your employer is legally inclined to give you a Form W-4 when hired. But, it's up to you to change the form over time. W-4 deals with tax withholding and helps the employer know how much tax they must withhold their employees.
Located on the form is a series of "allowances" that can change the amount of tax withholding you'll receive. As a rule of thumb, more allowances you write down in your W-4, the fewer taxes your employer will withhold from your check. Fewer allowances will lead to more taxes being withheld.
To make adjustments, complete a Form W-4 and send it to your employer. Be sure to notify and write any changes in names, addresses, or any other personal information that's listed on the form. Compare the number of allowances you made in previous years to the new set of allowances you'll receive after your marriage.
To increase the amount of money you'll gain (more money withheld), decrease the number of allowances you are making. On the contrary, if you want a smaller tax return (less money withheld) increase the number of allowances. Thus, taking track of your allowances is a surefire way to get the most out of your tax returns by the end of the year.
Having a financially intelligent relation is key to having a long-lasting marriage. By taking these five tips, you and your partner will have increased credit scores, better tax returns, and a better financial standing. Follow these tips if you want to maintain your relationship's finances more effectively.
Leave a comment below if you or your partner have any tips to improve your credit rating.