People are waiting longer to get married. According to the Census Bureau, the median age of a first marriage in 2010 was 28 for men and 26 for women. This means people also have time to accumulate more debt by the time they tie the knot.
It is likely that at least one partner will enter the marriage with significant debt. The average credit card debt per borrower is $4,679 (TransUnion). The average debt of student loans and financial aid for graduating seniors ranges from $20,000 to $25,000. These debts can cause significant stress on a couple before they even get to the rehearsal dinner.
The best way to avoid financial stress is to reveal these debts early in the marriage planning. It's not romantic and may be difficult, but it's not fair for your spouse to learn about these when the bills come in.
Getting married does not automatically make you responsible for debts incurred by your spouse before the marriage. Your partner's debt will not show up on your credit history as long as you aren't added to the accounts. However, the debt will still affect you when it comes to income and there is a lot less money to pay for other bills, to save, or to spend in ways that are much more enjoyable than debt payments.
Here are some financial tips for newlyweds:
Bill Hardekopf is CEO of LowCards.com, a site that simplifies the confusion of shopping for credit cards. It is a free, independent website that helps consumers easily compare credit cards in a variety of categories, such as lowest rates, rewards, rebates, balance transfers and lowest introductory rates. It also gives an unbiased ranking and review for each card.
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