This Is The Exact Time Romantic Partners Need To Share Their Credit Reports

Entering a new relationship brings a flood of exciting emotions and feelings. The joys of growing into a wonderful new partnership with someone you care deeply for are boundless. But there's more to a budding relationship than just the physical or emotional sides. In addition to the attraction you'll be fostering, you and your partner are sure to begin intermingling many of the routine facets of your lives. Whether it's running errands for each other or contemplating whose home to spend more time at more often, there are a lot of additional decisions that'll factor into a relationship that's gone past the early stages of getting to know one another; specifically, when it comes to financial decisions.

For years, Jason Tartick, a bestselling author, finance expert, and podcast host, has been working in the commingling arena of love and finances. Tartick is a specialist in the difficulties surrounding the sharing of financial information, such as credit reports, with a significant other. His new book, "Talk Money to Me," focuses on this theme of openness and honesty in finances. As Tartick explains, it's a good idea to get comfortable with these kinds of frank discussions. When you do, it doesn't have to be a hostile back and forth, but sincere conversation about financial circumstances is something that simply must happen between partners looking to take their relationship to the next level. But when should you do it? Tartick offers some sage wisdom on exactly when and how you should broach the topic.

Share credit reports before moving in together

Jason Tartick has offered his take on the economy (and why it may not be benefiting you) in prior conversations with us, and his recommendations on how to discuss credit histories is equally astute. For starters, Tartick says it should happen before marriage or even living together, noting that any couple "dealing with high financial infidelity" is also "dealing with many, many issues as it relates to money, arguments, and conversations. Adding, "We know that money transparency is a huge one there." Discussing money matters before moving in together allows couples to make sense of each other's strengths and weaknesses in the financial realm.

One partner is bound to have more money saved or sport a higher credit score than the other in a relationship, but this shouldn't act as kindling on a relationship's fire. Instead, it can start a healthy and rewarding conversation. Ahead of cohabitation makes sense for most couples because this step marks a major change toward increasing levels of seriousness. It offers a candid look into the financial priorities that you both share and can provide a roadmap for the future.

Said Tartick, "So, let's share credit reports before we move in together. Let's not shame our credit reports. Let's not blame or weaponize. Let's use it as a means to say, 'we are creating connection to our vulnerability, you are showing me yours, I am showing you mine, there is no winner here. A higher credit score does not mean you are the winner and you are better'."

Credit scores are important financial planning tools

Credit scores are an important financial tool that helps financial institutions and other lenders make sense of a person's capacity for repaying their obligations. It's an indicator of financial responsibility, but is by no means a perfect gauge for how someone will handle a new debt. Therefore, Jason Tartick offers some context for how couples should proceed after sharing this sensitive and highly personal information with one another: "There are people who have accumulated massive amounts of wealth that are absolutely exuberantly wealthy and have low credit scores. These are not indicators of your self-worth or who you are."

Instead, he said credit reports "... are just an understanding of, 'this is where I am, this is what my history looks like. I want you to be aware of it, let's compare it.'" Having all the information possible about the circumstances you find yourself in is crucial, regardless of the precise situation. Whether it's a new job you're interviewing for, or a sizable purchase, having all your facts straight can help you make intelligent decisions. The same is true when it comes to financial choices in coordination with your significant other. At the end of the day, however, credit scores and reports don't signify anything about the character of the person you've chosen to make a life with.

Understand each other's financial circumstances

Jason Tartick adds another nugget of detail regarding credit reports and cohabitation. He points out the fact that a credit score can play an outsized role in the kinds of financing offers that an individual might have access to. "We know that people with good credit and people with poor credit are paying astronomically different rates and interest for things," he said. "If you look at a $300,000 mortgage, which we know is below the average price in the United States, with good credit versus bad credit over a 30-year period, the person with bad credit is paying over $100,000 more in interest."

This translates into a potential hurdle for a partner with good credit who has chosen to entangle themselves with a partner with less-than-stellar financial indicators. The inverse is potentially at play when the roles are reversed. For partners who trust each other, and who can commit to complete transparency, this can create unique opportunities. Said Tartick, "Bad credit connects to more cash outflows. And so, getting together with your partner to be on the same page, to work together to improve, will overall increase both of your net worth and your success financially."

Combining your financial mettle can help create access to improved lending options. The partner with better credit, for example, may be able to help lift the other into a higher credit scoring bracket, and when lumping income, job status, and other assets together, both partners may gain increased value options for things like car loans and mortgages.