money management

3 joint credit card myths

joint credit card myths

Good morning loves.  Today we are chit chatting about love and credit cards.  I have a friend named Julie who just got engaged. Yep another 30 something year old woman is getting engaged and it’s not me.  As I sat across from her at lunch at our favourite Japanese restaurant she told me all about how her husband-to-be asked for her hand in marriage in a botanical garden.

They spent the day walking hand in hand through romantic gardens, Julie loves flowers. They stopped to grab some cold lemonade when her fiancé dropped his money while he was paying for their drinks.  As he got up instead of having change in his hand he had a diamond ring.  I swear that’s what happened…I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

What to do about joint credit cards when you get married

After I listened to Julie talk about what a surprise her engagement was and how excited she is to get married her tone suddenly changed.  Her face lost the smile and she asked “Now what do I do about money?”

This is a common conversation among my circle of friends.  As a financial planner I am the one my friends turn to for financial advice and finding out credit card myths.  However I rarely give my opinion because I don’t like to mix family and friends with money.  But that doesn’t stop them from asking.  All I can do is tell them the pros and cons of joint credit cards and let them make their own conclusions.

Don’t get fooled by these 3 joint credit card myths:

1. Only one person is responsible for the debt.  When it comes to joint credit cards many people think only the primary cardholder is responsible for repaying the debt.  This is not true.  A joint credit card means that each person is individually responsible to repay the debt in full.  Some people also think that each person is only responsible to repay half of the outstanding balance, once again this is not true.  At any time the credit card company can ask either credit card holder to repay the balance owing in full.

2. You don’t need to manage it together.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Joint credit cards have credit limits and it’s important to manage your spending wisely so each person in a couple is aware of what purchases are being charged on the credit card.  This helps avoid overspending and makes sure the monthly payments are manageable.  Could you think of anything more awful than having your credit card declined because your spouse is overspending? How embarrassing.

3. All purchases have to be used by both people. I know some couples who only use their joint credit cards to buy things that are used by both people in the couple.  But this doesn’t have to be the case. As long as both people understand they are responsible for the debt and you manage the spending together to make sure you can afford to pay off the balance each month it shouldn’t matter who is spending what on the joint credit card.  The key to merging your finances is to be open and honest about your spending.


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