Whether you're planning a wedding or celebrating your anniversary, you know that compatibility is one of the keys to marital bliss. But many couples forget to make sure that they're also financially compatible, especially when it comes to credit cards.
Greg and Jessica of Fort Smith, Arkansas didn't make that mistake. They're planning to be married in August and will be off to a good start when it comes to credit card decisions. They took our quiz and scored within two points of each other and earned the Credit Card Savvy designation, which is our quiz's highest honor.
"It is not surprising that we are compatible with credit issues,says Jessica. We are determined to start our marriage on the right foot. We have taken financial counseling classes and educate ourselves often on the importance of being good stewards with our money."
When you start out that way, it really contributes to the financial health and longevity of your marriage. Scott and Rosalyn of Atlanta have been married for 28 years. They took the quiz and chose almost the exact same answers, also receiving Credit Card Savvy credentials.
Is it just a coincidence that Scott and Rosalyn are so in sync with their credit card philosophies? We had a lot of discussion on finances before we got married because I'd always read it was one of the things people fight the most about, says Rosalyn. A rule of thumb we have always followed is that if either of us wants to buy something over, say $300 (excluding groceries, of course), we discuss it with each other first.
Okay, grab your significant other and take our fun quiz. Be honest! Find out if you're Credit Card Savvy, a Credit Card Junkie, or Credit Card Clueless.
1. The role that credit cards play in your life:
a. You believe in using credit cards as a budgeting tool and/or for the rewards points.
b. You never met a credit card you didn't like (and didn't apply for).
c. You think carrying a balance is fine if you're buying things you really need.
2. When you receive your credit card statements you:
a. Make the minimum payments without looking at the charges.
b. Read it immediately, look at the charges, and pay the balance in full.
c. Feel sick to your stomach and hide it from your spouse.
3. You don't have the cash for a vacation this year, but you're under your credit limit on your favorite rewards card. You:
a. Stay home. No cash, no vacation.
b. Use the rewards card to get the points, but only if you know you can pay off the debt when the statement arrives.
c. No brainer. You're heading to the beach, baby!
d. Get a cash advance on the card so you don't have to worry about using credit cards. You're pretty sure you can pay it back later.
4. Hypothetical situation: You have $10,000 in credit card debt on various cards, some with high interest rates. Your strategy is:
a. Research cards that take balance transfers with a 0% introductory interest rate.
b. Secretly get a part-time job at Wal-Mart and tell your spouse you joined a bowling league.
c. Inquire about opening a new credit card account since you've reached the credit limits on the ones you have.
5. The big screen HDTV you've had your eye on is finally on sale and you'd like to buy it with your credit card that has a 0% introductory interest rate. Your first step is:
a. Hop in the car and go buy it. You're not sure when you can pay off the debt,but you deserve a new TV.
b. Discuss the expense with your spouse, but only as a courtesy, since nothing will stop you from buying this TV.
c. Have a meeting with your spouse and decide if you can pay off the debt before the interest rate goes up.
d. You'd never buy a TV on a credit card under any circumstances.
6. How long has it been since you checked your FICO score and your credit report?
a. What's a FICO score?
b. I checked both less than a year ago.
c. It's been way over a year.
7. Do you know how many cards you have and what the balances are?
a. You know exactly how many cards you have, the balances, and the interest rates for each one.
b. You know the rough estimate of your credit card debt, but not the exact amount.
c. You believe that ignorance is bliss and actively avoid the mailbox.
Scoring: Add up the points based on your answers. 1. a=3, b=1, c=2; 2. a=1, b=3, c=2; 3. a=3, b=3, c=2, d=1; 4. a=3, b=2, c=1; 5. a=1, b=2, c=3, d=3; 6. a=1, b=3, c=2; 7. a=3, b=2, c=1.
Your score is between 17-21: Credit Card Savvy: You've found a perfect balance in your financial life with your credit cards. You use credit responsibly and you use rewards points to your maximum advantage.
Your score is between 12-16: Credit Card Junkie: You're the thrill seeker of the credit card crowd. You don't worry if you carry a balance, because frankly, you want what you want. You're smart and you actually have an above average understanding of credit cards. You just have problems with self-discipline.
Your score is between 7-11: Credit Card Clueless: Step away from your credit cards! Take time to educate yourself about credit before you pile up so much debt you'll need a bulldozer to get out from under it.
What if you find out you're not credit card compatible? Can a Credit Card Savvy find wedded bliss with a Credit Card Junkie or a Credit Card Clueless? True love usually finds a way to compromise. But take advice from our couples. Have the credit card talk and get financial counseling before you say, I do.
And if you both scored Credit Card Clueless, well, technically you're compatible. But the goal should be for both of you to obtain Credit Card Savvy credentials. Make it a joint goal to become better acquainted with the way credit cards work and understand how much interest you're paying. If you don't, you'd better have a credit counselor on speed dial before you leave for your honeymoon!