“How you doin’?”
It’s ok. Go ahead and crack a little smile. You probably know exactly what I am referring to.
Thank you Joey Tribbiani for creating that ubiquitous introduction. ‘Tis the season, love is in the air, the store aisles are full of red and pink, and social gatherings everywhere are ringing with one “How you doin’?” after another. It is, after all, Valentine’s Day. Whether using it as an excuse to be spoiled or to pick up a quick date, people everywhere will be looking for their Valentine this week.
Ever tried it? Perhaps you don’t have that same tone that Joey does, but we all tend to ask the question of someone at some point in time. With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, you might be asking why Center For Financial Resources cares about Valentine’s Day. Maybe not the day itself, but we see “How you doin’?” as a little more inclusive that Joey probably did.
Most people want to find that special someone who has everything they are looking for. Perhaps it is a sense of humor, a high level of intelligence, certain physical traits, or perhaps they are just willing to say ‘yes’. More and more, a healthy credit history is a part of that ‘need to have’ list as people become more serious in their relationships.
Doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? For most, a credit history certainly isn’t as glamorous as other traits, but it can have longer lasting impact than some traits we regularly deem ‘important’. Here are some reasons why your “How you doin’?” needs mean “How you doin’ financially?”.
Beauty Fades, A Credit Report Doesn’t – They may be the most physically beautiful person in the world, but one weekend of gluttonous eating while laying in the sun for 48 hours straight and that beauty will probably be just a memory. Unfortunately, the overwhelming bills for the weekend won’t go away. Minimum credit card payments mean your weekend splurging may take the next 16-30 years to pay off. Miss a payment and that is on your record for the next seven years, 10 if you end up filing chapter 7 bankruptcy over it.
A simple financial mistake here and there can have a long lasting impact of your future endeavors. Is your Valentine someone who thinks about and plans for the future? Or are they one to strictly enjoy the ‘here and now’? One ‘off the chain’ weekend now may mean the two of you have to put off the purchase of your new dream home for the next couple of years.
Two Shall Become One – What do you and your Valentine want to do together? Careful – I’m thinking financially here. When you marry, your credit reports are often considered together. While you may have a stellar credit history, if your special someone has a less-than-special credit history, you may get turned down for a loan just the same. You may be able to apply without the other person’s credit report, but then you can’t use their income for qualifying either.
Finding that special someone with the special credit report may be a bit of a boon for you. Not only might it open up more credit opportunities for you if you have a slightly lower score, but the behavior that got them the higher score may rub off on you too. On top of using their credit, that better behavior may even increase your own credit score. How’s that for a gift that keeps on giving?
Didn’t Get That Raise? It’s Their Fault! – Who wouldn’t like to make more money? Better yet, who wouldn’t want their spouse to make more money so you could quit working and do whatever you want? Did you know that, depending on the job, potential and current employers may check your credit report and decided whether or not you get/keep the job based on your report? Did you know employers are even requiring they check your spouse’s credit report? Employers have realized that two people’s finances often become one when you become a single household and one spouse can have a great deal of influence on the other. If your spouse’s actions indicate they may be a bad influence on you, your employer may not trust you either.
With or Without Them – Unfortunately, some people will find themselves without their special someone. Whether divorce or death, you may find yourself without your true love. But you may not be done with them. Their financial habits may create debt that survives the death of your relationship or your partner. Are you willing to take on that possibility? Should things end, you may be down to just your own income (after getting turned down for the promotion because of your spouse’s credit report) and still have to pay half the debt their behaviors incurred. I don’t really like to see any relationship end, but if it does…..
I certainly don’t mean to rain on your Valentine’s Day parade. We will be celebrating it ourselves with a pizza picnic and movie in our living room. (Hey, it’s tradition and it doesn’t run up a big credit card bill.) Enjoy the day. Buy the flowers. Eat the chocolate. I hope you do find that special someone if you haven’t already. Just make sure to ask them “How you doin’?”.
If things aren’t financially stellar for either you or your ‘other’, here’s a date idea for you – schedule an appointment with one of our counselors. They can help get the two of you talking in a healthy way and headed in the same financial direction. Given the impact finances can have on life, it’s almost like relationship counseling. We have definitely had couples leave appointments in a much better place than when they came in.
Go out, have fun. Enjoy your Valentine’s Day. But remember, if you don’t bother asking them “How you doin’?”, you may quickly dating a Smelly Cat.
written by Breck Miller
image courtesy freedigitalphotos.net