What if the cute member you’ve known for years - you helped her get a student loan, an auto loan and her first Visa card – comes into your branch with her boyfriend, ready to open up a joint account or get a mortgage together? Are you tempted to pull her aside and give her some good motherly financial advice?
If you aren’t tempted, you should be. While you don’t want to interfere in love’s true course, you also don’t want to see your members’ financial lives left in ruins if the relationship gets completely derailed.
As we approach Valentine’s Day on Monday, here are a few tips from Newsweek to share with your head-over-heels-in-love members:
- No co-signing for a loan! If the love-of-your-life needs you on their loan, that probably means they don’t make enough money to qualify or they have lousy credit. Either way, it’s hardly an ideal situation. And if they default on the loan, you’ll be stuck with it, whether or not you’re still together as a couple.
- Only pay the bills that have your name on them! Even if you make the most money, don’t be tempted to help out your partner. It’s much safer and smarter to maintain separate credit files. And remind yourself that it doesn’t mean you love him any less.
- Keep the in-laws out of your financial lives! And any aunts, cousins or siblings too. Even if they are the most wonderful people on the planet, this is a sure recipe for disaster should your relationship not turn out to be what you’d hoped.
- Don’t get a mortgage before you have a marriage license! There’s no sense rushing the American Dream. Buying a home together is probably the biggest financial commitment you’ll ever make. It should be entered into cautiously and advisedly.
- Hope for the best but plan for the worst! You don’t necessarily need a prenup, but it is smart to think about how you’ll handle your finances should you drift apart. Be smart and talk about a few of these things right at the beginning of your relationship: How will joint credit cards be treated? Who will be responsible for paying off jointly acquired debt? Who will get the couch? The dining room table?
Love is a many-splendored thing but the business of your finances has no place in your relationships.