Avoid financial heartache this Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s day is just around the corner. And you know what that means: candle-light dinners, romantic water-side strolls, mouth-watering chocolates, exquisitely arranged bouquets and… your beloved’s outstanding debt?
At first you’ll be enamoured by that special someone’s talents and strengths but there will come a day when you have to face their flaws. And no, we’re not talking about letting one rip in the middle of a Netflix special, because we all do that.
What we’re talking about here is the possibility that your loved one has poor financial habits – habits that could get you into trouble if you’re not careful.
We have an easy-to-follow guide to help you avoid becoming an unwitting victim to your partner’s illicit financial rendezvouses, but we just wanted to take this opportunity to offer a few reminders – so that this Valentine’s Day, you’re not seduced into a lifetime of financial betrayal.
How to avoid financial betrayal
Let’s just jump right in. Here are some ways you can protect yourself from your partner’s poor financial habits:
Be wary of going guarantor.
Going guarantor on your partner’s loan means they don’t have the financial capability or credit health to get the loan themselves. Instead, they need to leverage your good financial standing. If they default, it’s on you. No ifs, ands or buts.
Pay attention to your joint credit accounts.
In most cases, you’ll be just as responsible as your partner for any debts accrued on accounts you hold together. If they run up a huge bill on luxury bags or huge nights out with the boys, the lender and/or debt collections agencies can come after you.
Check your statement regularly and if you see dodgy transactions, talk to your partner about your concerns. Seek couples counselling if necessary.
You should also check your credit score to see what, if any, your partner’s financial habits are having on your score.
Seek legal advice
In the event of a divorce or separation, the combined debts that you and your partner accrued during the relationship will get deducted from the overall joint asset pool.
This includes debt from joint credit accounts AND credit accounts in each of your individual names. So if your partner ran up gargantuan debts, you’ll end up with fewer assets when it’s all said and done – even if you weren’t aware of the debts at all.
However, there may be a remedy. If you can prove to a court that your partner accrued these debts without your knowledge and it’s clear the debts were of sole benefit to your partner, you may be able to get a court order removing these unscrupulous debts from the asset pool.
We don’t want to put a damper on your Valentine’s Day, since it’s meant to be a celebration of the love and respect between you and your partner. But it’s also a time when we’re too quick to don those rose-coloured glasses that hinder our ability to see the whole person we’re dining with.
So by all means, enjoy your romantic day. Feast on that gourmet Italian cuisine, fine wine and luxury chocolates. Just make sure the one who is footing the bill can actually pay it off – or it could foreshadow a lifetime of financial heartache.