Most people don't like to talk about money — even with their spouses. But, if you don't open up to your partner about money, you could be opening up your marriage to trouble. "Ask anyone and they'll tell you that honesty and trust are the foundations of a successful relationship," says Elle Kaplan, finance expert and founder of LexION Capital. "It might not sound romantic initially, but much of this mutual faith is connected to your finances. Everything from wanting a child to retiring together requires not only emotional but also financial transparency."
Some money secrets are especially dangerous, too. Here are three that our experts say you should never keep from one another.
1. You've got debt.
You may not want to deal with your credit card or student loan debts, but keeping those big bills from your partner could hurt your relationship in addition to your pocketbook. "Debt with high interest rates will quickly snowball, and it can turn into a financial disaster if it's brought up too late," warns Kaplan. If you can discuss debt with your partner, though, he or she can help you create a plan to beat debt down. Plus, your partner could also help you "discern any bad habits that may be adding to the debt load instead of decreasing it," says Mary Beth Storjohann, finance expert and founder of Workable Wealth. "If you don't share these numbers, it becomes even harder to put full force towards tackling the debt."
2. How you feel about money — and why.
"Especially when you start to combine your finances, it's not just what you have that matters," warns Kaplan. What you think about your moolah matters too. "When you're setting new goals as a couple, having your financial attitudes aligned is imperative," she explains, and they can't be if you never reveal them to one another.
Beyond what you believe, you may also want to share your history with money. says Storjohann. "Sharing experiences you had with money while you were growing up, how your family handled money, and your most impactful money memories with each other will help you to understand where each of you is coming from when creating a joint plan for your money," she explains.
3. Your credit score.
A credit score may just be three little numbers, but it packs a big punch. "They can be a major roadblock for the most important purchases in your marriage," says Kaplan. Imagine how unhappy your spouse will be if they find out your score isn't high enough to qualify for a home mortgage only after you've found your dream home.
"While you may want to keep this number to yourself, the moment you try to apply for a joint auto loan or mortgage, the truth will come out and one of you could end up costing the two of you hundred if not thousands of dollars in additional interest," says Storjohann. The good news is that credit scores can improve with time and good financial habits. And your partner can help you figure out the habits that will boost yours even higher.