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Till debt do us part

Mon., March 6, 2017, 12:34 a.m.

Sure, his eyes are dreamy chocolate puddles. What’s his credit card balance?

Unromantic as it may sound, the debt both partners bring to your marriage will affect your relationship, not to mention your finances.

Debt and other financial challenges are among couples’ top causes of arguments and divorce.

Human nature may be stacked against us: Money savers are attracted to money spenders, and vice versa, researchers have found. Tension is inevitable.

But good communication and observation starting before marriage can prevent a lot of trouble, says Karen Richel, a financial counselor and financial literacy educator for University of Idaho Extension.

Richel suggests observing your beloved’s financial habits, asking them how much money they owe and to whom, and talking together about your shared financial goals.

If you live in Idaho or Washington, it’s also important to understand how “community property” laws affect the debts you each bring to the relationship. Spoiler alert: It depends a lot on whether you borrowed money before getting hitched or afterward.

To learn more about debt and marriage, go to STCU’s “My life, my money” blog at stcumoney.org.