The Credit Downgrade: Fewer Splurges, More Stress For Couples

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Experts tell us how to protect our love lives from the financial effects of the credit downgrade.

"It's quite likely that the ripple effects will result in making it more difficult or expensive to buy things on credit—from rings, to cars, to your first home and its furnishings," she says. "Couples will have to re-examine what's really important to them."

So, if interest rates rise and couples have to reassess their spending, how do they work through it together? Evans suggests sitting down and separating "wants" from "needs" as a pair.

"The first question I teach my clients to ask themselves is, 'Is this a want or a need?'" Evans says. "Some other questions to ask when making a decision about a purchase: 'Is there a less expensive alternative that would meet my needs?', 'Do I really want this or is this about something else, and is there another way I could satisfy the underlying need?' and 'Does this align with my larger goals?'"

As couples strategize what to spend on and what to save up for, Evans warns against taking the "one-time splurge" approach. One fabulous, romantic getaway might be great for a week, but it could get you into long-term trouble for years. Community: Getting Out Of Debt Together

"It's easy to justify a 'just this once, this is my honeymoon' attitude when you're planning the trip of your lifetime," she says. "However, putting vacations and travel expenses on credit cards is one of the most common things I see driving people's debt. And once the debt cycle begins, it's much easier to continue the cycle than it is to break it."

And considering the unpredictable economic age in which we live, Evans even throws out an idea for couples about to walk down the aisle.

"If you are planning marriage vows, why not include a vow not to debt?" she asks. "Why subject yourself and your relationship to additional stress and frustration by adding a layer of fog and confusion that comes with the burden of carrying debt from credit cards and lines of credit?" 

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