Buying A Car As A Newly Wed Couple
So you just got married and you’re looking to buy your first set of wheels as a new couple? Congratulations! The good news is, unlike marriage, a car isn’t a lifetime commitment. Unless you count tires, you don’t even need to buy a ring.
Getting a new car as a couple can be exiting – or expensive. Play it smart!
Lopsided Credit Histories? Go Solo on the Loan Application
If one of you has good credit and the other has not-so-good credit, put your best foot forward as a couple and let the stronger applicant apply for the loan on their own. Sure, you want to buy the car together, you’re likely paying for it with shared money and you want to see both names on the title and registration – just like the marriage certificate.
But unlike a marriage, auto loan interest rates rise when credit scores drop. A bad credit score will drag a good one down – unless you don’t apply as a couple. Put the money you save on monthly payments toward paying down bills and fixing the weak link’s credit.
Be Sure You’re Ready
This one takes a dose of honesty and introspection. You want to buy your first car as a couple, and that’s natural – but if you aren’t in good financial shape, do you need to buy a new car? If you have a car you’d like to replace, but it’s not an emergency, work to repair your credit first. As discussed in the article “Are You Ready for a Car Loan?,” bad loan terms often lead to missed payments, which leads to more bad credit, and a cycle of financial instability that can be difficult to break.
Consider a Credit Union
Although everyone from NASA to the Screen Actors Guild has a credit union exclusive to their organizations’ members, there are credit unions – like many federal credit unions – that just about anyone can join. Credit unions are non-profit organizations that usually demonstrate some community commitment. They often offer much lower rates and are sometimes willing to work with people with financial situations that would disqualify them from a traditional bank loan.
Credit unions often require a one-time fee, sometimes in the form of a donation to a charity, and/or a checking account or savings account opened with a nominal sum of money.
It’s natural for newlyweds to want a new (or used) car of their own for their first time as a married couple. But put finances before sentiment. Are both of you ready for a loan? Is a new car an immediate must? If the answer is yes, go for it! But know your credit history beforehand and check your reports for inaccuracies prior to negotiations – and give your local credit union a chance!
Andrew Lisa is a freelance auto writer. He covers insurance, highway safety and car buying.