Thea Fitz-James, an academic and theatre practitioner, has been trying to be more open about her finances. She’s actively chatting about salary and debt with her partner and peers, as a means of addressing her fears and hang ups about cash. about Fitz-James’ parents divorced when she was 7. Her early relationship to money was created by scarcity. When Fitz-James lost her father in her teens, she was left with an inheritance of roughly $100,000—a mix of insurance and RRSPs—that she couldn’t touch until her 20s. Dealing with grief coupled with the knowledge of the money caused internal tension that carried on as she started her post-secondary education.
“I had a lot of shame tied up with the inheritance,” said Fitz-James. “I had been using the money to fund my education and other arts projects despite the fact that I should have been buying, I don’t know, a house. It all felt kind of frivolous but it was my life. I consider myself independent and self-made. I never had a lot of money growing up. But then there is this blood money and if people know about it they treat me differently.”
Fitz-James was hesitant to share information about the inheritance with her long-term boyfriend. They never spoke of finances despite the fact that the two were almost engaged.
“With past partners we never spoke about cash because they had it and I didn’t,” said Fitz-James. “They ended up paying for everything because that was the gendered expectation. I had definitely taken advantage of being the poor girlfriend in the past.”
While talking about your finances can be difficult, not discussing money with your significant other can cause major problems in your relationship. Despite a third of romantic partnerships ending due to fights around finances, TD Bank’s 2019 Love and Money survey found that 27 percent of millennials were keeping a financial secret from a partner (though that number dropped significantly for Gen Z, who are at 8 percent).
Those secrets are rooted in concepts of financial infidelity: deception around cash. It ranges from things like hiding bank accounts and credit cards, to holding back information about debts, to making major purchases without consulting your partner.
“Often times a partner will hide a credit card bill or low score due to guilt or embarrassment,” relationship expert Rachel DeAlto said in the survey. “Yet when the debt comes to light it’s often not the debt that creates the conflict—it’s the secrecy.”
According to the survey, which polled 1,753 Americans who are married, in a committed relationship, or divorced, hiding credit card debt was the most common secret among millennials (at 48 percent). A gambling hobby (15 percent) and unpaid student loans (12 percent) took up the second and third spots.
“If you want to maintain trust with your partner, own it and create a plan to improve your financial situation,” said DeAlto.
While Fitz-James and her ex split up for other reasons, she’s tried to learn lessons from her past financial secrets. Being open about money in her current relationship has come with its own challenges, but for Fitz-James that kind of honest communication has brought her closer to her partner.
“So much of my emotional worth is caught up in my ability to save money,” said Fitz-James. “And I haven’t been that great about it. I’m trying to practice forgiveness and cultivate better habits.”
Crushing student loan debt
Playwright and journalist Frances Koncan’s significant student debt has kept her from starting relationships at all.
“My crushing, un-repayable student loan debt is between me and the credit collectors only,” said Koncan. “I don’t have any money, but money is so important that I’ll fake it almost at any cost.”
Koncan says that her student loan debt is still around $30,000 after years of trying to pay things off. Getting too comfortable with anyone would mean having to reveal the fact she has money issues. She fears those issues somehow limit her worth as a human. It has been an impediment for dating.
“I’m very independent and it’s always been a priority to establish my career and finances as an independent person,” said Koncan. “Now that I’ve mostly done that, I’m starting to be more open to long-term commitments and planning for the future and it’s terrifying…I’m worried about how an income disparity may impact balance in a relationship and I’m worried about ever having to financially rely on someone else.”
Koncan has internalized the notion that talking about money is inappropriate. While she now a stable career and notoriety in her field, the looming debt has carried forward to new stages in life including relationships. Sometimes this information feels heavy; other times she’s playfully nihilistic about the whole thing.
“Like I’m never gonna pay it off, so it’s Monopoly money. Who cares?” said Koncan.
For Annie—who preferred to use only her first name for this story— financial secrets kept from her during her teens have dramatically affected her adulthood.
At 18, Annie was part of an abusive relationship. Her boyfriend was a decade older and pushed Annie to open multiple credit cards he would immediately max out.
“Over the span of nine months he was abusive in several ways, including being financially abusive,” said Annie. “He racked up $60,000-$70,000 on my credit. I knew a little bit about the spending but didn’t know the full extent of what he had purchased.”
Annie’s ex-boyfriend promised he was coming into a windfall of cash that would immediately wipe all the debt he had accumulated under her name. In the meantime the debt from one credit card would be paid off with other lines of credit. The boyfriend made extravagant purchases like vehicles for himself and his family members without fully consulting Annie, pushing and pressuring her for bigger and bigger spending. She also trusted her partner with finances because she loved him. He wouldn’t do anything that would intentionally hurt her, she thought.
“He kept on promising me that this big cheque was coming in five months. Then five months would roll around and nothing would happen,” said Annie. “There was no money coming in. I was the only one working…I felt like he had so much control over me at the time.”
The situation only ended when Annie’s parents intervened, moving her away from the boyfriend, and into their home several states away. The massive debt accumulated by the boyfriend meant that Annie had to file for bankruptcy before the age of 20. It ruined her credit rating.
The consequences of that have kept Annie from many symbols of adulthood. She isn’t able to get a mortgage. Her finances have always needed to be separate in serious relationships. But more than either of those things the spectre of bankruptcy feels embarrassing and emotionally difficult, despite the fact it wasn’t Annie’s fault. In long-term relationships she wouldn’t speak of her bad credit or bankruptcy because she was afraid people would look down on her. She hopes that being open about her story will inspire others to recognize that abuse can take many different forms and that financial literacy is an extremely important skills.
“The incident happened when I was a teenager but still had a really huge impact on how I perceive financial health and my day-to-day life,” said Annie. “When you’re in an abusive relationship it can happen in so many different ways. I wish I hadn’t felt embarrassed about it for so long…but financial literacy around these things is also so important. I think one of the reasons he was able to take advantage of me in the beginning is because I didn’t know how any of it worked. Knowing lets you protect yourself a bit better.”
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What To Do When You’re Rejected For A Mobile Phone Contract
By Harriet Meyer
Many mobile phone contracts don’t require you to pay a penny upfront – even for the latest smartphone. Instead, you commit to regular payments over, say, 18 or 24 months.
But, just like other credit applications, such as for a mortgage or loan, you could be rejected for a mobile phone contract if you have a bad credit rating.
Here, we consider why you might find yourself in this frustrating position and – most importantly – what you can do about it.
Why was my contract application rejected?
It’s usually the first question on everyone’s lips when they have been turned down for credit. And the answer is that, essentially, the provider has checked your credit report and determined that you’re a high-risk customer who may fail to pay off your debt.
Providers use the information on your credit file to assess your history of managing money. So, if you’re rejected, this could be for one of the following reasons, or a combination of these:
- A history of late or missed bill payments, causing providers to see you as financially stretched, or someone who struggles to manage money
- Holding an account in joint names with someone who has a poor credit history
- You’re not registered on the electoral roll, so a provider may not be able to verify your identity and address
- County Court Judgements (CCJs) against your name, or Individual Voluntary Agreements (IVAs) on your credit record, indicating that you could face financial trouble
- Lack of credit history – you need some history of making regular payments to build up your credit history, and show that you can manage regular debt payments.
How can I check my credit score?
If you genuinely have no idea why you have been rejected, it’s worth checking your credit report. This way, you can find out what the provider was looking at when it decided not to offer you a contract.
You can do this at one of the three main credit reference agencies – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion (formerly Callcredit). Experian offers a free service that enables you to sign up and check your credit score for a general overview. ClearScore is another free service that uses Equifax data.
The way credit scores are calculated varies between the different agencies, but they give providers an idea of how reliable you may be when you’re signing up for a contract.
What can I do if I’m rejected?
Remember that any financial contract is a commitment – so if you’re rejected, consider if it’s sensible to be signing up at all, particularly if you’re battling with other bills.
But whatever you do, avoid applying for a string of mobile phone contracts in the hope of being accepted. Each one will involve a credit search and leave a mark on your file, which could impact on your ability to get future credit, such as a mortgage.
The good news is there may be other options available which means you can still get a new phone or upgrade.
Find out more about your credit report with our guide.
Pay a deposit. The network provider may get around you having a poor credit history by asking you to pay an upfront deposit for the contract to offset any risk that you fail to make payments.
The amount of deposit will vary depending on your credit status, the package and the provider. You typically receive the deposit back once you’ve made several months’ worth of payments – typically ranging from three to 12 months.
Choose a SIM-only tariff. If you’re willing to buy a handset upfront, or already have an old phone you can use, you could opt for a pay monthly SIM-only deal. These are cheaper than full-blown contracts as you’re not receiving and paying for a phone as part of the deal.
You will still have a credit check, but you’ve got a greater chance of being accepted as payments are typically lower for these contracts, so there’s less risk for the provider.
Also, paying your monthly SIM-only bill on time will help show that you can sensibly manage a contract, which may boost your credit score over time.
Opt for a pay-as-you-go deal. If you want a phone for occasional use, then a pay-as-you-go deal might suit. Once you’ve bought a phone upfront, you pay for credit as and when needed. You won’t be tied into a contract, and will not be subject to a credit check.
Get a ‘bad credit’ contract. There are specialist companies which supply phone contracts to people with bad credit. You can do an online search to get an idea of what’s available, or speak to an adviser in a mobile phone store.
However, you may not be able to get the phone model you want, and your monthly payments may be substantially higher than for a standard contract. This is not an option to be taken lightly.
Check out family deals. You may want to ask a family member with a good credit rating to sign up to the contract. That’s if you’re opting for a family deal, when several lines may be connected to a single contract – but only one person pays the bill and undergoes a credit check.
Get a guarantor. Alternatively, you could ask someone to essentially guarantee your contract by co-signing it. But, of course, they must be comfortable being liable for any missed payments, thereby offsetting the risk for the network provider in case you default. Provided you make payments on time, this option can also gradually improve your credit rating.
Improve your credit score. To improve your chances of being accepted for a mobile phone contract or any other form of credit in the future, you can take time to improve your credit score by, for example:
- Registering on the electoral roll with your local authority
- Ensuring you don’t fall behind with monthly repayments on any bills (set up direct debits to pay them automatically)
- Sticking within your credit limit on any cards that you use and clearing the balances every month
- Check your credit report (see above) and if you find any errors, ask the agency to amend them with a ‘Notice of Correction’
Upstart vs. Sofi: Which Personal Loan Is Right for You?
Our goal here at Credible Operations, Inc., NMLS Number 1681276, referred to as “Credible” below, is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we do promote products from our partner lenders, all opinions are our own.
If you’re looking for a personal loan, you’ll likely come across Upstart and SoFi. Both companies offer flexible loans for a variety of purposes, but there are some differences to keep in mind when deciding between them.
Here’s a comparison of Upstart vs. SoFi to help you choose. Both Upstart and SoFi are Credible partners.
|Fixed rates||8.13% – 35.99% APR4||5.99% – 18.83% APR|
|Loan amount||$1,000 to $50,0005||$5,000 to $100,000|
|Loan terms||3 to 5 years4||2 to 7 years|
|Min. credit score||600
(in most states)
|Does not disclose|
|Time to fund||As soon as 1 – 3 business days6||3 business days|
|Origination fee||0% to 8% of loan amount||None|
|Income||$12,000||Check with lender|
|Residency||Available in all states except IA and WV||Available in all states except MS|
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Upstart personal loans
Founded by ex-Googlers, Upstart’s artificial intelligence platform fully automates 58% of its personal loans. It has originated $6.9 billion in loans and notably offers loans to those with less-than-perfect credit.
Upstart offers personal loans for a variety of uses — including debt consolidation loans, wedding loans, and more. You can borrow as little as $1,000 or as much as $50,000 and can expect fast loan funding.
Learn More: Personal Loan vs. Credit Card
- Lower minimum credit score: Upstart offers personal loans to borrowers with credit scores as low as 600. If you’re looking for bad credit personal loans or fair credit personal loans, Upstart could be a good choice.
- No prepayment penalties: You don’t have to worry about any fees if you pay off your loan early.
- Fast funding: If your application is accepted, you’ll likely get your money within just a few business days. In fact, Upstart says that 99% of applicants get their money after just one business day.
- Low minimum borrowing amount: You can borrow as little as $1,000 with Upstart, which could be helpful if you only need a small loan.
- Lower maximum loan amount: With Upstart, you can only borrow up to $50,000. This could make it harder to fund larger debt consolidations or bigger home improvements.
- High origination fees: With Upstart, you might pay an origination fee of up to 8% of the loan amount.
- No options for visa holders: Upstart doesn’t offer personal loans for visa holders — you must have a Social Security number to borrow with this lender.
Check out our Upstart personal loans review to learn more.
SoFi personal loans
SoFi offers a variety of financial products, including credit card consolidation loans and other types of personal loans. It also provides several perks to its members, such as unemployment protection, career coaching, and networking events.
With SoFi, you can borrow anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000. Plus, SoFi personal loans come with no fees.
Learn More: How Personal Loans Impact Your Credit Score
- Large loan amounts: You can borrow up to $100,000 in unsecured funds with SoFi. This can be useful for home improvement loans, wedding loans, and other large borrowing needs.
- Discounts available: If you sign up for autopay, you can get a discount on your SoFi personal loan. You might also qualify for a discount if you’re using other SoFi products.
- Member benefits and perks: As a SoFi member, you’ll have access to additional resources, including financial planning, career coaching, and networking events. SoFi also provides unemployment protection in case you lose your job.
- Options for visa holders: If you’re a visa holder without a Social Security number, you might still qualify for a SoFi personal loan.
- Higher credit score requirements: You’ll need good to excellent credit to qualify for a personal loan through SoFi. If you have poor or fair credit, you’ll likely need to consider other lenders.
- Higher minimum loan requirement: You’ll need to take out at least a $5,000 personal loan to borrow through SoFi. If you need a smaller loan, SoFi might not be the right choice for you.
- Longer funding time: SoFi personal loans typically take a few business days to fund. If you need a faster loan funding time, you might need to look elsewhere.
See our SoFi personal loans review for more details.
Choosing a lender for a personal loan
A personal loan could help you cover large or unexpected purchases. Before you borrow, it’s a good idea to shop around and consider as many lenders as possible to find a loan that fits your needs. Credible makes this easy — you can compare multiple lenders, like Upstart and SoFi, in two minutes.
Keep Reading: Where to Get a $10,000 Personal Loan
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