Wife has horrible credit (sub 450). Where to start? (self.personalfinance)

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Basically what the title says. We are in the process of trying to figure out how bad it is (she has basically turned a blind eye to it, out of sight out of mind). But I know her credit score is sub 450.

Among some of the things contributing:

-Around $20000 unpaid student loans (in default)

-Around $5000 unpaid credit card debt

-Probably $3000 in unpaid bills

-Got a final warning on car payment (one month away from repo).

-Probably some others she has forgotten about

Luckily I have a good credit score (above 750) so usually I end up signing alone on items (all the credit cards are in my name, our cars are in my name). I'm afraid that when we go to buy a house, they will look at joint credit and give a terrible interest rate because of this. So any advice on where to start?

I've thought about getting myself credit card in her name so it will help her score when we pay it off every month (this debt is from before we met 10+ years ago and she has since become more responsible, but I still manage all our finances). Other thoughts, consolidate debts and begin making small payments, but I'm not sure where to begin.

I'm also afraid, since I'm currently paying student loans, adding her debt on top of it would put us underwater. Does it hurt to let the debt stagnate for the next 2 years while I pay mine off? Is bankruptcy an option at this point? What are the ramifications of this?

0 comments submitted at 07:27:40 on Apr 5, 2014 by Aerospacing_Out