M. Giant's
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011  

Credit Where it's Due

Trash and I have sometimes admitted that Phil and Claire Dunphy on Modern Family are exaggerated versions of us. Actually, she's the one who says they're us, while I'm the one who says it's exaggerated.

One area that's not exaggerated, however, is that she's the responsible one. I'm not quite as hopeless as Phil when it comes to getting some things done, but it's not uncommon for her to have to remind me to do occasional things like turn off the stove, put on clothes, breathe, etc.

Then there are things that she doesn't even bother involving me in, like paying the bills. We used to share that job: she'd organize the bills, write the checks, seal and stamp the envelopes, put the return address on them, and earn the money we'd use to pay them, and my half of the job was take them to the mailbox, a task I was able to successfully manage more than half the time. But ever since we switched to online bill pay, I don't even have to have that level of involvement. She could be handling all our finances in Amazon gift card codes and airline miles and I wouldn't have clue one. It's like she doesn't trust me to handle it, just because I got my first-ever checking account into such a hairball that my mom had to fix it for me six months after I opened it. Even though that was, like, five years ago.

But there are certain times when the family finances are inexorably brought to the attention of both partners, and one of them is when one of you buys a new car and the credit reports get pulled.

I wasn't at all surprised to learn that Trash's credit rating is very nearly perfect. She doesn't carry balances, manages debt responsibly, and pays everything on time except the stuff she pays early, which is most of it, except for the stuff she pays crazy-early. I think we're ahead on the mortgage for our next house.

What surprised us both is that my credit rating is even better.

So there we were in the finance office at the dealership, as she sputtered incoherently about how it makes no sense; all our finances are together, she's the one who pays the bills, and it's totally unfair.

"Maybe you should pay them better," I suggested.

So then the finance guy is focusing all his attention on his computer and trying not to laugh while I speculate, "My credit rating is probably higher because I'm a dude." Whereupon he points out that with married couples, the wife typically has the higher credit rating of the two.

"Way to blow the curve," I say to Trash.

Paperwork is being printed up, and I'm being shown where to sign, and Trash, who has been running all these conversations on her own for more than an hour, has to sit back and watch me sign the paperwork as the primary owner.

"Maybe when your credit rating is as good as mine you'll get to be the primary borrower," I say as she signs her name on the line under mine. But after all the works she's put in, she's still having trouble adjusting to the fact that this part of the process is about me, and looks like she's ready to accept the keys.

"No, no," I say, "you'll just lose them. Maybe if you had the kind of credit rating that proves you're as responsible as me, I'd let you hold them for a minute."

After the paperwork is all done, she drops the pen in her purse. "Did you just take the man's pen?" I ask. "You're so absent-minded. This is why your credit rating is shit compared to mine."

I do enjoy my new car. I'm also looking forward to the Modern Family episode where it turns out that Phil has a higher credit rating than Claire.

posted by M. Giant 8:25 PM 2 comments


Hah! Same thing in our family. I was extremely, extremely annoyed. It's because she has more activity, more accounts, more checks on her credit just because she's the one who does it.

By Anonymous Koleen, at November 16, 2011 at 11:58 AM  

I figured it had to be because she has more activity, although I still can't work out why that would lower your credit rating. Surely having activity that proves you can handle the credit responsibly should be better than having minimal activity that doesn't prove anything? Also not getting how checks on your credit rating lower it. Weird.

By Anonymous lsn, at November 21, 2011 at 12:45 AM  

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