Foundations for Strong Families 201. Where to Turn for Help

01/09/2009

In addition to marriage and relationship skills educators and financial educators, there are other financial tools that provide couples with options for improving their relationship with their partner and their credit. These tools include electronic payroll transfers, alternative credit scores, envelope budgeting, credit counseling, bankruptcy as well as programs to use credit to build assets, such as Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) and Marriage Development Accounts (which were discussed in Brief 1). Resources that can help address financial consequences brought on by family issues include help with child support payments and divorce mediation.

Other practical steps can make good financial practices the “default option” for couples. For example, direct deposit of earnings has been shown to lead to higher rates of savings.16 However, this option may be less available for employees who have lower wages or work less than full time. Secured credit cards are another example that can provide a training experience with credit. Automating the process of ordering a free credit report annually, thereby making receiving the report the default option, might also be helpful to couples.

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