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Although Eric wants a wedding with 100 people tops, Anastasia has 95 people in her family alone—and refuses to leave anyone out. Anastasia thinks she can pull off the big day for about $20,000, but Eric would rather spend $5,000.

Suze has a big reality check for both of them. Based on prices where they live in Orange County, California, Suze estimates that Anastasia's dream wedding will cost $50,000 and the small wedding that Eric wants would cost about $20,000.

After determining the cost of Eric and Anastasia's wedding, Suze says it's time to check out their finances to see if they really can afford it. Anastasia and Eric take home $7,800 a month and have $7,700 in monthly expenses. Together, their credit card debt totals $16,000 and they owe $29,000 in student debt. Their emergency fund is worth $18,000.

Still, something doesn't compute for Suze. Anastasia originally told Suze she had $7,800 in student loans and owed only $6,000 in credit card debt. "I also went through your credit report, and you have $12,000 of credit card debt," Suze says. She also found Anastasia really has $21,000 more in student loan debt. It was a secret Anastasia hadn't told anyone—including Eric! "He found out this morning from the producer," Anastasia says.

Anastasia's low FICO score—the three-digit credit score that everyone has—is what tipped Suze off about her hidden debt. "What you have to understand, Eric, is that when the two of you get married, and you now go to apply for a loan—let's say to buy a car or a mortgage together—your interest rate that you will be given is going to be based on your wife's FICO scores," Suze says. "The lower our FICO score, the higher your interest rate. The higher your FICO score, the lower your interest rate."

Anastasia's FICO score was in the 500 range. "In today's economy, if you don't have a FICO score of above 700, you are not going to get a loan on any level," Suze says. "So I just thought you should know I have a saying, and the saying goes like this—Before you get involved in a relationship or anything, FICO first, then sex."
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FROM: Suze Orman: Can You Afford College, a Wedding, a Divorce?
Published on March 04, 2009
Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.

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