I received an e-mail the other day that left me quite appalled. Apparently the Federal Reserve issued a new regulation in March that will stop spouses from using "household" income to apply for new credit. Under the new reg, which takes effect in October, credit issuers can only consider "individual income" when you apply for new credit or seek to up your current credit line.
That's right: if you stay-at-home and earn no income or work a lower-paying job (so you can have more flexible hours) to better care for your children, you can't get new credit! Yeah. Appalling. (Read more here: http://community.thebump.com/cs/ks/forums/thread/53028816.aspx?MsdVisit=1)
Your husband can co-sign for you, but really, that's a step back to 1950s America--and not in a good way.
Just because a person (man or woman, though it is still disproportionately women) chooses to stay home or work fewer hours so they can care for children, doesn't mean they have to be completely financially at the mercy of their spouse. While we all agree that they are relying on their spouse a lot when they choose this path, the federal government should not put those spouses further under the thumb of the primary breadwinner. It puts the final nail in the coffin of the spouse's opportunity to have some financial independence. Now, if a person is planning to leave their spouse, but wants to open a line of credit before hand, they need their spouse's permission to do it.
Even if a spouse doesn't mind co-signing, it's demeaning to require the other to ask this to get new credit.
We all know one key reason people stay in abusive relationships is a lack of financial independence. When the federal government comes in and says you can't get financial independence without the abuser's permission, that's wrong. And don't fool yourself, that's exactly what the government is saying when they require nonworking spouses to use "individual income" in order to get or extend their own credit.