DEAR BRUCE: About three years ago I lost my job when the economy fell apart, and I fell way behind in paying my bills. Now I am engaged to be married and feel that I need to postpone our wedding until I get my finances in check. I'm afraid my bad credit will affect my fiance. Should I be this worried? — Reader, via email

DEAR BRUCE: About three years ago I lost my job when the economy fell apart, and I fell way behind in paying my bills. Now I am engaged to be married and feel that I need to postpone our wedding until I get my finances in check. I'm afraid my bad credit will affect my fiance. Should I be this worried? — Reader, via email

DEAR READER: I would not postpone getting married because of your bad credit. I would, however, caution you to keep all of your accounts completely separate, including all of your accounts in your maiden name, so there is no room for confusion.

In terms of your social life, you would be "Mrs. John Smith," but you should legally remain "Mary Jane Jones" so there can be no confusing your bad credit with his excellent credit. You and he will have joint responsibility for any debts you incur once you are married. While you should be worried about getting your financial affairs in order, don't postpone your life. There is life after bad debt.

Send questions to bruce@brucewilliams.com or to Smart Money, P.O. Box 2095, Elfers, FL 34680.