Credit Scores and Committed Relationships: Your Love Match
The surprising link between lasting relationships and matching credit scores.
"If a woman considers credit score when determining whether she wants to go out with me, she's not a woman I want anything to do with." So said Reginal Augustus on the heals of a report that credit scores are becoming increasingly important on the dating scene.
"I'd probably laugh at someone if they asked me that on a first date," the longtime Reddit member added.
But someone's overall responsibility in life is a major attribute to consider when dating, and financial health is part of that. What's more, credit scores are concrete numbers, which gives us something objective to consider in our love life—we can leave feelings out of it.
User L.W. Rellim countered, "Gold digging is one thing. Making certain you're not getting involved with a financially irresponsible shopaholic (or debtaholic) is, IMHO, something entirely different."
Do you consider other people's credit when evaluating a love match? Are you upfront about your own?Search Anyone Free
Many a heartbroken person has lamented that they went into a relationship thinking only of love, following their heart and not necessarily their brain. Through rose-colored glasses, their mate looked great.
Warning signs go ignored: her extravagant spending, his repossessed truck, the dunning letters that both people brush off as some kind of glitch. "I'll handle it," they say. "Don't worry."
What does your credit score say about your suitability as a mate?
Many of the warning signs of irresponsible finances find their way onto a person's credit report and therefore drop a person's credit score. Lenders look at your credit score to gauge how likely you are to pay back a loan based on your documented financial habits.
If you have a romantic interest in someone, you would also do well to consider credit scores. Statistics prove that that the better your credit scores match, the longer your committed relationship survives.
Credit Scores and Committed Relationships
Such is the title of a report presented at an economic discussion series hosted by the Federal Reserve¹. The researchers found substantial evidence that committed relationships last longer when the partners' credit scores were closer in quality, even when controlling for other socioeconomic and demographic factors.
A close match in credit scores at the start of the relationship was found to be "highly predictive of subsequent separations," said the report. "This result arises, in part, because initial credit scores and match quality predict subsequent credit usage and financial distress."
Around 42% of adults say that knowing someone's credit score affects their willingness to date that person, according to a survey of 1,000 adults. Women were nearly three times as likely to rank credit score as a major influence than men were.
A person's winning qualities can shine so bright at the start of a relationship that they blind us to any financial red flags. Fast-forward a few months or years, and couples can spend more time arguing over money than over any other topic.
Conflict wears a relationship down. Also, in a couple, it is too easy to take out one's money frustrations on your partner.
Financial history can't be included in someone's background report due to privacy protections, but you can see a lot of other personal information about a potential mate on PeopleWhiz, the place for fascinating people searches.
Credit scores might reveal an individual's relationship skill and level of commitment.
"Credit scores and match quality appear predictive of subsequent separations . . ." said the report, "suggesting that credit scores reveal an individual's relationship skill and level of commitment."
What we learn is that matching credit scores are as important in a relationship as matching worldviews, political bents, social sensitivities, religious beliefs, and so on. Sure, differences can always be talked through, but each difference is a seed that could sprout into conflict and arguments.
Higher Credit Scores Going Into a Relationship Lead to Better Outcomes
The researchers focused on credit scores of matching quality and found that "individuals with higher credit scores are more likely to form committed relationships relative to other observably similar individuals" and that "couples with higher initial credit scores are more likely to maintain their committed relationships."
Are Mismatched Credit Scores Always a Problem?
In relationships where one person has demonstrable money smarts and good payment habits as reflected in a great credit score, a lot could be said for the ability of that person to teach money management to his or her mate and thus improve the mate's bad score. Two people's credit scores tend to converge the longer they are together, which is why the researchers focused on the credit scores at the time the relationship was formed.
While mismatched scores could predict separation in the first few years, the mismatch became "statistically insignificant during the fifth and sixth year of the relationship."
"Will marrying someone with bad credit affect my credit score?"
No, you and your spouse will continue to have separate scores. However, any debts you incur jointly will appear on both your credit reports.
Money Problems Are Marriage Problems
"A lot of marital problems are caused by lack of money," lawyer Laura Wasser told Esquire in the Winter 2018 issue. The magazine called her Hollywood's go-to divorce lawyer. She talked about the role money plays in relationships, starting with the first date. "I don't like stingy people. If I'm at a restaurant and my date doesn't tip well, it's a turnoff. I tip 20 percent at least. I waited tables, so I know how it feels."
From dating to the engagement to the prenup ("I think prenuptial agreements are a good idea because they force some transparency in terms of what the expectations are prior to marriage") to the wedding and years of marriage, Wasser sees money and committed relationships as intertwined. "Most relationships have a kind of financial element to them, even if people don't readily admit that or speak about it."
- Relationships last longer the more closely matched the credit scores are at the start.
- Couples with higher scores stay together longer than couples with lower scores.
- Mismatched credit scores become insignificant once a couple has reached the fifth or sixth year.