Saving & Spending
Modern Romance: Finding a Partner With a Good Credit Score
How Sexy Is Your Credit Score?
Physical attraction is often the spark that ignites a relationship. But for some, there's another turn-on: a good credit score.
If you've recently been on a first date and found yourself wondering how your partner's financial fitness stacks up to yours, you're not alone. Some singles are recognizing the appeal of having a partner who's financially stable. Some dating sites use financial responsibility as one of the key factors in making matches.
Advocates of considering credit before romance say it's not necessarily about the bank balance, but rather about how reliable a potential partner is with saving and spending.
Smart Savers Seeking Same
If it sounds unsexy to base your romantic choice on a partner's credit score, consider this: Money, or lack of it, is generally cited as one of the top reasons relationships fail. In fact, a Kansas State University researcher found that couples who argued about money early in their relationships were at a greater risk for divorce.
“Debt is a deal breaker for many singles, and strong financial health is an aphrodisiac for both singles and those who are married," says Toni Coleman, a psychotherapist and relationship coach with a private practice in McLean, Virginia.
Coleman cites a 2013 Match.com survey that asked single adults, age 21 and older, about credit card debt. Of 5,500 individuals surveyed, 65 percent said they wouldn't date someone with credit card debt exceeding $5,000, while 54 percent wouldn't date someone with staggering student loans.
Of course, asking someone's credit score on the first date might derail prospects of a second date. If you're in the early stages of a relationship, Coleman suggests looking for these signs that may indicate a lack of financial responsibility:
- Your love interest can't afford the kinds of activities and pursuits you're into; money is often an issue.
- On dates, you shoulder most of the costs.
- Your love interest avoids discussion of where he or she lives, works, etc.
- He or she is behind on debt payments and doesn't seem concerned.
Coleman reminds that it's not about matching salaries, but matching goals.
“People might not be matched in terms of career paths, yet they may have very compatible lifestyle and financial goals and share a strong work ethic," she says. “It comes down to some very basic values regarding where they want to live and how important financial security is to them, as well as raising kids and how much they value and view hard work."
Falling For a Great Score
Wendi Roudybush, a Colorado mortgage broker, fell in love with a client — and his high credit score — 11 years ago. Of course, his “gorgeous smile and great personality," didn't hurt, she says, but Roudybush admits what really hooked her was his financial stability. “Would I have still fallen for him if his credit was lousy? Nope," Roudybush admits. “Good credit shows good character."
Roudybush and the man of her dreams have been married almost eight years. They're semi-retired now, thanks to a comfortable income from real estate investments.
Noré Di Biasi, a New Jersey-based marketing director at Independent Financial Solutions, says she understands well the allure of good financial habits, but is quick to point out that having bad credit doesn't automatically equate to being a bad potential partner.
“Different circumstances [bring people] to have bad credit," Di Biasi says. “If the bad credit is an outcome of a failed business, divorce or illness, these are elements that are out of their control."
The operative word, though, is “control," she stresses. “If the bad credit is a result of reckless spending and careless investing, it would be a deal breaker."
Roudybush agrees. “I'd like to tell every young person I meet, 'If your partner does not take care of their own personal business, they'll never take proper care of you or any family you might create.' "
For more tips and resources on mastering your finances, visit chase.com/financialfitness.
Barbara Bellesi is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in BELLA magazine, AOL, Yahoo, Staten Island Parent and other publications.