Credit Scores: A Predictor of Reltionship Success?

Apparently, the Federal Reserve does more than set interest rates. This week I learned that they recently released a study on how credit scores predict the success or failure of romantic relationships.

Here are the major findings of the study (just in case you don’t want to read all 57 pages):

The research  shows:

  • The higher your FICO score, the more likely you and your mate are to stay together.
  • The greater the mismatch between credit scores, the more likely a marriage is to break up in the first five years. Credit scores predict future spending habits. Couples with significantly different spending habits and levels of self-restraint are likely to face challenges in managing household finances together.

The bottom line is people want to be in a relationship with a responsible partner, so paying your bills on time is sexy. In fact, more than three out of four Americans in committed relationships prefer a partner who is good with money over one who is good looking, according to a study done on behalf of Citigroup. You may have wanted to date a perfect 10 when you were younger, but these days, perfect is more like an 800. 🙂

Dating based on credit scores seems “unromantic” to me. Are we giving too much weight to these little three digit numbers?

Are we giving credit scores too much…credit?

Unfortunately, credit scores are one of the only indicators we have of financial responsibility. The stakes are high. The divorce rate in the United States is around 50%, and financial stress is the #1 cause of divorce. This is a concern to financial planners like us because nothing kills a financial plan like one spouse walking away with half of the assets. For more on how that works, read our article Divorce – It’s Impact On Your Financial Plan. You could always try to protect your assets with a Prenuptial Agreement, but a better idea would be to marry someone you are compatible with in the first place. That brings us back to credit scores.

Banks, landlords, insurance companies, and employers use your credit score to judge your character and decide whether they want to have a “relationship” with you. People in banking have said that they see definite similarities in character among people with similar credit scores. This all makes sense, but I am still trying to figure out a smooth way to say, “I really like you, but in order to continue this relationship, I need a copy of your credit report.” Talk about awkward moments. Yikes!

Dating websites based on credit scores?

The Feds research gave me an idea. How about a dating site based on your credit score? Too bad; it’s already been done:, which claims to have 35,000 members and growing.

What if you have bad credit? Don’t beat yourself up. Not everyone with a poor credit rating is irresponsible. There are circumstances beyond one’s control such as medical issues, which are responsible for almost 50% of personal bankruptcies. In addition, many credit reports contain errors. Nevertheless, if you have poor credit, relationship experts recommend owning up to it and discussing it with your romantic partner. Tell your partner how you plan to fix it. Marrying someone with poor credit will not affect your own credit score since credit scores are always kept separate. However, a spouse with poor credit could affect your ability to borrow if both names are going to be on the mortgage or car loan.

Thoughts on this topic? Send us an email.