How Your Credit Score Can Help (or Hurt) Your Relationship

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Money is a source of stress for most if not all people, individually. Once you’re paired up, if money issues are not discussed or brought to the table at the beginning, it can easily overtake or completely cloud your relationship and eventually lead to its demise. In fact, Terri L. Orbuch, Ph.D., a professor of sociology at Oakland University, wrote in Psychology Today that her research on money and relationships shows that seven out of 10 couples report that money causes tension and is a present issue in their relationships. This may also be a reason why couples tend to avoid the topic entirely, especially in the earlier stages of a relationship. However, a recent study may make you want to bring up the issue of money sooner rather than later.

A study was conducted and published by the Federal Reserve Board that found an interesting correlation between your credit score and the likelihood of longevity in a relationship with your partner. You may have yet another reason to worry about your credit score number, if not just for acquiring a loan or being approved for a credit card. In the paper “Credit Scores and Committed Relationships,” economists Jane Dokko, Geng Li, and Jessica Hayes observed quarterly data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Consumer Credit Panel, utilizing information provided by Equifax that includes a “risk score” similar to what’s commonly known as a FICO measure or score, which is an individual’s probability of failing to meet credit obligations in the near future.

The economists noted that their results applied to couples in general, not only married or cohabiting couples. Their analysis centered around the initial match in credit scores and quality at the start of a committed relationship. But just to note: The trio’s analysis of couples in committed relationships was marked by the quarter that the individuals in the relationship moved in together, and per the requirements for the purposes of the study, the couples had to have been living together for a minimum of one year.

The economists discovered through their analysis something that dating sites such as Match.com or eHarmony leave out in their dimensions of compatibility and computer generated-based algorithms, which is that people with higher credit scores are not only more likely to be in a committed relationship, but they are in it for the long haul. Additionally, people tend to form relationships, perhaps subconsciously, with others who have a similar credit score to them, which the economists refer to as “underlying trustworthiness.” This has nothing to do with your actual credit score — it’s more so what your credit score represents.

In other words, an individual’s credit score is indicative of trustworthiness in general, and couples who have mismatched credit scores are more likely to see their relationship end due to other trust issues that have no relation whatsoever to their credit. Rather, it’s what the number represents on an arbitrary scale of relationship trust, so to speak. Thus, the economists hypothesize that when it comes to couples and their individual credit scores, the higher the number, the more “underlying trustworthiness” of an individual, an essential trait that both parties need to have in order to maintain a healthy relationship.

So, perhaps we’re all going about our relationships and means of dating the wrong way. Maybe we’re concentrating too much on the “spark” as an indicator of being in the right relationship, when we really should be comparing bank statements and credit scores in the never-ending search for compatibility and relationship success.

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