Can Your Credit Score Help You Find Your Soul Mate?
February 11, 2016 | Your Finances
As we all tragically know, Romeo never had the chance to prove that his love for Juliet would last forever. If a recent study on creditworthiness and relationships is any indication, however, a quick check of his credit score might have told us.
Conducted by the Federal Reserve, the study reviewed the credit profiles of thousands of couples over the course of more than a decade. Findings revealed some interesting facts about couples and credit scores. Among them:
1. Individuals with higher credit scores are more likely to remain in a relationship. According to the study, people who pay their debts on time and handle their credit obligations responsibly are more likely to take their relationships seriously. They’re also seen as more trustworthy.
2. Those with similar credit scores tend to find each other. Individuals with similar socioeconomic backgrounds travel in the same circles, which leads to couples whose scores tend to fall within similar ranges.
3. Couples with large gaps between credit scores are more likely to break up. If one individual’s score is significantly lower than the other’s, it’s likely that the differences in attitudes toward credit and debt will cause a permanent rift in the relationship.
According to the New York Times, the credit score is one of the hottest new criteria used to determine compatibility. A piece by Reuters takes it one step further, asserting that a high credit score is a turn-on. Even dating sites, such as OkCupid.com, encourage members to add a credit score to their profile.
One matchmaking site, CreditScoreDating.com, puts creditworthiness at the center of relationship building. Niem Green, the site’s founder, launched CreditScoreDating.com in 2006 while he was employed full time as a bank underwriter. He realized that what he was doing—matching borrowers based on credit scores—might work with people, and he was determined to see if his hunch was right.
At first, membership consisted mostly of people in their 40s whose relationships had ended due to financial reasons. After the financial crisis of 2008, however, membership expanded, while their average age declined. As a result, Green eventually left his bank job in 2014 to develop the site full time. “I see CreditScoreDating.com as a service that meets the needs of concerned couples,” he says. Today, the site caters to more than 120,000 members, many of whom are in their 20s and 30s.
Which brings us to Amanda Abney and Devon Buchanon. The couple from Philadelphia met on CreditScoreDating.com in July of 2014 and were engaged just eight months later. In a few short weeks, they plan to marry, and they credit the site for paving the way for a whirlwind courtship.
“Our first conversation was about our credit scores and finances,” recalls Amanda. “No one was as shocked as I was at how quickly our relationship took off after that,” she said.
According to a study by a researcher at Kansas State University, arguments about money are by far a top predictor of divorce. So, the couple had already increased the odds that their relationship would be successful by discussing finances first.
Their talk revealed that their credit histories were similar, that each had made some mistakes early on, and that both were well on their way to re-establishing good credit. It may not seem like the most natural conversation for a first date. But the conversation felt right given how they met. “It made everything transparent,” says Abney. “Plus, it gets everything out in the open so you can deal with it.”
In some ways, dating based on credit score helps couples clear one of the toughest hurdles—the financial one—first. According to Abney, other matchmaking sites she tried left this aspect a mystery for her to solve, often with surprising or disappointing results.
Dating this way also eliminates the temptation to cyber snoop, which can erode trust early on in a relationship. “You can pretty much Google anyone these days to see if he or she has bad credit,” says Abney. “But CreditScoreDating.com gives each partner the same information.” This way, there are no secrets to hide or dance around.
Because their relationship started off with a conversation about money, it also opened the door to an ongoing dialogue on the topic. “It’s easy to talk about it now, and it helps us make decisions,” says Abney. “Once you have this, you can get into other parts of the relationship.”
Exchanging credit scores may not seem like the most sentimental way to start a relationship, but being up front about money and keeping an open dialogue can go a long way to determining whether you’re really compatible with your mate. And for a growing number of couples, that’s romantic enough.
Photo: Amanda Abney and Devon Buchanon