"Show Me the Money!" Credit Scores and the Modern Dating Scene
By Jeany Miller
What's Your Sign, What's Your Credit Score?
On the first “first” date I’ve had in quite a while, my partner and I touched on several different subjects. We discussed mutual acquaintances, jobs, and our families. Finances and credit scores, however, never even entered my mind, and I don’t believe they did his, either, because those topics are usually reserved for much later in the relationship. Apparently, our avoidance of these issues makes us atypical in today's dating scene. The new trend among daters is to ask about credit scores on the very first date.
While this may seem more than a little abrupt, perhaps even rude, many people now want to know about a person’s finances before taking the trouble of falling in love and then finding out the truth. It’s not unlike learning of where a bomb will detonate prior to actual explosion itself. Some call this smart dating, while others find it simply unromantic.
But as The New York Times reports, “The credit score, once a little-known metric derived from a complex formula that incorporates outstanding debt and payment histories, has become an increasingly important number used to bestow credit, determine housing and even distinguish between job candidates.”
Falling in Love with the Financials
In keeping with this new dating trend, several websites have are now aimed toward singles who are looking for lovers with clean credit. And yes, young people are now casually asking personal questions about a potential partner's credit score as early as the first date. For these individuals, a low score can ground a relationship before it even takes off, while a higher one can send it soaring.
Many people feel that this isn't a fair method of gauging someone's financial responsibility, much less their potential as a mate. Low credit scores are often the result of matters beyond our control (downsizing, housing issues, recession, etc.), and they take an excruciatingly long time to repair.
The Impact of a Poor Credit Score
Individuals who value a quality credit score expect others to follow suit - not because a fulfilling relationship should necessarily bring financial reward along with it, but because poor credit scores can affect every aspect of a romantic relationship. People looking for a high credit score are searching for anything above 750, with anything below 650 considered a deal breaker. Lower credit scores lead to high interest rates, difficulty with apartment applications, and increased insurance rates. Despite the fact that many states no longer allow certain employers to perform a credit check for potential employees, most still do, and this could obviously prevent professional success, which, in turn, could affect your love life.
Experts say you can take one of three approaches when answering questions about your credit score. These approaches boil down to whether or not you even know that number. (Hint: if you don't the person asking the question probably isn't the one for you.) The first approach would to respond truthfully and deal with the consequences. The second is to express your indignance at being asked such a personal question. And the third and final would be to lie in order to determine the potential of the relationship regardless of the financials.