Should I Ask Someone For Their Credit Score Before Getting Into A Serious Relationship?

Average Credit Score By Age ChartA very good friend of mine will only marry a woman with at least a Master’s degree from a top 25 school. Given less than 10% of the western world has a Master’s degree, it’s kind of curious why he’d want to limit his pool of mates given he’s still single at 35 years old. The answer is that he has a Doctorate in Medicine from Columbia and a cardiology fellowship from Cornell.

As any good friend should, I’ve made fun of him for years for being so picky. He’d always retort, “Look Sam, I’m a catch! If a woman wants to date me, they’ve got to be up to snuff.” He’s hilarious and I love him for it! I could never quite understand his insistence for a highly educated woman until I finally got an 805 on my credit score this summer. (How To Improve Your Credit Score To 800+)

The difference between an 805 credit score and a 770 credit score is negligible. You still get the best rates by lending institutions who gladly open up their coffers. But to go from a high 700s level to over 800 takes years. The process feels like plate tectonics where land moves only one inch a year. So being the very honest person that I am, I suddenly started thinking questions such as:

“Should I figure out someone’s credit score before I marry them?” 

“Should I set a minimum credit score limit for a woman I plan on dating?”

“Should I raise my minimum credit score hurdle rate for prospective tenants to 760 from 720?”

“Can I fully trust someone with my financials if s/he has under a 700 credit score?”

“Will TransUnion send me a framed copy of my credit score if I ask?”

I’m suddenly an arrogant bastard! I went through some very similar thoughts after I finished business school as well. Suddenly, everybody without an MBA didn’t seem as smart, especially my bosses who just had undergraduate degrees and not even CFA designations. Despite my more experienced bosses bringing in more revenue to the firm, I mentally discounted their achievements. The air of superiority only lasted for a couple months before I returned to a normal cog in the wheel. (Should I Get An MBA To Find A Wealthy Husband Or Wife?)

The more you achieve, the higher your expectations of others. I kind of feel sorry for children of very wealthy parents, brilliant entrepreneurs, celebrities, or double PhDs.

EVERYTHING IS A SCREENING MECHANISM

Colleges want to know your SAT or ACT scores because higher scores have demonstrated some correlation with intelligence. Employers want to know your GPA because higher grades correlate with stronger work ethic. Parents want to know what their daughter’s boyfriend does before they give him their blessing for marriage. So is it not perfectly logical that if you plan on spending the rest of your life with someone that couples should know each other’s credit scores? I think so.

Marriage is as much about about love as it is about financial union. The credit score is a culmination of years of financial responsibility or lack thereof. A credit score highlights all your outstanding balances, the number of open accounts, the number of late or non payments, and the type of credit lines each person has. If you are a reckless spender there is no escaping your past.

Everybody makes financial mistakes at one point or another. In fact, I’d be a little bit worried if someone never spent more than they made or never missed a payment or went through financial hardship at some point in their lives. Financial hardship is what makes all of us more fiscally responsible individuals. I would much rather have someone go through financial hardship, learn her lessons, and make progress towards improvement than never experience anything bad.

When I was interviewing recent college graduates for a position that paid over $100,000 a year, I was very wary of the perfect 4.0 GPA students. Of course they worked hard and were smart. But I was much more interested in hearing about how they failed and overcame adversity, because Wall Street is a brutal business where only the strong survive. Those with 3.5 GPAs (B+) turned out to be much better colleagues who were much more appreciative of their opportunities than those who had 4.0s.

With so many choices in everything we do, it’s only natural to use various metrics in order to screen for what we want.

SHOULD YOU ASK SOMEONE’S CREDIT SCORE BEFORE GETTING SERIOUS?

I’ve never asked for someone’s credit score and I’m not sure I ever will until after a long courtship. It’s the same thing with a prenuptial agreement. I probably should know my future mate’s credit score and draw up a prenuptial agreement given half of marriages end in divorce, but I’m a hopeless romantic who believes everything will turn out alright in the end.

The credit score is becoming a much more important financial criteria over the past decade due to all the financial disasters that have taken place. Employers are much critical in hiring due to the exorbitant costs of letting people go during downturns. Is there any wonder why freelance work and temp agencies have boomed? Lending institutions have been burned from the housing crisis, needing multi-trillion dollar bailouts to keep the afloat. Meanwhile, married couples have seen their finances go to hell in a hand basket because of poor spending habits and bad investments by one or both.

I hope everybody develops a level of comfortability with each other to openly share their credit history and credit score before joining forces. Even if your credit score is horrible, at least be on the same page so that both of your finances can improve.

You can check your latest credit score via TransUnion for free here.

Readers, have you ever asked another person’s credit score? Is asking someone’s credit score harder than asking someone’s salary? Should we be more open about our credit history before getting married? Do you know what your partner’s credit score is?

Regards,

Sam

 

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

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Comments

  1. Ace says

    Sam, you are an interesting blogger!

    I guess the real question is: do you want to get married?

    I’m presuming that you would like a traditional wife (maybe this assumption is wrong?); and you currently reside in a rather challenging dating environment.

      • Ace says

        Maybe this is bad terminology, but anyway; you mentioned in an earlier post that you were/are interested in starting a family. So you are likely looking for a woman more family/children focused, rather than career focused (it is not an either/or thing)? In my term: a traditional wife.

        So, since this is a finance blog: I recommend school teachers be part of your dating pool (and maybe your doctor friend). School teachers have a high level of education, usually have pensions, and most of the time, know how to deal with children. How’s that?

        Sam, you live in a really economically distressed state (although, it is starting to recover), and many residents are hurting badly. I would think it is rather common to meet people whom have been through foreclosure. These are most likely, normally responsible folks, whom were caught up in the real estate collapse, perhaps were unemployed for a period, had cars repossessed, etc.

        I’m always amazed by the level of homelessness in California cities. You just don’t see that to such a degree in the rest of the country.

        • Grace says

          I heard a lot of millionaires actually DO end up marrying teachers for that reason. Teachers tend to be good mothers and have spare time to raise their kids.

          Also, I thought Sam was married?

    • skylimit says

      Credit score is not an accurate measure of how a person will be in a relationship, the personality, or how compatible you’ll be with them.

      You don’t know the reason of the low credit score or debt.

      You don’t know all the lessons that person has learned.

      It’s risky and narrow-minded to use it as a “metric”

  2. says

    “Will TransUnion send me a framed copy of my credit score if I ask?” – This had me laughing Sam!

    As for asking for the score, I would hope through your courtship of said prospective spouse, that you would learn to understand their financial habits and know how they handle money. I’m a big believer in financial honesty with a spouse and absolutely knew my fiancée’s full financial picture before proposing. Did I know her exact credit score, no. But I know how she spent her money, saved her money, and invested her money. There was absolutely no reason for me to propose if we weren’t on the same page or found acceptable compromises.

    Lastly, I completely agree with you on the 4.0 students. Personally I’d much rather take someone with a blemish or two.

    Oh and… no Debbie-downer tax consequences for this post! ;)

    • Grace says

      I agree with you that it is better to observe how your intended spouse behaves. See how they spend money. You can generally get a good idea if they are good with money from their behaviors. Maybe after you have known them for a while, they would be willing to share their FICO. Or, actually, if they have really good FICO maybe they would even brag about it. It might be considered rude to ask someone on a first date what’s your SCORE? lol

      Also, my company has a lot of 4.0 students. I agree also with the assessment that the 3.5+ ers are usually harder working. The 4.0 ers have learned how to game the system and do the minimum amount of work necessary to achieve the desired result. In some cases, it means they are more efficient. But usually, it just means they know how to get the test results to show them in a good light. They will do what is minimally required, but nothing more.

      I would hire someone with a trajectory of improvement in grades verses a specific GPA. Just my personal thoughts.

    • skylimit says

      Yeah, but the thing that people with good credit don’t understand is that poor credit doesn’t indicate that a person is irrisponsible or a huge spender.

      Until you yourself have been through an unfortunate circumstance that affects your credit, you might be able to open your mind a little.

      You fall ill from something your insurance doesn’t cover…do you know how much hospitals charge a day? Your child/parent falls ill…

      A spouse or boyfriend/gf loses job and you have to max your credit cards to support them.

      People victims of id theft.

      The all popular: being laid off

      You need to use “human” qualities to find a good mate. No something made up by banks for screening credit cards.

  3. Insourcelife says

    Sure, you can go ahead and ask every girl you meet for her credit score but don’t be surprised if you end up alone for a very long time :) I like your PhD friend example, sounds like he’s doing real well in the dating world! Also, having a high credit score or a great education is not a guarantee that your future wife will be a good mother, which becomes VERY important once you have kids.

    • Grace says

      I think a girl with good credit won’t be offended, but she would think you were weird to ask.

      It would be like if a girl asked a guy on the first date what his salary was or is IQ? Sure, there is a way to get that information but you have to follow social graces and decorum.

      Also, I agree the MD/ PhD friend from an Ivy school sounds like he is on a “winning path”. A girl of good caliber who fits all his criteria will most likely be financially independent and therefore his accomplishments will have relatively less impressiveness.

  4. Steve says

    I think it’s completely ok to start getting into topics such as personal finance on date 2 or 3, but unless the other party brings it up on the first date, I would probably avoid asking about credit scores and other financial whatnot on the first date.

    On a sidenote, I found it interesting that credit score was your chosen metric. This might be just me, but I was much more interested in getting an understanding of the spending level, saving percentage (for sure the #1 piece of info for me), and overall attitude towards personal finance (of which credit score is definitely a part of) when getting to know my wife. I honestly don’t even check in on my own credit score that often. I know it is in the upper half of the 700′s, and that’s enough info for me. I periodically check in to make sure no bad marks are popping up, but I wouldn’t really closely monitor it unless I expected an upcoming property transaction of some sort.

    • JayCeezy says

      @Steve, that is an interesting point about the early screening. The screening goes both ways, though! This was some time ago, but I am still stunned remembering some of the remarkable hazing I was subjected to as I was trying to find my footing in the world. “I want to live in Palos Verdes.” (who doesn’t?) “My husband is going to have a BMW 700 series, a Rolex, and make 2x a year.” (x = my salary). “I want to have four children, and they will need me to stay home and raise them, just like my mother did.” Yikes! Needless to say, I was no prize and didn’t make their cut. And nobody does cruelty like a beautiful woman. But if you are well-situated, like yourself and FS, then it is a buyer’s market and you are fully entitled to make sure you are getting a “good value” in the negotiation.:-)

      btw, I think you may be a fan of Steve Byrne? He has a documentary, “13 or Bust” that is incredible as he sprints through NY one night doing 13 comedy spots. That is like running 5 marathons, back-to-back. Worth your time!

      • Grace says

        Well, girls have it rough too. We are suppose to look beautiful and have good credit scores now. LOL Choose 1. But only 1. All the money we have might need to go into financing plastic surgery to meet all the standards guys have set. JK.

        I dated some guys that were considered “good catches” in the traditional sense. They had lots of money, good jobs, and/or were good looking. Not all 3 together. It seemed the one thing they had in common was their really high and impossible standards. I can understand guys wanting to have the best wife possible. But, love is not about meeting specifications!!! It’s about finding someone you can love and respect & grow old together with.

        Anyways, this topic has me all fired up! Great blog btw.

      • Grace says

        You can judge how well she saves by what kind of possessions she has though and what she spends her money on. Like for example, does she have a high income job? Then, correlate that relative to what kind of car she drives. Does she drive a car that is, according to your calculations 1/10th of her income? etc.

        I think though if you were really serious about her you would try to improve her and make her a better saver. If you are a financial samurai wouldn’t you be able to impart your financial kung-fu to her?

  5. says

    I think in civilized environment, getting married the most important factor is love. If both couple loves each other, they should be open about their financial being including credit score.
    One of the reasons why the marriage did not take longer is due to financial problems. I believe it is not bad at all to ask your potential partner.

  6. Austin says

    I looked at the title and just started laughing.

    My wife was a teacher when we first met and didn’t make much. She had racked up some credit card debt after she got pneumonia over the summer while she was not covered by insurance. She ultimately paid the debt off. I’ve never carried a credit card balance forward, have always been able to pay cash for things and always pay any cc balance 100%.

    Guess who had, and still has, a better credit rating out of the two of us. Not me.

  7. says

    If I vetted my soulmate via credit score, I would never have married my goofy, quirky, genius husband and I really think my life would be a lot less joyful. He is my opposite in many ways that make me a better person.

    We didn’t start off on the same page financially, but we are now on the same team. He may not understand half the things I do with our finances (or want to), but he’s on board. Marriage is for a long time, and credit scores can change. He used to have in the 500′s and now he’s at 757.

  8. Austin says

    Your friend might find that a relationship between two “high functioning” people can ultimately lead to constantly butting heads.

  9. No Name Guy says

    This brings up a topic near and dear to my heart: Managing to the metric.

    Sam – your chosen metric for this piece, credit score. Your buddies metric – Masters from a top 25 school.

    Background: I’m in aerospace, and watched as my company suffered billions in needless losses due to managing to metrics and blindly applying crap learned in leadership classes to complex engineering and manufacturing situations outside the realm of applicability because (IMO) those in charge failed to understand….nay refused to understand, and I mean have a deep grasp, of what was really going on. That’s what you get when you let bean counters run a complex engineering project. ;-) As a result, they wanting things distilled down to “stop light charts” and bullet points and simplistic measures (are we on schedule?, never mind that the schedule was a crack pipe dream from day 1) – kind of like credit scores or what and where a degree came from.

    The trouble with managing to the metric is that unless the metric or set of metrics is chosen very carefully, you’ll get great metrics and a failed project (kind of like those AAA rated MBS / rMBS securities that turned out to be turds – great metric, AAA, crap / failed project due to a lack of understanding of what was going on). Managing toward the desired goal (with the deep understanding OF the goal, and what you need to do to get there) will get you to the goal.

    I’m not saying that metrics are useless – they certainly can be quite useful. However don’t substitute the metric for the end goal.

    • Ace says

      This is exactly what I was thinking. Dating and finding the right spouse is difficult enough without adding unrealistic hurdles.

      I have an old friend who is a medical doctor. He married a medical technician. Had three kids; couldn’t be happier!

      Look at the human being, not the CV/net worth.

    • says

      Ah, but when there is so much demand, screens are a must! Imagine 2,000 resumes for one spot. Gotta start somewhere and hope that candidate is one of the 3.7+ GPAs for example.

      If you are a Cardiologist, and relatively good looking, maybe you can choose to screen on education, credit score, height, and looks! All depends on how long someone wants to wait.

      • Ace says

        Really? So, when you go out with a woman, you screened her by a resume? Or, some kind financial metric?

        I’m not sure this really works well for relationships (maybe this is because I’m a Midwesterner)?

        I’m thinking beyond good basic intelligence and responsibility. Wouldn’t you want someone with an interesting personality? Someone whom perhaps, adds wonderful quirks to your life? Someone, whom is good with kids?

        I know this is a financial blog (and actually quite interesting), but, not everything is about money, or an arbitrary metric such as networth, credit score, etc.

        • says

          Minimum 5 point screen Ace! Time and money is precious. Can really only sustain going out with one person a night for a month before dying of exhaustion.

          If you come to a finance blog, you better believe everything is about finance!

        • Ace says

          Ok Sam,

          You have a good point. It is finance blog.

          Credit scores. Well….. I never really pay attention to these. I suppose, that if you are dating a woman on a regular basis, and she becomes a potential spouse, it might be something to look at.

          This isn’t very romantic, and I think you can kind of get a pretty good idea of financial responsibility, by just spending a few months with her. But…… You are already financially independent, so, does it really matter?

        • Ace says

          It’s a free country dude…… You can do what you want.

          For your own happiness, I’d say, go out with any attractive woman whom is willing. Look at these other issues later. If they ever come up.

      • Grace says

        I agree it makes sense to have some kind of screening criteria so you have SOME standards. The key though is to not go overboard to the point you exclude all possible candidates. You may toss out some good choices because they had a 695 instead of a 710 score or something.

        You know your credit score can also drop if you have a relatively “new” history. There are a lot of factors that go into it!

        I know this is a financial blog, but I think it is interesting when you branch off into other topics too. Relationship issues also affect or can affect finance in a big way too. Most people who co-habit usually end up sharing bank accounts anyways.

    • greg says

      “don’t substitute the metric for the end goal” – I agree. But if one can recognize when it is almost certainly relevant, it is a valuable tool to weight heavily in a composite analysis.

      Without heuristics, humans would be useless.

  10. Brian says

    I have a great girlfriend, but the biggest issue I have right now with her is her credit score is horrible due to her past relationship. She co-signed for her ex on a car and multiple credit cards, which of course the deadbeat stopped paying. I on the other hand have an 800+ credit score. I believe that like the B+ student, she learned her lesson, but the problem is still there and it concerns me that some ex-boyfriend’s problem becomes my problem if we marry.

    • says

      Hmmm, tough one! Look on the bright side though. If you guys stick together for the long term, you can count on her to co-sign on a car and multiple credit cards as well! If she doesn’t, you can say, “I thought you loved me more than your ex?”

    • Grace says

      Women have savior complexes!!! They want to help guys they love out. If anything, her only flaw is she loves too deeply. :D That’s my opinion!

  11. says

    You don’t need to set a minimum credit score with your potential mates, but you do need to know where they are financially before deciding to get married. Credit score may not be the best indicator but it’s a start. More importantly, talk about finances and money openly throughout the relationship!

  12. says

    I think people are more than a collection of statistics and credentials and it’s selling others short to focus on “screening criteria” like these while neglecting the rest of the person, even in the early days. Would he have considered himself undatable before he finished his degree? What if he had a brilliant business idea and left school to become an entrepreneur and found so much success that he never went back to school… Seems silly to omit people like this as “unworthy”.
    By the end of 5 years of dating, I knew enough about Mr PoP’s habits that when I found out all the exact stats as we were combining everything when buying our house and getting married (they happened at the same time), there were no surprises.

    • says

      Ahh, but you were subconsciously screening for your desired mate all along. Otherwise you would have ended up with the first male you meet! This post is just brining the subject to the forefront.

        • Grace says

          I agree with Mrs. Pops! Also, I think maybe it is an insecurity complex. Like, he wants to say look at me. I am so desirable because I have accomplished so much and I am rich. But if he was such a great catch and he wants to be in a relationship, wouldn’t he already be in a relationship already?

  13. says

    I think it depends on your age. When I met my husband, we were in school and neither of us had money. I think a better barometer is how the person deals with financial issues. If you aren’t on the same page, that spells trouble down the road. I also think it’s good to look at a person’s family. In my experience, you may not like many of your parent’s traits, but that’s what you grew up with and what you know. My husband’s parents were terrible with money, so he never learned any money skills. My Mom tends to be a nagger, and while it drove me crazy, I find myself doing it sometimes and need to get called out to stop. You don’t have be like your family, good or bad, but it’s important to pay attention to that because that’s what you are marrying into.

  14. says

    I never understood how folks can put themselves on that high horse after accomplishing something and think those that haven’t are beneath them or not worthy of their time. I remember the one time talking to a job recruiter who said he actively avoided interviewing people that went to big name schools. He said they usually had an arrogant personality and expected to get the job simply because of where they went to school. That’s why I like the point where I am at with my career. Interviews are no longer about where I went to school, what were my grades, or some other checkbox criteria. It’s about what I’ve done in the jobs I’ve been at and what are my goals. I like this because its a true interview where we can both determine whether the company and position are a good fit.

    • Grace says

      IMO if that guy found his dream girl who made her happy and then discovered she was a high school drop-out, he would still love her. You can control your screening criteria all you want, but your heart is unpredictable!

  15. says

    Take everything I’m about to say with a grain of salt since I’ve been out of the dating pool for 15 years (still happily married to wife #1).

    I figure you can tell whether you are financially compatible with a mate without pulling their transunion score. You can probably tell whether they have a “good” credit score (upper 700′s) or whether they are average or below average. At some point, “good” is good enough.

    More important than a credit score is someone with whom you are financially compatible. Do you agree on spending and saving decisions? Do you both want to be financially independent some day? Do you value wealth creation over impulse spending?

    There will be plenty of surrogate measures better than a credit score to gauge responses to these questions.

    Although it could be an awesome pick up line: “Hey baby, I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” Then block the ensuing face slap and counter with “Woah, not so uptight! I was just suggesting we compare credit scores to make sure we are compatible”

    • Grace says

      HAHAHAAH I like that a lot!

      My ex did that to me though. He wanted me to show him my salary. When he found out it was higher than his, I think he got jealous. It can backfire. What if you are looking for a woman with such a score. You find her. But then, when you tell her your score, YOU don’t meet her standards?

      OH SNAP!

  16. says

    Naw…go on at least ONE date to see if it’s even worth asking. Get to know them, and then you can ask and those things. Absolutely know financials before getting into something serious, because why head toward marriage if there are big unknowns financially…or otherwise.

    But I would do it more organically and less scientifically. Takes some of the fun out of it when you analyze it this way :)

    • Grace says

      True that!!! Give a girl a chance.

      Have fun while you are at it! Maybe you will find someone great from opening your mind.

  17. B says

    I don’t know if you need their score per se, but sure, you totally need a sense of whether they are financially responsible before you partner up. Seems like a no brainer and it seems like something that will naturally come up and work itself out. Don’t you get a sense early on how someone thinks about money, use of credit and savings? These things totally matter. I couldn’t fall and stay in love with someone who I felt put me at risk for financial ruin – the financial stress would leak into the relationship and ruin everything.

    • Grace says

      It’s easy to find out a girl’s credit worthiness on a first date indirectly. All you do is ask her to PICK the restaurant she wants to go to. You can see if she is considerate or a waster of money.

  18. says

    Something tells me “Hey baby, what’s your credit score?” isn’t the greatest ice breaker, unless you happen to be dating someone who works in finance (in which case, go for it and see what happens!)

    You do bring up some great points, though — it’s really important to have a sense of your partner’s financial situation and their habits and methods of managing money, BEFORE you tie the knot. Far too many people wait until after they get married to hash out that details, usually with disastrous results.

  19. Meghan says

    I definitely would want to know what their debt looked like, but don’t necessarily care about the score. Your friend may never find what he’s looking for, and perhaps he doesn’t deserve to. I work with some people with graduate degrees from the big schools (Columbia, Harvard, NYU) and frankly, I’m not impressed.

    • Grace says

      I also work with people who went to Ivies in a field that is competitive. Many of the Ivies-goers acted very arrogant. It was a huge turnoff. They believed they were better people than those ‘lesser than them’ that didn’t go to the same school. It was quite annoying to be around them, especially knowing how some of them got in (ex. cheating).

  20. Michelle says

    I think my first blunt financial question before getting serious was, “What’s your plan if you are laid-off in a down-turn?” (Assuming the layoff was not engineered). Subsequent conversations about goals and dreams, values and financial musings, segued into co-admissions on salary, financial past and outlook, and finally, credit score.

    P.S. Nice plate tectonics metaphor!

      • Michelle says

        Hi Grace, he told me he’d worked lots of different jobs in the past, had seen hard times before, and survived via hard work and determination. We work in a very cyclic industry so it’s something I think about this for myself as well. It makes me feel secure to know I am with someone who has multiple skill sets to fall back on because that is what I would do.

  21. Kyle says

    Hello. I’ve been reading for a while but have never responded. When my wife and I married I was 21 and she was 19. I more of less had to fill out her first credit card application myself and have her sign it. Her credit score is now higher than mine, due to a $3 annual fee I neglected when I was 18 and didn’t realize it was there. Both of us are at 750+ now. You wouldnt ask about their credit score until deep into the courtship. I believe part of a relationship is building on each others faults. Improve one another.

    Though there are deal breakers for everyone, after too long in a relationship you can begin to question how important certain things are. Whether you can help the person or live with what they bring to the table. My personal experience tells me that some mistakes can be made from lack of knowledge and not just lack of ability.

    I dont think you can base your future solely on another persons faults. They are a consideration of course, but limiting your pool based on 1 poor life choice or habit that you can perhaps help rectify is hardly the way to go. We all have things we can work on.

    • Grace says

      Kyle! That was beautiful. Your relationship is a role-model for us all. I started getting warm and fuzzy inside after reading it. :D Great post!

  22. Phillip says

    I think your friend has it figured out. Maybe that’s his excuse to keep you off his back, because he knows the dating pool sucks and he’d rather stay single.

    As for me, I’ll definitely use the credit score pick up line, posted above.
    I love it. There are other important criteria, as some have stated above, being good with
    kids, if you plan to have any.
    I might add, if she can cook or keep a clean house ranks
    right near the top IMO.

    • Grace says

      Err.

      I think in most relationships you should try to GIVE more before you expect to GET anything.
      Like, you can’t go into a relationship with a laundry list of demands. You have to show your worth, too.

      Say you find this fabulous hot, smart, educated, good FICO, house-cleaning superwoman that has nerves of steel against bad pickup lines and somehow finds your bluntness endearing.
      Then, what? How will you keep her? 1000 other guys, including that super educated good looking cardiologist friend of Sam’s will be going after the same woman.

      What do you guys plan to bring to the table to keep her baited? :P

  23. Chris says

    This credit score business is silly. I married my wife because she’s great in many ways, including being a good match to me in frugality. I couldn’t give two shakes about her credit score, which is how good of a consumer she is perceived to be by the banks.

    Credit score is the wrong metric. How they perceive money is multivariate in nature. I recommend one get to know the person and see how expensive her car and purse are in the first few dates. I’d run away from anything too impractical on either front!

    • JT says

      Completely agree.

      Being in my early 20s, I can tell a lot about how someone handles their finances from their expectations about what life is like. All too many assume that just a few years after graduation they should have the living standards of their parents, who are invariably 20-35 years their senior, and who are likely in the prime earning years of their life. That’s far more telling than an 800 credit score, in my view.

      Maybe its just a fleeting case of youthful optimism that disappears with a few more years of the cold and harsh reality of life. I’m inclined to think so, but you never know.

  24. says

    The way I look at it: the girl has to be able to manage money well. I don’t outright ask for her credit score because there are things that should remain private. However, knowing how someone uses and spends their money is important. You don’t want someone who is a saver married to someone who is a spender. You want to be able to see people be able to manage their money well and at least show some discipline towards putting some money aside for the future.

    • Grace says

      That’s true.. A saver married to a spender might cause stress or ruin. Unless the saver was a super earner and could out earn whatever pace the woman could spend! hehe

  25. says

    I agree with many other commenters, that the credit score is not very important compared to spending, saving, and overall moral fiber. My credit score is around 750. The house is paid off and my wife and I have no debt. We pay our two credit cards every month. I assume we could have a higher score if we took out more debt. Would someone with debt and a higher credit score be a better match for you than someone with no debt?

  26. says

    This topic makes me chuckle. I can’t imagine asking someone straight up what their credit score is but I can see how it’s a really good thing to know. Talking about finances, budgeting, and goals is a wise choice in any serious relationship. Being on the same page with financial goals and planning before getting married is a must.

    • Grace says

      As a woman, I find this thread really interesting because it seems like a lot of guys are saying that they would be more than willing to have a short term relationship with a woman with a terrible FICO, but for anything substantial she must have a good score.

      That’s really interesting because why date someone who you see no lasting potential with in the first place? I would have thought financially responsible people, who read financial blogs, would be more conservative about girls feelings too.

      What if the girl was looking for a prince charming who could help her clean up her dire FICO score and teacher her the ways of enlightened 401k-ing?

  27. says

    Although I would never ask about a credit score on the first few dates, I think it is a relevant question sometime before you get serious. I think there are signs or flags you would see before you ask anyway. Some time ago I wrote an article called I think I found the ideal dating service where I mention a couple services which screen for FICO score.

  28. says

    A co-worker just broke up with her latest loser boyfriend over financial issues. He has twice declared bankruptcy and she allowed him access to her accounts to help him out but he added one of his automatic bill deductions to her chequing account.

    Now she is fighting to get money back from him but she will probably never get it because he is a loser. If someone doesn’t have their financial s*%t together then you need to stay far, far away from them.

    Ask for a blood test for sexually transmitted diseases and a credit score. It will save you a lot of money in the long run.

    • says

      Seems so logical doesn’t it? STD check + credit score = higher chance of a better relationship!

      Love really seems to blind us into doing things we know we should do, or not doing things we know we should do. Why risk it if 50% of marriages end in divorce?

      • El Nerdo says

        50% of marriages end in divorce because the participants in it treat each other as tradable commodities. Which is exactly what you seem to want to do.

        On the surface, your decision appears rational, but your brand of rationality makes no allowances for love.

        Good luck with your purchase.

    • Grace says

      HAHA Every guy I have dated who had financial issues refused to let me pay for anything. Even though I had the means to help them out. I only offered it to them as a TEST. If they accepted, they would have failed. That’s what women and men should do. You should subtly test your future spouses without being overt.

      Propose to them unethical situations and see what their responses would be. If they are bad, they will agree to terms that are completely unfair to you. In which case, your next course of action should be to promptly dump them! :D

  29. says

    I’m a guy and returned to school in a health care career, where 95 percent of my classmates are women.

    During hospital clinicals a few weeks ago, 3 of my (female) classmates were talking about dating and finances.

    They said they always ask (before the relationship gets serious) about how much debt their new boyfriend has.

    If the debt is over 10K — excluding school loans and/or a mortgage — they pass and remain friends.

    Their theory was: Sure, we all make mistakes but we also fix those mistakes, such as credit card debt, and move on.

    Whether that’s right or wrong, who’s to say but that was a great post.

      • Grace says

        Most people are in debt. Most Americans I thought are in debt. Like, if you subtract the mortgage cost that most people owe from their net savings, in the single marrying age range 25-35 bracket, most people have a negative net worth.

        I know this because I did extensive Googling on the subject. LOL

    • Grace says

      Yeah, but a guy could be in massive debt because he just took out a loan to start his own business. Some of those ladies seem like they may be gold -digging. I will admit, as a female, I have probably fallen into this category during my youthful indiscretions and moments of weakness.

      Since then, I have learned the folly of my ways. A lot of guys who have big wallets don’t necessarily treat women right. Perhaps, it is because they have a lot of women throwing themselves at them on a regular basis.

      It seems best to just see if you like a person. If you like their company, then you should go out with them. Try to improve them where you can. Try to have them improve you where they can. Everyone ends up winning. :D

  30. JW says

    @No Name Guy

    Garbage in, garbage out. Poorly used metrics are often due to unrealistic assumptions of what the results, schedules, or data should be for the metrics. Often this information comes from the guys/gals doing the work rather than the “bean counters” tracking progress toward the goals. If you never quantify what good looks like your probability of reaching “good” diminishes.

  31. says

    Setting absolute limits on the people you’ll consider dating I’ve found to be a bit silly. My current boyfriend dropped out of college and now makes a six figure salary at age 27. I have a double major with honors from NYU and am barely getting by. The adversity I’ve faced in the job market has absolutely made me stronger willed and more determined than ever. But life isn’t always the equation we think it is despite some strong correlations. Good school, good grades, hard work doesn’t necessarily equal success.

  32. nbsdmp says

    For me it is not so much of their being debt, or a certain credit score…but it has to factor into the equation of how responsible of an individual the other person is. It is kind of like when they do a car comparison, and they rate all of these different categories. I could deal with somebody with a terrible credit score, if they scored high in other areas that are important. It’s tough because there is never that perfect person and we all have faults and quirks, its just a matter of which ones we can live with. I’ve dated both extremes…millionaire with their act together, but such dry personalities I felt like poking my eyes out after a month…but had a blast with a completely irresponsible broke chick that I really connected with. Somewhere in the middle is probably best.

    • Grace says

      OR what if they had averaging extremes? Like a 10 in looks and 10 personality but 1 in finance?

      Does that average out to a 7 total package ?

  33. says

    I never asked for a credit score on a first date, but I always asked if it looked like we may be headed to a longer relationship. I didn’t have a specific rule on credit score or debt that was my no-go line, but I always wanted to make sure we have the same financial beliefs, goals, and overall practices.

    • Grace says

      The lesson that seems to be learned here is if a guy asks you for your FICO score, things are getting pretty serious!!! Good to know! LOL

  34. greg says

    “but I’m a hopeless romantic who believes everything will turn out alright in the end”

    The extent to which our social infrastructure allows a denial-of-service on livelihood in the way the default sharing of assets in marriage does is simply astounding to me. I’m flatly in the airtight prenup boat. If a partner isn’t willing to allow preservation of hard work, then (from my perspective) they’re not worth a commitment.

    That said, for a *really* outstanding candidate I’d consider partial pooling of assets for the sake of simplicity, but mentally write it off as zero.

    • says

      It’s easier said than done once you find the one.

      A blogger friend Thousandaire created an entertaining music video entitled “Got To Get A Prenup” and wrote about it extensively. He recently got engaged. Do you think he’s getting a prenup?

  35. Grace says

    @Ace
    On CNN, there was an article about this. Apparently, a LOT of single people are looking for those with good credit scores. I think it is a factor to consider, but not something you should completely focus on. The reason being is that it is only one dimension to a persons overall character. I know and have dated guys who HAD really good credit scores (close to perfect if not 800). But fast forward 1 or 2 years later and they ended up having DUIs, having health issues, filing bankruptcy, missing mortgage payments and going down to almost 500.

    What if MR or MRS Perfect was around the corner but they had a blemished FICO? Wouldn’t it be better to have an open mind and teach them how to be good financial samurais instead?

  36. skylimit says

    No! You’re doing it wrong! You’ll never find the right person with that mindset.

    Your metrics have to be:
    Mutual attraction (whatever rocks your world), great chemistry!
    Do I like being around this person a lot, or am I annoyed a lot of the time? –
    Is this person actually parent material or just insensitive or insane
    Is this person loyal or will this person try to cheat on me with my brother/friend/pool boy/icecream truck man on my next business trip?
    Can I count on this person if s*** goes down?!
    Finances – is this person too much of a spender that I’ll have to take a second job? Or will this person encourage me to keep on growing my career?
    Can I communicate with this person without having to pull my last hair out?
    Does he/she make me a better person, make me want to improve my weaknesses?
    Does he/she make me laugh and smile? does this person stimulate me?
    Are our hygiene/neatness/organization levels compatible…we will live together, hopefully without arguing all the time

    Do I want to spend the rest of my life around this person and why?
    The answer has nothing to do with money.

    So many people nowadays have damaged credits or high debt, from being laid off, (read the news lately), foreclosures, past health issues, or hospital bill from procedures, or bad debt from a previous relationship with a selfish or irresponsible partner. They just got dealt a bad hand. Yes, there’s some that got into debt/bad credit due to being irresponsible (and I assure you most of them are better now with money than many “perfect score” people, due to learning the hard way).

    You might not know how high the numbers are because people don’t go around talking about their finances.

    There are many people – who would make a terrible husband/wife/or parent/or just not compatible enough with your personality to remain married without it ending in divorce – and they have great credit scores, little or no debt, great job, and a great degree.

    Credit score, debt, college degree, are all terrible metrics to go by. You don’t know the circumstances that caused a deficiency in that area.

    Hey, that person with bad credit might appreciate saving your money even more than someone without financial worries, because they have come to learn its value even more thru some unfortunate situation. That person might even end up guiding you because of financial lessons they have learned.

    And guess what, if your a** ever ends up unemployed due to a laid off, or health problems (yes, humans get sick), the person who has been thru hard economic times in the past, won’t look down on you the way someone with perfect finances would. They’ve been there and have gotten out of it and will most likely know how to get you out as well or at least don’t look down on you while you’re finding your way out.

    When you see someone going thru a bad situation, at the same time you should also see someone learning a lesson that you have not come to learn.

    That person without a college degree learned other things that you didn’t – at a job, in LIFE, wisdom, social skills, street smarts, etc, while you were devouring many boring textbook pages in college.

    You said that after earning your MBA you looked down on others with lower degrees, well maybe if you were to fall ill, lose your job, be victim of identity theft, or any other situation that affected your credit, you’ll be able to relate to, and not look down on others who have been thru those circumstances also. You’d understand that *hit happens and life and people aren’t perfect.

    Good luck marrying that credit score/no debt you’re looking for. While you’re at it, it wouldn’t hurt to see if you guys like each other enough not to end up in one more divorce or unfaithful marriage. Statistics are quite distressing.

    I’m a married woman, my husband and I suffered job losses and health problems in the family. Our finances are finally improving!

    What made us through this and still happily married, stronger than ever and in love? We married for the right reasons.

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