This just shocks me (but doesn’t altogether surprise me)! The Federal Reserve Board has released a paper that looks at the role credit scores play in committed relationships. This paper shows, apparently, that the scores can be a predicted as to whether a couple stays together.
This research was based on data from 12 million randomly selected Americans from Equifax for a period of about 15 years, as well as the use of a computer program that went through the data to find committed couples, whether married or unmarried.
What Were the Findings?
From all of this came some interesting observations:
- People with higher credit scores are more likely to form a committed relationship
- Having higher scores when the relationship started meant that they were less likely to separate in the ensuing years
- The difference between the scores is important as well. The closer the scores are to each other, the more likely that the couple will stay together.
The reasons for these conclusions are not that surprising. The researchers found that
- Credit scores provide a practical, economic obstacle for couples. This is especially true because credit agencies usually use the lesser score of the two in making lending decisions
- Lower or significantly different scores can be a harbinger of financial stress in the relationship
- Credit scores could reflect the personal qualities and relationship skills about one member of the couple.
Is This Surprising?
Quite frankly, these findings do not surprise me. I have written before about how financial stress is a common cause of divorce, as well as how both divorce and bankruptcy could be avoided if the relationship starts out on the right foot.
An article on this study in The Washington Post points out that, although credit scores can be good indicators of how successful the relationship is, these scores are private. Asking your significant other about it can make for a rather uncomfortable conversation (much like asking about sexual histories or STDs).
However, it should be part of a frank discussion that takes place before the wedding or even as a part of the conversation about whether to get married. It’s just that important.
Does It Surprise You? What Do You Think?
What do you think about this study? Do you agree or disagree? Have you had any personal experience that is reflected by this study? If so, then please leave your thoughts in the comments!