If you’re single and you’ve lost track of how much debt you’re in, you might want to find out before your next date.
As if there aren’t enough reasons to exclude people from the dating pool, 37 percent of Americans said credit card debt will make them look down on a significant other.
You might be surprised as that bit of insight comes not from the supposed experts at say eHarmony, Dear Abby, or the pages of Cosmopolitan magazine, but from the Chase Slate 2017 Credit Outlook — as in the people who bring you credit cards.
“When it comes to relationships, many Americans are unwilling to compromise on credit health, and for a good reason,” said Mical Jeanlys, general manager of the Chase Slate credit card. “Credit plays a critical role in everything – from securing a loan to qualifying for competitive interest rates.”
Why Does It Matter?
That 37 percent would think less of you if you owe big time, which could make you wonder: Does that mean the other 63 percent don’t care? Or maybe they don’t care as long as your debt isn’t as big as theirs?
Chase is mum on this in their survey of 1,000 adults in March and April. Although their bulleted summary of the research calls this a “deal breaker.”
Looking at the relationship between love and money, debt, or FICO scores, is a valid perspective. How do we know?
Well, for one, the Federal Reserve tells us so.
In 2015, the Fed released a study in which it followed couples for 15 years. The goal? Investigate how their credit scores played into the longevity of the relationship. The conclusion: The closer your credit score is to your partner’s, the more likely you are to stay together.
Millennials, the age 20 to 35 set, are taking the message to heart, says the Chase survey and follow-up interviews.
Married millennials are more likely to know their partner’s credit score than other generations. Fifty-eight percent of millennials track that digit, compared with 44 percent of married Gen Xers and 38 percent of married Baby Boomers.
Still, most agree this is not the stuff of first dates.
Only 1 percent of women and 15 percent of men are willing to discuss finances on that initial meeting.
And almost one in four say this is a topic best left for when you cross into “serious relationship” territory — though the researchers don’t elaborate what exactly that means. Is that before or after you meet the parents? And what happens if parents bring this stuff up? Again, no direction here.
Top priority in dating typically goes old school, valuing personality, looks, and job status. Only 7 percent of people cared whether a potential partner is good at saving money, 3 percent wondered if the other has a retirement plan, and a mere 2 percent were interested in the other’s FICO score.
But don’t underestimate money’s power in a relationship and don’t let big debt fester in secret, because there’s no small amount of research on how badly that will go should you marry.
To quote one Debt.com summary of research on money and marriage:
“Think you know everything about your husband or wife? There’s a 40 percent chance you don’t even know how much they make. And there’s more than a 5 percent chance they’re hiding money from you.”
That same report notes that 36 percent of millennials argue about finances every week. Perhaps couples work it out with age, because some 15 percent of Gen Xers have that fight weekly and only 7 percent of Baby Boomers do.
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