As she nibbled on strawberry shortcake, Jessica LaShawn, a flight attendant from Chicago, tried not to get ahead of herself and imagine this first date turning into another and another, and maybe, at some point, a glimmering diamond ring and happily ever after.
She simply couldn’t
help it, though. After all, he was tall, from a religious family, raised by his grandparents just as she was, worked in finance and even had great teeth.
Her musings were interrupted when her date asked a decidedly unromantic question: “What’s your credit score?”
“It was as if the music stopped,” LaShawn, 31, said, recalling how the date this year went so wrong so quickly after she tried to answer his question.
“It was awkward because he kept telling me that I was the perfect girl, but that a low credit score was his deal-breaker.”
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.
It’s so widely used that it has also become a bigger factor in dating decisions, sometimes eclipsing more traditional priorities like a good job, shared interests and physical chemistry.
That’s according to interviews with more than 50 daters across the country, all under 40.
“Credit scores are like the dating equivalent of a sexually transmitted disease test,” said Manisha Thakor, the founder and chief executive of MoneyZen Wealth Management, a financial advisory firm. It’s difficult to quantify how many daters factor credit scores into their romantic calculations, but financial planners, marriage counselors and dating site executives all said that they were hearing far more concerns about credit than in the past.
Dating someone with poor credit can have real implications. Banks remain wary of making loans to borrowers with tarnished scores, typically 660 and below; the best scores range from 800 to 850, and scores above 750 are considered good. NYT