Money Monday: Would You Dump Someone With A Bad Credit Score

BY: - 31 Dec '12 | Home

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Photo Credit: Casey Serin

Photo Credit: Casey Serin

It was the perfect date, or so Jessica LaShawn thought. As she tells the New York Times, he was from a religious family, raised by his grandmother, and had a good job. The evening was going by wonderfully until he popped the question, “What’s your credit score?”

“It was as if the music stopped. It was really awkward because he kept telling me that I was the perfect girl for him, but that a low credit score was his deal-breaker,” Le Shawn recounted to the Times.

To add insult to injury, days after the disastrous date, Jessica received an apologetic text message reiterated that the problem the wasn’t her, but her credit score.

Of course it’s important to get to know a little bit about someone while dating, but asking for a credit score on the first date, is it me or does that just seem a bit tacky? Why not cover all the bases and make the interview complete before the waiter arrives with the final check?

“Hey, could you also provide me with your resume, BMI, hip to waist ratio, number of sexual partners, and ten years worth of medical records? And while you’re at it, throw in your social security number so I can do a complete background check on you as well.”

Twenty-five year old Josephine La Bella broaches the subject of credit scores soon after meeting someone. “I take my credit score seriously and so my date can take me seriously,” she told the New York Times.

Apparently the emphasis Ms. La Belle places on the credit score isn’t unique. Even Suze Orman suggested on Oprah that, “Before you get involved in a relationship or anything, FICO first, then sex,” referring to the ubiquitous FICO credit score.

According to New York Times interviews of 50 daters across the country, credit scores have become a bigger factor in dating decisions, sometimes eclipsing more traditional priorities like a good job, shared interests and physical chemistry.

Now you have to admit, 50 daters isn’t a big sample size, but it is something to consider that in today’s dating scene, apparently asking about a credit score is gaining the same importance as inquiring about STDs, baby-mama drama, and possible jail time served in the past.

And you can see why asking for a credit score makes sense. A poor credit score, for instance, could hamper a couple’s ability to purchase a car or home.

A poor credit score is often considered a sign of bad decision making. Employers seem to think so, as do insurance companies who base their employment decisions and insurance rates on credit scores. If a person is irresponsible with their money, how responsible are they going to be in a marriage, a potential spouse argues?

Some even claim the divorce rate is so high because we don’t properly vet our potential mates. We let emotions rule logical investigation. Why not do a little investigation into a potential mate first?

But let’s be realistic, bad credit scores happen to good people. Unexpected job losses, medical catastrophes, and crushing student debts hamper even the most conscientious among us.

And while it is crucial to learning as much as possible about a potential partner before saying “I Do,” automatically cutting and running on a date with a 540 credit score may not be the best strategy for finding Mr. or Mrs. Right.

BMWK: Do you think asking for a credit score is necessary in today’s dating scene? If so, when should the topic be brought up? At what point in your relationship did you ask your spouse about finances, STDs, potential jail sentences, and other sensitive topics?

About the author

Alonzo Peters wrote 188 articles on this blog.

Alonzo Peters is founder of MochaMoney.com, a personal finance website dedicated to helping Black America achieve financial independence.

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12 WordPress comments on “Money Monday: Would You Dump Someone With A Bad Credit Score

  1. Cheryl

    I would not dump a person if they had bad credit, but I would not marry them either. If you are seriously considering moving in with someone or marriage, it is a conversation that has to be had. I helped my now husband clean up his credit before we got married, and we are both better off because of it. I actually agree with Suze Orman and Oprah on this one, if someone is not willing to share their personal financial information with you, why would you share the most personal part of you with them (sex)? My person is way more important to me than my ss#…

    Reply
  2. Shawanda

    I think judging without knowing the circumstances is totally inconsiderate and irresponsible. Like the author said, bad things happen to good people, so finding out what happened first is more responsible thing to do before making a decision. A decision isn’t fully informed unless you know all the facts. In addition, I think asking a question like that on a first date is inappropriate. That kind of personal information should not be given to everybody that steps into the picture. You have to prove you’re worth me sharing my personal business with. One final point: while we should have standards, maintaining flexibility is equally imperative. We would want (and need) the same understanding and forgiveness if we were in that person’s position with the bad past. It’s easy to judge until it happens to us.

    Reply
  3. Superwife

    You have to find out WHY and HOW LONG before it matters. And asking someone this on a first date is insane. I know many people who got a DIVORCE and that one action ruined their credit for a time. Also, what about illness and layoffs (especially in this recent economy) and possibly identity theft. Any person who would dump someone based on this one issue – without first figuring out why their credit isn’t up to par gets whatever they get. As for me, ask me that on a first date (when I was single) and a) my answer is none of your business, I barely gave you my phone number and b) I have no additional interest in dating you anyway…deuces.

    Reply
      1. Shawanda

        High-five on both of your responses. I agree 150%. This serves as a reminder we are enormously blessed to be married now.

        Reply
        1. Superwife

          @Shawanda – girl, you have no idea how many times a week I thank my husband just for being the man he is. So very blessed.

          Reply
  4. Tonja

    I think the credit score is important, but not a deal breaker. My credit score needed help right after college and then again after grad school. My husband’s also needed some work, so we attended Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University seminar and got it together. It has been great watching our bills get paid off and learning about financial responsibility. Granted, we both “wanted” to do better financially. That, to me, is more important than the actual score. When dating, you just need to take time to get to know the whole person. A perfect credit score does not guarantee a perfect mate just as a moderate score does not mean marital failure. However, a low score does suggest you need to really ask some tough questions. IMO

    Reply
  5. Kennywil25

    Credit scores cannot possibly define a person 100%!! Good to have a good one, but sometimes circumstances beyond individual’s control occur.
    If someone asked me that question on the first date then i’ll just assume they are looking for a mate solely to add to their bank balance…and not seeing the relationship as an opportunity to discover their full potential…Just because I may not have a good score now, does not mean I will never have one. Simply put… If you judge me by my yesterdays, do you know what my tomorrows holds? If Michelle Obama said that the first time she dated her man, she would have lost out on being the most powerful first lady in the world. We cannot listen to so-called relationship gurus and take their words as the only way…There are many ways to arrive at a good strong relationship…does not always have to start off completely perfect either. If anyone is honest, willing and open enough to discuss their scores, then I would consider that as a good character trait to work with.

    Reply
  6. Aja

    I think its problematic to judge a person entirely by something that is so easily susceptible to change. Just because someone has a good credit score today doesn’t mean he won’t have a bad one a year from now and vice versa. It also tells you very little about the real issue, which is how that person handles money. I know plenty of people who are horrible money managers who have been able to maintain good credit by getting bailed out by parents. I also know those who may have a less than stellar score because they carry very little debt and don’t rely on credit. There is a lot more information than the number can provide and I definitely don’t think its good first date conversation.

    Reply
  7. Pingback: Boardroom Behavior in the Bedroom: 5 Habits That May Get You Fired From Your Relationship! | Black and Married With Kids.com - A Positive Image of Marriage and Family

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