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Long-term Relationships and Credit Scores

Credit Scores

Photo Credit: Vladimir Pustovit || But do they have compatible credit scores?

Unlike many commentators, I tend to think credit scores are a good thing. In a big world, it is difficult for large financial institutions to figure out the most import “C” of the four Cs of Credit — Character. Credit scores offer an imperfect but generally useful shortcut in what is often an anonymous world.

In my last article on the topic, I noted that in addition to lending, credit scores are used in renting, insurance, employment, and a wide number of other areas. One new place where credit scores could prove useful is analyzing a prospective spouse. An academic paper suggests the following:

  • Birds of a feather flock together — in general, people tend to enter into long-term relationships those with similar credit scores.
  • Relationships with higher credit scores tend to last longer.
  • Those with larger gaps in the credit scores have a higher probability of the relationship ending sooner.

Though the paper is more broad than marriage, I am going to shift over to marriage for the rest of this article. Why? Every now and then, I get called in to do marriage counseling, typically along with my pastor and fellow elders. I'm not perfect, so my marriage isn't perfect, but it is very good.

Marriages tend to fail because the husband and wife disagree on goals or methods for the partnership that they have entered into. Common disagreements and problems involve:

  • Money
  • Sex
  • Children — number, methods of raising
  • Lack of companionship — shared goals, responsibilities, etc.
  • Bad communication patterns
  • Sins that need to be repented of — anger & abuse, adultery & related, laziness, substance abuse, disdain, lying, etc.
  • And more — there are more ways to get it wrong than to get it right, just as there are more wrong answers on tests than right answers.

I'm only going to handle the money issue here, though laziness, lying, bad communication, and lack of clearly specifying and agreeing to goals play a large role in money problems. Going back to my earlier article on credit scores, you might recall that I said that credit scores were a moderately accurate measure of moral tendency on average. Quoting:

Honoring agreements...