How Your Credit Score Determines Your Marriage

Via Marginal Revolution, a new Fed Working Paper suggests that your credit score determines your success in committed relationships.

    This paper presents novel evidence on the role of credit scores in the dynamics of committed relationships. We document substantial positive assortative matching with respect to credit scores, even when controlling for other socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. As a result, individual-level differences in access to credit are largely preserved at the household level.

    Moreover, we find that the couples’ average level of and the match quality in credit scores, measured at the time of relationship formation, are highly predictive of subsequent separations. This result arises, in part, because initial credit scores and match quality predict subsequent credit usage and financial distress, which in turn are correlated with relationship dissolution.

    Credit scores and match quality appear predictive of subsequent separations even beyond these credit channels, suggesting that credit scores reveal an individual’s relationship skill and level of commitment. We present ancillary evidence supporting the interpretation of this skill as trustworthiness.

People enter long-term relationships with others who have similar credit scores. When people who have divergent credit scores form relationships, they’re more likely to break up. And credit scores even seem to say something about one’s ability to commit in relationships.

Did I mention my credit score?

Here’s how credit cards affect your credit score (getting new cards may actually improve your score) and here’s data on what scores are necessary in order to get approved for certain cards.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I wonder if this could be added to eHarmony’s model? I suppose they don’t ask for your SSN (I have no clue, never used it), but perhaps they should! Maybe Equifax, Transunion, and Experian should get into the love match business…

  2. So can we assume that your wife’s credit score is similar? My wife and my score has always been within a few points of each other…

  3. My wife’s score has always been a little higher due to some long term Department store cards – probably similar with other churners

  4. Can see anecdotal evidence of this effect in a friend’s marriage which recently ended over differences in handling credit.

  5. I can’t understand why some people are into app-o-ramas, but you gotta do what makes you happy.

  6. Marriage is a chauvinistic concept. No reason your best friend has to be the one you are most attracted to physically. Marry someone and sleep with someone else. Everyone has there use. You would imagine a capitalist society would have figured this out very fast.

  7. People want relationships that aren’t a financial drag on themselves, and people try to get out of relationships that they consider a financial drag? Welcome to the material world. material girls and boys. It’s not love, it’s love of money and comforts?

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