Erika Ettin: In Love And Money

By Erika Ettin
Tribune News Service

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Dating expert Erika Ettin takes a look at what some daters want to know about your financial situation. Is it OK to ask someone about his or her credit score?

Tribune News Service

Last year, I wrote an article about how your credit score may impact your dating life.

It’s funny, when I quit my job as an economist just over six years ago to start my business helping people with online dating, I thought my days deliberating over credit scores and talking about spending habits were over.

How wrong I was.

Back then, when I worked at Fannie Mae, I had to pore over spreadsheet upon spreadsheets of credit data to assess whether or not someone would be able to pay back his or her mortgage. (No surprise: The higher the credit score, and we used FICO, the better the payback.) And now, I have to advise clients on how much credit they should give for, well, their date’s credit.

Just as a credit score is a good indicator of a person’s ability, or inability, to pay a mortgage, it’s also a fairly good indicator of how someone has dealt with money in the past. How they handled finances as a single person, could, in turn, indicate how that person will handle money as part of a couple.

For starters, do people even know their credit score? Unless they’ve recently purchased a car or a home, they may not. In that case, you would need to go to a site like www.annualcreditreport.com or www.freecreditscore.com to get your score. (Generally, a score over 700 is considered good.)

Just like conventional wisdom says not to ask a woman’s weight (and conventional wisdom is correct!), asking someone’s credit score or payment habits on a first date is another one that I would avoid. I also tell my clients to avoid talking about the messy details of a divorce, controversial political issues, and money in general on first dates.

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