Loan approval and lower interest rates — those are some of the biggest reasons you want a good credit score. There’s an abundance of data on how good credit can save hundreds of thousands of dollars in a lifetime, but there’s an emerging trend in studying how credit scores affect another crucial area of people’s lives: their relationships.
A new working paper from the Federal Reserve Board highlights a strong correlation between high credit scores and long-lasting relationships. The researchers averaged individual credit scores to determine couples’ mean credit scores, and the higher that number was, the less likely the couple was to break up.
A few things to know about the data: The Fed used data from credit bureau Equifax that had been stripped of personally identifying information, so researchers had to put together puzzle pieces to identify committed couples. Cohabitation was a benchmark, and the “committed couples” included spouses as well as unmarried people in stable, long-term relationships. The end of a relationship was defined as living apart for more than 15 months with no reports of living together after that.
If you’ve ever heard that couples who stay together begin to look more alike, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that researchers noted that the longer a couple stayed together, the more similar their scores became. (Although similarity at the beginning of the relationship is a good sign. If the difference between a couple’s scores is less than 66 points initially, they are less likely to split up later.)
And the people with higher scores were more likely to stay together. Couples whose scores were 93 points higher than the overall average were less likely to end the relationship, researchers said.
Relationships succeed and fail for many reasons, but finances have long played a part in relationship dynamics. In the same paper, the researchers touch on another aspect of love and credit that has been highlighted recently: People with similar credit scores, whether they’re both high or low, are more likely to be compatible than people with very different scores. And credit scores may be a measure of perceived trustworthiness. “Our results present new evidence on how mismatch in trustworthiness within a household may affect its stability,” the authors wrote. (Can it be any surprise that some dating sites use credit scores as a component of compatibility?)
This isn’t to say you’re doomed to encounter a cycle of short-lived romances because your credit score isn’t great; rather, having great credit may go hand-in-hand with other things that make you more likely to have successful relationships.
A great credit score can certainly make life a lot easier, considering how often it comes into play in your daily life. You can check your credit score for free every 30 days on Credit.com, so you can see where you stand and what you can do to improve over time. Not only will improving your credit score help you save money in the long run, it could contribute to an overall sense of stability in your life.
More on Credit Reports & Credit Scores: