The summer months are often when love can bloom as people enjoy the sun and fun. People pair up with each other for all sorts of reasons, but is it true that one of the biggest is the way they manage their finances?
Well, could it be that most women prefer a man who’s responsible with money to a George Clooney lookalike with a degree?
A nationwide Experian survey of couples in relationships in 2014* asked if financial responsibility would make someone more attractive. 29% in total said it would, while 35% of women said this would make a male ‘much more attractive’.
However, 3 in 4 of women (75%) said they rated financial prudence more attractive than appearance, education or background, and on a par with intelligence (74%).*
In fact the only factor rated more attractive in a potential partner was a good sense of humour (87%), with appearance (65%), education (42%) and background (26%) lagging far behind. As far as men are concerned however, financial responsibility isn’t considered nearly as important (55%).
Interestingly, an Experian US survey earlier this year found that a potential partner’s credit score was more important to today’s newlyweds when selecting their spouse than it has been to other married couples.**
Love and money in harmony
Setting ground rules and being open about money can help living in financial harmony. Talk about money with your partner – finances can be one of the biggest causes of stress in a relationship. If you don’t talk about it, you can’t plan properly. Take time together to understand if you need to improve one or both of your credit reports.
Try to do this well in advance of applying for credit together. While it might be difficult to admit to being in trouble, it will likely be worse if your partner finds out you’ve been hiding something from them.
If you do share or open up a financial connection, then each of you would see the other’s name in the section of your credit report entitled ‘Financial Associations’. Although lenders would then be able to look at both your credit reports, your own credit report would show only your own credit activity.
Managing credit and debt is crucial when in a relationship. Struggling with monthly income and expenditure can trip you up before you plan for anything else.
Plan for the short, medium and long-term– if you’re going on holiday this year how are you paying for it? What goals do you have for the next couple of years, like buying a house and what about long-term goals, such as retirement?
If you’re struggling to make ends meet, talk to your lenders – you may be able to arrange a repayment schedule. If you’re seriously worried, you can get free advice from bodies such as Citizens Advice Bureau, the StepChange Debt Charity and National Debtline.
Your Experian Credit Score is a guide to help you understand how your credit history is likely to be viewed by lenders. It can also help you both understand if one partner’s credit history needs a little work before any joint credit applications, such as a joint mortgage, are made.
So the message is clear for men: get yourself budgeting, saving and checking your credit report, and you’ll be even more popular than you are now!
*All data referenced in this article is from Experian’s ‘Money and Relationships’ Survey 2014, carried out online by Canadean Consumer on behalf of Experian Consumer Services among a representative panel of 2,005 UK adults in July 2014.
**EDELMAN BERLAND Experian Credit Score Newlywed Survey Report February 2016 – http://www.slideshare.net/Experian_US/experian-consumer-newlywed-survey
(Blog posted updated 5 July 2016, original version 7 Aug 2014)