Money Talks, So Should You

Quarter-Life Chronicle: I like piña coladas, getting caught in the rain, and good credit scores

Abby Dalton
by Abby Dalton , Dimespring 30

As a child of divorced parents, I can often be accused of being unromantic in the name of long-term security and practicality. “He’s just so kind and amazing,” a friend will muse after a date, and I’ll reply with, “Well, you really can’t tell a person’s character after just one date.” “We’re thinking of moving in together” is met with, “Have you discussed how you’re going to divvy up household finances? Do you know his financial background? Debt levels? Spending habits? Who’s paying for what? How much can he afford?”

It’s not the kind of sober-minded conversation you always want to have when discussing your love life, but I feel it’s necessary. Before my husband and I got married, we discussed household finances, views on spending, logistics around accounts and bills, and how we’d eventually save for a wedding. We’re lucky in that we have incredibly similar financial philosophies, and don’t frequently disagree on how we spend and save our money.

READ: I want to live and work abroad. Where do I start? 

I was therefore intrigued when I found this article on your credit score's impact on dating. Even more surprising was the response I saw from my generational peers to the idea of sharing a credit score during a date, or even a credit-score-based website. My fellow 20-somethings seemed outraged by the fact that something like a credit score could derail a romantic entanglement; And why would anyone even ask about that, anyway?

While I can certainly see the argument that this is a death-blow to romance, I think it’s a little overblown (and frankly, naive) to think that a credit score should be completely removed from your dating life. Should you choose whom you date based on a number, or based on their income or financial history? Of course not  there are other factors at play, and no one is arguing for the death of romance or the pairing up of romantic interests based solely on their credit score.

INFOGRAPHIC: What's the most popular U.S. currency?

But in a country with a 50 percent divorce rate, and money disagreements acting as the main cause of marital problems, I think it’s phenomenal that we’re bringing the money discussion to the table much earlier. Were I still in the dating scene, I wouldn’t discredit someone for their credit score alone; but if they didn’t understand what that score meant, or couldn’t tell me how they were remedying a bad score or rocky financial past, I’d think twice before moving forward with the relationship.

I realize that a huge contributor to the success of my marriage thus far is the fact that money plays such a small role in our relationship; We’re on the same page, so there’s no need to ruminate over and over again or disagree. While millennials might not be rushing to sign up for, I hope this encourages more people to think about money before it’s too late (and too awkward).

Abby Dalton graduated with a BA in English and history in 2008. She’s worked in publishing and the non-profit sector, first in New York and now in the Boston area. She currently works on program coordination at a major university in the northeast, where her husband is a graduate student. They live with their cat, Norman. Abby is a member of the  Dimespring 30, a community of bloggers sharing their thoughts, experiences and perspectives on personal finance.