In the past several years, many Americans have likely become more aware of the many ways in which their credit scores can impact their financial lives, but more recently, there has been a large and growing trend that it can also impact a person's chances to date successfully as well.
Having a bad credit score can lead to a lot of rejection in a person's life. Lenders can use it to deny them loans and credit cards, utility companies and insurers can cite them when declining to extend services or coverage, and now potential romantic interests may decide to not date them. For these reasons, people who want to make sure they can avoid being turned down for any of these things they may want will likely have to do a little bit of credit repair work to make themselves more attractive. Though some have criticized this behavior as being somewhat cold, it at least makes a little bit of sense from a security standpoint; if one person is thinking of settling down, they might not want to have to deal with the potential hassles that can come with poor financial management.
Who's making these decisions?
The fact of the matter is that many people, young adults in particular, are now placing a greater importance on credit standing, according to a report from CNNMoney. In a lot of cases, this is a problem that won't present itself until a relationship has grown fairly long and the potential for marriage approaches, but anecdotal evidence suggests that some people in their 20s and 30s are being more aggressive in seeking this kind of information.
"If a relationship got to the point where it was serious, I would sit them down and say, 'We need to think about our future. This is where I am financially, this is where you are,'" 33-year-old Vina Goberdhan told the site. "If they have horrible credit, I would probably say, 'I'm not the girl to make you happy.'"
Having a good credit score can obviously come with a lot of benefits, including becoming a more marriageable person in the eyes of many young adults today. But of course there is a difference between simply saying that and actually doing it, so you'll need to figure out where you stand before you proceed with any plans to fix credit that you may have to make.
What this could mean for you
Two of the biggest issues that many young people in particular may face when it comes to their credit standings are missing payments on occasion and having too much debt on hand. This is often because people in their 20s and even their early 30s these days may have relatively low-paying jobs and tend to rely on their credit cards perhaps a little more than they should. Exacerbating the problem for many of these people is the fact that they probably also have large amounts of student loan debt which could be creating a bit of a drag on their finances overall. When it comes to prioritizing these issues, you might find that there's not enough money to go around. If that's the case, it might be wise to create a budget that allows you to reduce your overall costs — whether that means fewer nights per month eating at a restaurant or scaling back your sizable monthly cable bill — so that you can make sure you're meeting all your deadlines on time.
Further, cutting into your debt with larger monthly payments whenever you can afford them will likewise help to improve your standing in terms of what is known as your "credit utilization ratio." Essentially, this is just a measure of the percentage of your total credit maximums that you're using up with your debt at any one time, and the more you owe, the lower this portion of your score will be; you can max it out by carrying balances of just 30 percent of your total limits.
By taking these steps, you might be able to go into any serious relationship knowing that your credit standings will not be an impediment to your future happiness in this way. However, you should also take some time in the course of maintaining your credit to order copies of your credit reports with regularity from each of the three major reporting bureaus. Doing so will allow you to see exactly where you stand — and therefore how much work you have to do — as well as helping you to identify any potentially unfair markings that may be having a negative impact on you without cause. If you notice any such entries on your reports, it might be wise to contact a credit repair law firm about the issue. Doing so may allow you to sort them out in as short a time as possible.