A person's credit standing can impact many aspects of their life, from the amount they pay for all kinds of loans to their finances overall. In fact, it often stretches beyond that into other areas, including their ability to sign up for utilities and even insurance policies. But what many people don't know is that a growing segment of the population also takes this kind of thing into consideration when it comes to dating.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that credit scores and other financial factors are becoming more important to young people who are still dating. A number of reports have shown this to be the case, and while many may not go to the extreme of outright asking a person in whom they may be interested whether their credit score is good, middling or bad, finances are certainly playing more of a role in the dating scene overall.
On some level, it makes sense for a number of reasons. First and foremost, many young people went through many, very real financial difficulties during and even after the recent recession, and may be very wary of someone who doesn't handle their money and credit especially well. Furthermore, this might even become more important as a couple begins to become more serious and starts thinking about being together for the long-term, because at that point, the finances of a boyfriend or girlfriend could begin to affect the other person in a very real way. Finally, if that gets to be the case, one person who has been responsible about keeping his or her obligations limited and credit in good shape could end up attaching themselves to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debt if they aren't careful.
How to get yourself prepared
If you're dating someone and the subject of money comes up, the most important thing for you to do is simply be honest. Trying to hide any aspects of your situation could only create problems down the line, and while some potential partners might be turned off by the fact that you might not have managed your finances perfectly, being up front with the facts will certainly help you both to gain a better understanding of what you're dealing with.
Of course, if the shoe is on the other foot, and it's the other person who has not done all they can to preserve a good credit score, you should also try to be understanding about it. The fact of the matter is that the economy still isn't going very well, especially for young people, and any debts he or she may have accrued in the last few years aren't necessarily entirely that person's fault. For this reason, you might also want to try to avoid being overly judgmental or critical about the situation, as most people probably know their finances aren't in great shape and might already feel bad about what they may have to deal with.
How to right the ship
In either situation, though, you should also know what any person can do when it comes to getting credit back on track relatively quickly and easily. The basics are relatively simple to understand and follow through on. The two largest considerations — accounting for a full 65 percent of your rating — are payment history (how often you pay your bills on time and in full) and credit utilization (the amount of debt you carry when viewed as a percentage of your total credit limits). By making sure all your payments are being sent in on time, and your debts limited to 30 percent or less of your maximums across all accounts.
With the weight those two considerations carry in general, straightening them out as quickly as possible is the fastest way to getting your credit back on track. For instance, if you missed a payment or two in the recent past, making several months or more worth of them on time will help to smooth over those potential speed bumps. Likewise, to reduce your debt quickly, you'll simply have to make larger payments into your balances every month. While that might not always be easy, those who do not make the effort to set aside some additional funds now will only end up paying more — sometimes far more — in the long run.
And finally, when it comes to maintaining a healthy credit standing, one of the most important things you can do is regularly check your credit reports. Ordering these documents a few times a year will help you to better understand where you need to go, and potentially identify any unfair markings that may be dragging down your rating. If you do encounter these entries, you might want to contact a credit repair law firm about the issue, as it may allow you to get the issues sorted out more expediently than you could achieve by yourself.