Check Your Credit Score - Your Relationship Could Depend On It

Your credit score is much more than a number, and you're in good company if shining a light on your relationship with money feels vulnerable. Capital Group's 2018 study of 1,202 people found that "people are more comfortable talking about marriage problems, mental illness, drug addiction, race, sex, politics, and religion than they are about money." It's interesting to note that, among the list of 12 subjects, people of all ages and genders consider household income, retirement savings, and debt to be the most sensitive topics. Let's do something to make it an empowering conversation instead.

At the most basic, practical level, Equifax defines your credit score as a predictor of how likely you are to pay your bills on time. If you need a new credit card or dream of buying a car or a house, your credit score affects your creditworthiness, whether or not you can get a loan, and how favorable your interest rates will be.

Additionally, landlords might look at your credit to predict how consistent your rent payments will be. Even utility companies may run a report and ask for a deposit if your credit score is low. A credit score of 300 to 579 is poor, 580 to 669 is fair, 670 to 739 is good, 740 to 799 is very good, and 800 to 850 is considered excellent. So, how does your relationship depend on your credit score? Communicating about it can both test or deepen your commitment.

Have a money talk to strengthen your relationship with yourself

Having a frank conversation about money doesn't have to be a rip-the-Bandaid-off type of moment. Instead, it could actually provide a roadmap that fosters greater intimacy and closeness, not only with your partner but with yourself.

Looking at your credit score — which you can get for free every year from the three consumer reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) by visiting one site, — is an important step in gaining greater self-awareness. Self-awareness combined with self-compassion helps us to make healthier choices when we need to.

Don't take it too hard if your credit score is low, because you can repair it. Would you shift your spending habits away from spending excessively into a longer-term strategy geared toward your obligations? As your relationship with your partner gets more serious, how responsible you both are, the ability to plan for life-changing joint purchases, and how elegantly you can discuss it together can predict the success of your partnership. Money is often cited as the number one reason for divorce.

A snapshot of how to talk about money with your partner

Once you've taken a look at your own finances and made adjustments to help you feel more steady, you might want to discuss money with your partner, especially as your relationship evolves into a true partnership.

Considering how loaded the topic can be, tact is your best friend. You're not conducting an interrogation, but rather, you're making sure you both feel at ease speaking openly about your individual concerns, deciding who pays for what, and what you may purchase together in the future.

What life season we're in and our readiness (or not) for a commitment determines the duration and vibe of any relationship. A healthy partnership usually includes love, deep listening, and give-and-take. If one of you has debt, makes a lot more money than the other, or finds yourself disagreeing about how to handle joint finances, having an open discussion can establish common ground, create more intimacy, help you improve your own habits, or reveal that you may not be compatible. It's a courageous conversation, but worth having as you decide what's right for your marriage or partnership.