It’s remarkable just how much our priorities have shifted in our modern society. Then again, maybe things aren’t so different.
Would you require a peek at a date’s credit report before committing to a more serious commitment (or even a second date)? Seems a bit snobby, but it’s really not a new concept. In fact, the only difference in our society today and those of generations ago is the technology.
Old Fashioned Dowry
How many times have we heard of a dowry’s goodies being required prior to a man allowing his son to ask a girl’s hand in marriage? How many “corporate” marriages do we know of that are in name only in order to strengthen two families public image? And we’ve not even started on all the prenuptial contracts that are making lawyers rich across the country. So really, love and money are much more intricately related than what we may want to admit.
There’s no denying the role our credit scores play in our lives. The fact is, our credit scores can easily permeate every aspect of our days. Whether it’s being declined or offered an incredibly high interest rate for a car or credit card, the influences are powerful.
Still, there’s something a bit…icky with a date wanting to know about your credit rating before she invests anymore time. Consider these stories and ask yourself if you’d be willing to cave to the demands or if you’d tell your date to go jump into a pool of credit sharks.
People and Their Credit Score
This first story, courtesy of CNN, makes us wonder why his date even opened her wallet in the first place – did he refuse to pay for dinner?
Jerry is a 50 year old who calls Irvine, CA his hometown. He says dating someone is the time to discern whether that person is financially responsible, “because if it leads to a marriage you could be tied to someone who destroys you financially.” He says it’s easy to determine whether a “girl” has bad credit. He watches when she opens her wallet and then does a bit of practical voyeurism.
I see girls who open their wallet and you see dozens of credit cards and receipts stuffed everywhere and think, ‘maybe they’re not paying attention to their financials.
He then explains that one can sometimes tell you everything you need to know by whether she rents or owns her home or whether to lease or buy their car. A leased car sometimes means they’re living beyond their means, but the practical man that he is,
It probably takes about five to six dates to tell.
Ah, but Jerry is a considerate gent,
I tell them it’s just that we have different lifestyles.
Now let’s meet Lydia, who says she saw her parents struggle financially and that it’s the last thing she wants to do in her own life. “I want to live well and so a date is an interview.” Sometimes it’s a multi-prong interview. If they make it to date two, that essentially means they’ve made the first cut. Wait – isn’t that how the do beauty pageants?
Here’s the thing about Lydia: she doesn’t try to hide her motives.
The way I see it, if something develops into a long term relationship or marriage, I want him to know what my expectations are from the beginning. The last thing I want to do is divorce because of money.
We understand, Lydia – it’s the cold cash and shiny security keys on credit cards that are the ingredients to a happy marriage.
But what about someone who is interested in a potential partner’s credit ratings for a different reason? Debra, a 59 year old widow from Exeter, NH, told CNN about her husband who passed away in 2010. She explains that they both had been conservative with their money and after he passed away, it was even more important to protect the financial security he’d made for her over the years,
I know I have to protect the assets he and I worked for all these years.
She says it comes down to intuition and that running a background check on anyone isn’t really her style. If she decides she’s interested in a man, she simply asks him about his finances. She says it’s only fair to share her own financial history with a potential love interest, too. She’s not as set in her ways about the potential of a less than perfect credit score though.
If the reason they have a low score was really out of their control – like a sickness and mounting medical bills – I would be able to somehow find a balance with that. But if I met someone who had a good job but was reckless with money and credit…I would find myself having to discontinue the relationship.
Whether or not these stories are realistic or fair to those dating these three people is up to them to decide. No one’s suggesting one’s money habits aren’t important; they are. The fact is, there are hundreds of thousands of single Americans who’ve always been responsible with their money, careful with their credit and always planning for their futures – but who also took massive hits from a financial stance during the recession.
They know that despite the kick in the teeth, it’s just matter of time before they’re better able to pick up the pieces. Maybe they’re actually better off knowing the mindsets of those who they’re dating. No one can better understand the frustrations of having to start over with a credit history than someone who once had it all but is starting over at a point in their lives they never could have anticipated.
Only those faced with the quagmire of determining if a date is still worthy of their time after facing the money Q&A know just how frustrating and defeated it is to know they’re being judged on their material possessions.
What do you think? Are you OK with being forced to play 20 Questions with a new man or woman in your life? Or maybe you think those efforts should be as antiquated as the traditional dowry?