In the high-stakes arenas of love and money (or credit scores), building on the latter may well gird the relationship, as Alida Almonte found.
Reality hit when the 33-year old communications manager started to think about buying a home with her boyfriend Jason Giannini, and found that neither of them had pristine credit scores. Indeed, out of a maximum of 850, both scored in the less-than-stellar low 600s.
So, in an attempt to secure better mortgage rates, they decided to have a "friendly competition" to see who could lift their credit scores the highest and the fastest.
Within six months of diligent bill-paying and trimming of debt, they both boosted their scores to the high 600s, and are now proud owners of a single-family home in Deer Park, Long Island.
"Nowadays, credit is part of your brand," says Almonte. "It is also part of your relationship, in terms of the life you want to build together."
Almonte may not have known it, but according to the Federal Reserve - yes, the stately U.S. Federal Reserve - things bode well for her relationship.
The Fed recently looked at the correlation between credit scores and relationship duration, in a working paper entitled "Credit Scores and Committed Relationships" by researchers Jane Dokko, Geng Li and Jessica Hayes (http://1.usa.gov/1PC9Ken). It uncovered some fascinating tidbits.
Money And Relationships
First: Higher credit scores tended to correlate with being in committed relationships and staying together. Check one for Alida Almonte's credit boost. Second: People tend to form unions with partners with similar credit scores. Check two for Almonte.
What didn't bode as well: Having poor credit, or a credit score that was wildly different from your partner.
"We find that the couples' average level and the match quality in credit scores, measured at the time of relationship formation, are highly predictive of subsequent separations," according to the authors of the report.