Personal Finance

How to tell if you and your date are 'financially compatible'

Key Points
  • The vast majority of singles say that someone with bad credit is a turnoff.
  • In fact, the higher your credit score when a relationship starts, the less likely you are to break up after the first few years, according to research by the Federal Reserve Board.
  • With Valentine's Day coming up, this is a good time to get your finances in order.
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It's easy to get swept up in the romance of Valentine's Day. Yet, all the heart-shaped chocolate in the world can't make love last.

What's more defining is your financial compatibility, studies show.

The vast majority of those in a recent poll said substantial credit card debt is a turnoff and bad credit, in general, is a red flag, according to WalletHub.

More than a third, or 38 percent, of adults would not date someone with bad credit, WalletHub found. And more than half, or 53 percent, of those surveyed would not marry someone with bad credit. WalletHub polled more than 700 adults at the end of January.

According to a separate study by, 72 percent of respondents would reconsider a romantic relationship if the person had unsettled debt, particularly from credit cards.

"While debt is undoubtedly a turnoff, not all debts are viewed as equally unappealing," said Finder consumer advocate Jennifer McDermott. "For example, credit card debt is the No. 1 debt deal breaker, but only around the $12,000 mark, meaning those with small amounts owed might still pass muster."

Still, "singles with unsettled loans might want to sort out their balance sheets before hitting the dating scene," she added.

Most couples plan to start married life in the red

In fact, the higher your credit score when a committed relationship starts, the less likely you are to break up after the first few years, according to research by the Federal Reserve Board. Well-matched credit scores also bode well for a long-lasting love.

Credit scores reveal an individual's relationship skill and level of commitment, the report concluded.

Those with the highest credit scores were most likely to form long-lasting committed relationships, the study showed. And the greater the mismatch between a couple's credit scores, the more likely they are to separate within the first five years.

"This result arises, in part, because initial credit scores and match quality predict subsequent credit usage and financial distress, which in turn are correlated with relationship dissolution," the Federal Reserve Board's report said.

Couples with poorly matched scores may face challenges in jointly managing household finances, such as managing debt, paying bills or saving for a rainy day fund, particularly in their first few years together, according to the report.

With money at the root of a lot of relationship issues, it's no surprise that a date with credit problems doesn't bode well.

However, "not everybody walks out of college with a six-figure income," said Jay Ferrans, president of JM Financial & Accounting Services in Southfield, Michigan. It's more important to demonstrate fiscal responsibility and communicate your long-term goals, he added.

Above all else, "be honest," Ferrans said. "Financial secrets are a great way to torpedo any relationship."

More from Personal Finance:
Do you know your net worth? Here's how to figure it out
Some taxpayers still face a 'marriage penalty' despite fixes to the tax code
Here's how to avoid accidentally disinheriting your kids after a remarriage

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