You may not think that the U.S. Federal Reserve is your top choice for relationship advice, but a working paper they've just released reveals some really interesting connections between your bank account and your love life. And it's not about how much money you earn— it's how you handle your money and debt. Turns out that there's a connection between credit score and your love life — and how likely you are to be in and stay in a serious relationship. Really. Maybe there's an Agony Aunt column somewhere in the Reserve's future.
In some ways this isn't surprising. Surveys have shown time and time again that money problems are one of the biggest sources of tension and fights in a relationship and can ultimately lead to breakups. It makes sense lower credit scores could mean more money problems and, in turn, relationships collapse. But the findings were more complex than that. Basically three economists looked at data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Consumer Credit Panel, namely their "risk score." While, as Bloomberg Business emphasizes, correlation does not necessarily equal causation, the findings definitely point to a connection between people's risk scores and how their long-term relationships pan out.
Here's what the survey found:
1. People Tend To End Up With Those With Similar Credit Scores
Probably a good thing considering the fights that can end up coming up around money, it turns out people gravitate towards others with a similar score and, presumably, a similar attitude toward money.
2. People With Higher Scores Were More Likely To Be In A Relationship And Stay Together
So, not only does it affect how likely you are to be in a relationship, it can still be telling well into that relationship. The authors said that in "the relationships that survive the first two years, a one standard deviation increase in the initial average credit score implies a 37 percent lower chance of separation during the third and the fourth years of the relationship." In other words, a bit jump in credit scores means a big drop in how likely you are to break up in years three and four.
3. It Predicts Your Likelihood Of Breaking Up Over Money Matters, But Also Other Things
So, unsurprisingly there was a connection between your score and your likelihood of breaking up over spending differences and financial stress. But, according to Bloomberg "scores are indicative of trustworthiness in general, and couples with a mismatch in credit scores are more likely to see their relationships end for reasons not directly related to their use of credit." Meaning that it's indicator of relationship fights and breakdowns that have nothing to do with money. It's another good reason to watch your spending. Unless it's on burritos. There's always money in the burrito budget.
Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.