The Secret of True Love and a Great Marriage -- Credit Scores.
Want real compatibility, true love, and long-term happiness with the right partner? Want a relationship that is...is...SEXY?
Repeat: Credit Scores.
I know what you are thinking: He's lost it, finally, poor guy. Somebody's got to get him help.
Well, I would have thought the same thing if I had not picked up the Feb.13-14 weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal. On page 2 of this professional, highly-respected newspaper was a story by Jo Craven Mcginty with the headline "Looking for Love? Start With Credit Scores."
Ms. Mcginty quoted from an extensive study by Jessica Hayes of the Fed's Consumer Finance Department in which Ms. Hayes wrote: "People who have higher credit scores are more likely to form committed relationships and stay with a partner longer."
Ms. Hayes, with the help of two other Fed researchers, came to this startling conclusion after sifting through the credit histories of 12 million U.S. consumers, identifying romantic partners, and then tracking their unions over a 15-year period.
Bottom line in Ms. Hayes' words: "Credit scores can be a sign of trust and how you deal with responsibility. That can carry over to romantic relationships, especially committed relationships."
None of this surprises Niem Green who runs a website, www.creditscoredating.com. The website matches couples based on their credit worthiness and has 57,000 active members.
Believe it or not, but the highly respected New York Times has also acknowledged the large and growing influence of credit scores as a major factor in dating, romance, and marriages. The Times told the story of Jessica La Shawn, a 31-year-old flight attendant from Chicago, and her experience with a first date.
She described him as tall, from a religious family, raised by grandparents as she had been, worked in finance, and "even had great teeth." In a restaurant on their first date she nibbled on strawberry shortcake and the two chatted. Thoughts of love, romance, and even more overtook her.
Then he asked, "What is your credit score?"
"It was as if the music had stopped," Jessica said. But the young man did feel badly about hurting her feelings. He emailed her that the problem wasn't her. It was her credit score.
Bottom line: in this modern world, credit scores, which incorporate outstanding debt and payment history, has become an all-important number in romance, love, marriage -- and life. Today, one's credit score is routinely critical, not only in male/female relationships, but also in determining home loans, qualifying for a job, and whether one is perceived as a responsible adult.
Alexa von Tobel, chief executive of Learnvest.com, a financial planning firm, says that people are more interested in credit scores than ever before. The Times quoted her as saying, "It is the only grade that matters after you graduate."
More and more people, from the young starting out in life to retirees, no longer fear credit score mention, but accept it as today's reality and even as a good thing. Now many people looking for love, young and old, trot out credit scores on the first date.
Low score: Bye, bye.
High score: Ooh, Sexy!
Nowhere are credit scores worshiped more than at banks. Banks are very wary, to say the least, of making loans to people with low credit scores, 660 and below. At least 750 is okay. The best scores range from 800 to 850.
Now I suppose you want to know my score and that of my wife of 18 years, Barbara. Read on. Maybe I'll tell you. Maybe I won't.
To be honest, over my entire life -- I will be 78 in a couple of months -- I have not given my credit standing a second thought. Over the years, during my first marriage and then as a longtime single man, I bought, lived in, sold and had mortgages on four different homes. I quickly, easily, and routinely got home and car loans. No one ever stamped a credit score on my forehead.
Back to today. Barbara and I recently decided to apply for a home equity line of credit to help pay for a new kitchen in our home that Barbara, on her own, purchased 28 years ago. We have lived together in the home for the 18 years of our marriage. The kitchen badly needs updating, not having anything major done done with it since its purchase.
It would be the last of several major improvements: new living room, new bedroom, new bathrooms, new deck, new roof; all done and paid for. A new kitchen has been a dream of Barbara's for years. Even though we realized a new kitchen would cost a fortune, we decided to do it. "You deserve a new kitchen," I told my good wife, and of course she agreed.
So we went down to TD Bank where we have had a longtime checking account and filled out all the many forms, laying out our financial life histories. Our house was paid off. Our two cars were paid for. We had no debt. Etc. Etc. Etc.
In a few weeks, we got a call that we were approved. We went to the bank where we were met with big smiles from the female managers who had worked with us.
I joked with them. Forget making eyes at me, I'm married. Got that?
They laughed. Here we were playing around and having fun in a bank. Imagine that!
We learned that our credit scores, furnished by the Credit Reporting Agency Experian, were excellent. Barbara's was 807 and mine was 787.
Barbara's credit score better than mine? Humiliating! Guess I have to live with it.
Work on our new kitchen will start in Spring.
P.S. To my wife Barbara: My dear, I just want to tell you that I find your credit score, ooh, ooh, so incredibly SEXY!
So long and keep moving.
NOTE: My latest novel is Something Tells Her. Go to Amazon.
Other E-Books by George Pollock
"State Kid: Hero of Literacy" is fiction based on his real-life experiences growing up in foster homes; "Last Laughs," is the true story of how five foster kids (he and four younger siblings) found their way in life and each other. "Killers: Surprises in a Maximum Security Prison," is the story of his being locked up for 23 hours with killers in a maximum security prison; "I, Cadaver" is about his postmortem adventures and mischief in the anatomy lab at UMass Medical School. “A Beautiful Story” demonstrates the art and process of creative writing as a 16-year-old boy goes all out to write a story that literally saves his life.