NEW YORK (MainStreet) You may only be a "5" when it comes to looks, but women love you because you're really a 750. We're talking about what may be a critical measurement to a successful love life: your credit score. That big number can be more important than looks, according to a new survey from freecreditscore.com. And it's not just women that want to know how well-endowed a potential mate is financially -- both men and women view financial responsibility as a key component of appeal.
Nearly all women (96%) say financial responsibility is paramount, with good looks a runner up at 87%. For men it's a tighter race, with 92% favoring attractiveness to money management skills (91%). Collectively, financial responsibility is second only to personal compatibility when sizing up a potential romantic partner.
"Both genders consider credit scores and overall financial responsibility when selecting a partner, but women are definitely more focused on those factors," says Ken Chaplin, senior vice president at freecreditscore.com. "Survey results show that 75% of women consider credit scores important, as opposed to 57% of men. 58% of women also agree that a good credit score makes a potential partner more attractive. Conversely, more women believe that a poor credit habit, like spending beyond one's means, reduces attractiveness."
Here's a toss-up men might not want to hear: Women rank financial compatibility just as important as sexual prowess when considering a long term partner (96%).
The study, commissioned by Experian Consumer Services, was conducted by Edelman Berland among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 American adults, split equally among men and women ages 30 to 49. Other key findings:
- Women find financial responsibility (96%) more attractive in assessing a romantic partner than physical attractiveness (87%) or career ambition (87%)
- Women view a person who "is financially responsible" and "pays bills on time" (95% and 92%) as the top two financial attributes when evaluating a romantic prospect's attractiveness.
- Collectively, men and women view "spends beyond means" and "has debt" (88% and 52%) as the least attractive attributes.
- Nearly half of the respondents (48%) discuss their credit score with a romantic prospect or partner, and 39% discuss it within the first year of a relationship.
- Women are more likely to factor credit scores into their dating decisions, with 30% of women surveyed indicating they would not marry someone with a poor credit score.
- 20% of men also said they would not marry someone with a low credit score.
So if you're well-heeled, you're in luck. A majority of both sexes said that "a good credit score makes a potential romantic partner more attractive."
--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet