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Wednesday
Dec262012

MISCELLANEOUS: New York Times, report, credit score now a criterion for dating and courtship, "Perfect 10? Never Mind That. Ask Her for Her Credit Score"....

* New York Times:  "Perfect 10? Never Mind That. Ask Her for Her Credit Score." - From the NYT:

As she nibbled on strawberry shortcake, Jessica LaShawn, a flight attendant from Chicago, tried not to get ahead of herself and imagine this first date turning into another and another, and maybe, at some point, a glimmering diamond ring and happily ever after. She simply couldn’t help it, though. After all, he was tall, from a religious family, raised by his grandparents just as she was, worked in finance and even had great teeth.

Her musings were suddenly interrupted when her date asked a decidedly unromantic question: “What’s your credit score?” “It was as if the music stopped,” Ms. LaShawn, 31, said, recalling how the date this year went so wrong so quickly after she tried to answer his question honestly. “It was really awkward because he kept telling me that I was the perfect girl for him, but that a low credit score was his deal-breaker.”

The credit score, once a little-known metric derived from a complex formula that incorporates outstanding debt and payment histories, has become an increasingly important number used to bestow credit, determine housing and even distinguish between job candidates. It’s so widely used that it has also become a bigger factor in dating decisions, sometimes eclipsing more traditional priorities like a good job, shared interests and physical chemistry. That’s according to interviews with more than 50 daters across the country, all under the age of 40.

Credit scores are like the dating equivalent of a sexually transmitted disease test,” said Manisha Thakor, the founder and chief executive of MoneyZen Wealth Management, a financial advisory firm. “It’s a shorthand way to get a sense of someone’s financial past the same way an S.T.D. test gives some information about a person’s sexual past.”

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Ms. LaShawn, the flight attendant from Chicago, said that she was still shocked that her credit score could sabotage a potentially great date. She had accumulated credit card debt and sporadically fallen behind on bills, and explained that she wasn’t sure of her credit score, but was positive that it wasn’t very good. Days after her failed date, she said, she got an apologetic text message. Her date reiterated that the problem “wasn’t me, it was my credit score.”