Credit and its effects on relationships - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Credit and its effects on relationships

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Relationship expert Sheila Whalum has been married for nearly 31 years. She has helped couples get through many problems including financial ones.

Something that changes as often as a credit score shouldn't play a big role in who you chose to spend the rest of your life with, she said.

MORE: Edit your credit:

"Couples these days try to say that but they are single. Educated women, educated men but they want this other person to have this high credit score. Single women are putting too much pressure on men these days to have this perfect life and have all of this stuff before you get together. No, if you find love, find love and it will work out."

A credit score of 700 or higher is considered good. Waiting for a mate with that number in the Mid-South could take a while.

The 2013 average credit score in Tennessee is 636. That's down 56 points from 2012.

Mississippi's and Arkansas' credit scores are even lower.

Like the state average, a person's score can go up or down.

"People have hard times, people have gone through bankruptcy, come back and become millionaires," Whalum said.

The number of singles wanting to know their dates' credit score is increasing. Understandably so, monetary disagreements are one of the top reasons for divorce, so some want to know off the bat that they are financially compatible.

But in the end does it really matter?

"I don't think you should penalize someone for their financial status, especially if they are trying to make changes to their credit," said one person. "Of course then the entire globe was affected by economic stress so it's not individuals but companies and countries."

"I think it doesn't matter when you're dating somebody so much as when you're preparing a life together," said another. "I don't think it should be the deciding factor in a relationship. However it is important to have stability."

"I just say if you are honest with the person and you tell them where you stand financially and let them know your financial plans, I don't think it should bear that heavily on the relationship unless your primary goal is to be a gold digger," said another person.
"Sometimes love will run it's course whether we want it to or not."
Whalum says knowing your potential life partner's credit situation is important, and if one or both scores are low, as a couple you should work together to get that score up.

"Your finances are your finances together," she said. "You work together and get it straight. If you love that person, money shouldn't be at the top. Love first, then money."

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