Forget looks and chemistry, your credit score may be what makes you most attractive to potential partners.

A new survey from Freecreditscore.com finds that 20% of men and 30% of women say they would not marry someone who has a bad credit report.

The survey was among 1,000 adults and shows money management is just as important as appearance when it comes to finding future partners. Respondents worry having a bad credit score in the marriage can damper lending opportunities in the future.

Credit scores are important to future purchasing power, but family law attorney Randall Kessler questions how big a role they play in the dating game.

“Guys will see a hot woman, and they will compensate,” Kessler says. “People don’t think rationally enough.”

Finances are always a top reason for couples splitting up, and Kessler says more people are likely to be open and concerned about cash when they are on a second marriage, or have been burned in the past.

“In a second marriage or relationship they might be honest. The first time around, I don’t think people will. You don’t learn from other’s mistakes, you make your own. Many people say to do a background check or credit check on your partner, but the first time [you marry or date seriously] you often don’t.”

The problem is that many individuals aren’t even aware of their own credit scores, he says. Kessler says he often sees this issue in divorce proceedings, when clients are asked to lay out a monthly budget.

“You have to explain to the judge why you are requesting $4,000 a month [in alimony],” he says. “No one seems to know what they spend per month, or per year. That’s why people have so many credit card problems. If they don’t know what they spend per month, they don’t know their credit score.”
His advice is to bring up financial concerns early on in relationships and be open about money. For those wanting a more stealth approach to assess someone’s financial situation: “Ask your boyfriend or girlfriend to take you to a fancy restaurant, and see how they respond. But, a liar is a liar.”

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