What’s Love Got to Do With Credit Scores?

“I think I’m falling in love with you.”

“So, honey, what’s your credit score?”

Ok, so maybe the conversation doesn’t go exactly like that -- but you do need some version of it.

Yes, it’s awkward and wonky, but if you find yourself on a white, sandy beach on your honeymoon and you still don’t know about your partner’s credit history, shame on you.

“The two biggest reasons for divorce: infidelity and money issues,” says John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education at CreditSesame.com

That’s exactly why employers often do credit background checks during the candidate screening process -- because your credit history is a referendum on your level of responsibility.

Now to be clear, employers look at your credit report. They do not have access to your score. But as part of their employment screening, they are searching for delinquent debt. And if you have a lot of it, it can cost you a job.

Same goes for your partner: You should care about his/her money habits and responsibility.

What can a credit score determine?

-The interest rate you get on a mortgage.

-Whether you get assessed a deposit to have the utilities turned on in your home.

-Whether you can even get a cell phone or cable.

So ask the question early on. And both you and your partner should be diligent about checking your credit reports.

“Ask to see it once a month,” says Ulzheimer.

Contrary to popular belief, your credit score does NOT go down every time you ask for a report. (It CAN be impacted by lender inquiries.)

And be sure to check your reports from all three credit agencies: Experian, Equifax and Transunion.

“Checking one is like locking one of the three doors to your house,” says Ulzheimer.

Annualcreditreport.com will get you all three reports once a year for free. And here are a few sites that provide your report monthly, also for free: Quizzle, Creditsesame.com and Credit Karma.

So pay attention. Your credit report matters to all aspects of your life, regardless of how “unromantic” that sounds.

E-mail Tracy your personal finance and tax questions at tracytaxtips@gmail.com.