Marriage and money (part one) — Couples’ hindsight after the honeymoon is over
Marriage and money (part one) — Couples’ hindsight after the honeymoon is over
New survey from Experian Consumer Services reveals married adults value financial responsibility more than physical attractiveness in a spouse

Costa Mesa, Calif., June 3, 2014 — Half of married adults say that credit scores were important to them when choosing a spouse, according to a new survey from Experian Consumer Services. In addition, when asked about important attributes when considering a spouse, 95 percent of respondents rate “financial responsibility” as important, with “physical attractiveness” and “career ambition” trailing at 86 percent and 77 percent, respectively. “Personality compatibility” won the top spot of desirable attributes, at 98 percent.

“Survey findings show that once someone identifies a compatible partner, his or her next thought is about how that person manages personal finances, and credit plays a key role in that scenario,” said Ken Chaplin, senior vice president at Experian Consumer Services. “This holds true for both genders, and the study further shows that working toward compatible financial goals matters to the vast majority of married adults.”

In fact, when asked about how important it is to have similar goals, married adults rank financial compatibility high on the list, even slightly higher than sex and intimacy. The full list includes:
Family goals (98 percent)
Life goals (97 percent)
Finances (96 percent)
Sex and intimacy (95 percent)
Career goals (77 percent)
Religion and spirituality (69 percent)
Politics (44 percent)

Communication is key
Married couples talk about many things before marriage, but not credit scores. Survey findings reveal that people talk about income, spending habits, debt, financial goals and even retirement, but only 43 percent discuss credit scores before marriage. More surprising, 43 percent of people talk about credit scores after marriage and 14 percent say they never discuss credit scores with a spouse.

Married couples who keep an open dialogue about credit scores are more apt to agree on how to use credit. In fact, of the 85 percent of respondents who agree about how to use credit as a couple, 88 percent maintain a dialogue about credit scores and 88 percent review financial goals monthly. Women report the maximum amount they would spend before talking with a spouse is $396, while men say their maximum amount is $1,231.

Does this credit score make me look good?
Results show that wives place greater value than husbands on financial dialogue and openness about credit scores, with 73 percent of women and 60 percent of men reporting that having a spouse who is open about personal finances and credit makes him/her more attractive. Conversely, 59 percent of women and 44 percent of men say that avoiding talking about personal finances and credit history makes a spouse less attractive.

Role playing
Survey results show that credit plays the biggest role of importance in marriages when spouses are securing a home loan (55 percent) or applying for good interest rates (48 percent). Other areas of importance include securing a loan to buy a car (42 percent), managing a joint credit account (29 percent) and securing good insurance rates (28 percent). In addition, couples married for more than 20 years report that credit plays an instrumental role in marriage.

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Survey methodology
The data points referenced above come from a study commissioned by Inc., an Experian company, produced by research firm Edelman Berland and conducted as an online survey of n=1,010 married adults nationwide. Interviews took place from April 16–19, 2014. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percent.

Becky Frost
Experian Consumer Services
1 949 202 7296 (cell)

About Experian Consumer Services
The Experian Consumer Services division provides credit monitoring and other informational products, such as identity protection, to millions of consumers via the Internet. The organization enables consumers to monitor their credit reports online, check their credit scores and protect against identity theft. Its products include Experian Credit TrackerSM and ProtectMyID®.

Experian Consumer Services has established integrated, cobranded relationships with leading online financial destinations that provide consumers with a broad range of comprehensive online financial products and information essential to managing one's financial life. For more information, visit

This press release is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal issues or financial issues involved with credit decisions.

About Experian 
Experian® is a leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients around the world. The Group helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft. 

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended March 31, 2014 was US$4.8 billion. Experian employs approximately 16,000 people in 39 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.

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