Is bad credit a dealbreaker?

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It all depends. I think people in general need to look at the complete person, and learn how to judge character.

Bad credit doesn't automatically mean "bad person". People who automatically write folks off who haven't always had it all tight and together need a good dose of humility...and humanity. Life is an adventure. We make mistakes - sometimes from ignorance, and sometimes from foolishness. Life throws you some curve balls. You can recover from it all.

With that said, I've noticed with my women friends/acquaintances a willingness to be more open to men who don't have the best financial history - and I know if the situations were reversed, those men wouldn't be as willing.

Having no credit is side-eye worthy - only because too much of what we need to accomplish is dependent on having some kind of credit history. "Cash only" sounds great in theory - and I appreciate the mindset behind it. But in real life, because of how things work, it's not realistic and it seems a tad irresponsible. Your credit history matters...and having a good history is important. It's unfortunate that a person with no credit often has a lower score than someone with tarnished credit.
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Having no credit is side-eye worthy - only because too much of what we need to accomplish is dependent on having some kind of credit history. "Cash only" sounds great in theory - and I appreciate the mindset behind it. But in real life, because of how things work, it's not realistic and it seems a tad irresponsible. Your credit history matters...and having a good history is important. It's unfortunate that a person with no credit often has a lower score than someone with tarnished credit.
Originally Posted by Ninjarette
I know we are talking in generalities here and I'm not saying this is pointed at my post about my boyfriend using cash only, but I feel I have to defend him (and others like him).
Cash only and having no credit can certainly be realistic, good credit doesn't always matter and isn't always important. Cash (and bartering no less) has worked for him his entire career (nearly 40 years). And he isn't the least bit irresponsible. He has had his own small business and owned his property outright for decades and he has raised 3 kids mostly on his own. He will never live in a mansion and will never have a bunch of money in the bank. But that's not everyone's goal in life. It's certainly not mine which is why we get along. I have exceptional credit that really means nothing to me.
I understand that others have different goals and want different things so this 'cash no credit score' life is not for them. But it doesn't mean it's not realistic or responsible for others.
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I'm not sure it would make or break it, but if I knew ahead of time I would consider it.

I wouldn't ask for a credit score, but I'd be interested to know how much debt the person had. I think it says little bit about their responsibility.

I didn't know bfs credit score but I did ask if he had any debts, credit card, loans, etc. If I found out he did, I would have definitely taken that into consideration.


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I have ok credit, but am bad with my money. I have SO much to offer and work very hard at bettering myself financially. I really think it comes down to the individual.

That said I DO look for someone who IS good with money. Two of us in the same relationship would not work well.
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Having no credit is side-eye worthy - only because too much of what we need to accomplish is dependent on having some kind of credit history. "Cash only" sounds great in theory - and I appreciate the mindset behind it. But in real life, because of how things work, it's not realistic and it seems a tad irresponsible. Your credit history matters...and having a good history is important. It's unfortunate that a person with no credit often has a lower score than someone with tarnished credit.
Originally Posted by Ninjarette
I know we are talking in generalities here and I'm not saying this is pointed at my post about my boyfriend using cash only, but I feel I have to defend him (and others like him).
Cash only and having no credit can certainly be realistic, good credit doesn't always matter and isn't always important. Cash (and bartering no less) has worked for him his entire career (nearly 40 years). And he isn't the least bit irresponsible. He has had his own small business and owned his property outright for decades and he has raised 3 kids mostly on his own. He will never live in a mansion and will never have a bunch of money in the bank. But that's not everyone's goal in life. It's certainly not mine which is why we get along. I have exceptional credit that really means nothing to me.
I understand that others have different goals and want different things so this 'cash no credit score' life is not for them. But it doesn't mean it's not realistic or responsible for others.
Originally Posted by jeepcurlygurl

(In agreement)

My father is an old fashioned, no revolving credit, kind of guy. He doesn't have credit cards, or loans, no car payment - he paid for his car in cash, he bought land in cash. I'm not even sure he has a bank account. I swear he keeps his money in his mattress. He's an old mountain man. He paid off his house and owns it outright.

So, no credit, but, owns a nice truck, a chunk of land, and his own home. So it can be done. And I'm pretty sure it's not irresponsible bc he has no debt.
Erm.. I think if I were single, it'd be a total deal breaker for me. When I first started dating my husband, he had a lot of debt, but most of if was school related. We didn't combine finances until he had paid it all off (my choice, but he agreed). I'm a saver, rarely a spender, and I'd have a hard time being with someone who, for whatever reason, had been irresponsible with their money.
Bad credit doesn't equal bad spending. Unless you are independently wealthy, everyone is one financial or medical catastrophe away from having bad credit.
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At my age in life (retired), someone's credit is something I would take into consideration. I have worked too hard and too long for someone to come along and possibly squander what I have built up. I would not be attracted to for any length of time someone who was careless with money and did not have my same outlook. I would be smart enough to use common sense in determining what created someone's poor credit history. I would determine if (a) it was because they used cash for everything, (b) there was some unfortunate life event, or (c) they were just lazy and careless with their money. I don't think this is something that would come up on a first date but would be determined from getting to know someone.

I use credit for everything; i.e., groceries, eating out, gas, etc. I am smart with it and always pay off each bill monthly, therefore, paying no interest. By using credit we actually earn money from a couple of our credit cards. Sometimes I wonder why people who are smart with money don't do this. I think the last check we got was for $150 cash back. Of course, I realize if you don't trust yourself then this isn't for you or if you are financially not in the position to pay off your credit cards monthly.
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Last edited by munchkin; 01-01-2013 at 10:52 AM.
I would have a hard time combining my money with someone who has always lived beyond their means and was in credit card debt. I think people can change in this regard but I would have to see that before getting very serious with someone. I think the way many handle their money is deep-rooted and comes from the way their family managed money. That is difficult to alter just like chronic overeating is hard to change.
I use credit for everything; i.e., groceries, eating out, gas, etc. I am smart with it and always pay off each bill monthly, therefore, paying no interest. By using credit we actually earn money from a couple of our credit cards. Sometimes I wonder why people who are smart with money don't do this. I think the last check we got was for $150 cash back. Of course, I realize if you don't trust yourself then this isn't for you or if you are financially not in the position to pay off your credit cards monthly.
Originally Posted by munchkin
I always wondered the same but then I heard that studies show that everyone, even those who are smart with money and don't accrue debt, will spend more when using credit cards vs cash. So by the end of the year you will have negated any cashback savings you get fron your card.

I still use my cards because its convenient.

To the OP's question: I need to be with someone who is responsible with their money. I don't think I would be asking for credit scores though.


I'd probably want to know why the other person doesn't have credit but that wouldn't necessarily be a deal breaker for me. I have good enough credit to compensate and I don't have any revolving debt. However, nobody can compensate for chronic bad credit or a bankruptcy.
When are women going to face the fact that they donít know their own bodies as well as men who have heard things?

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I use credit for everything; i.e., groceries, eating out, gas, etc. I am smart with it and always pay off each bill monthly, therefore, paying no interest. By using credit we actually earn money from a couple of our credit cards. Sometimes I wonder why people who are smart with money don't do this. I think the last check we got was for $150 cash back. Of course, I realize if you don't trust yourself then this isn't for you or if you are financially not in the position to pay off your credit cards monthly.
Originally Posted by munchkin
I always wondered the same but then I heard that studies show that everyone, even those who are smart with money and don't accrue debt, will spend more when using credit cards vs cash. So by the end of the year you will have negated any cashback savings you get fron your card.

I still use my cards because its convenient.

To the OP's question: I need to be with someone who is responsible with their money. I don't think I would be asking for credit scores though.
Originally Posted by mad scientist
Mad Scientist is correct. It also takes a lot of discipline to pay off your credit card every month. Unless you have a cushion in savings, it's really easy to only pay part of it until next month.
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When are women going to face the fact that they donít know their own bodies as well as men who have heard things?

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Bad credit doesn't equal bad spending. Unless you are independently wealthy, everyone is one financial or medical catastrophe away from having bad credit.
Originally Posted by juanab
Thank you. This thread strikes me as a bit judgemental. Chronic repetitive instances are probably irresponsible. But many people (myself included) have experienced a single financial catastrophe that is pretty difficult to crawl out of in the current economy. I own a house but my SO and I have no other assets, and I'm ok with that for the time being.

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Bad credit doesn't equal bad spending. Unless you are independently wealthy, everyone is one financial or medical catastrophe away from having bad credit.
Originally Posted by juanab
Thank you. This thread strikes me as a bit judgemental. Chronic repetitive instances are probably irresponsible. But many people (myself included) have experienced a single financial catastrophe that is pretty difficult to crawl out of in the current economy. I own a house but my SO and I have no other assets, and I'm ok with that for the time being.
Originally Posted by cosmicfly
I think a better way of saying the bold is that bad credit doesn't always equal bad spending. As I said early in this thread, almost everyone goes through a rough patch where their credit can suffer. However, those isolated instances aren't impossible to recover from. What is difficult to recover from is maxed out credit cards that go unpaid. Whether you have a "good" excuse for it or not, maxed out credit cards are 100% a result of living beyond your means.

Also, take a look at the woman in the article that inspired this thread. She has $150k in student loans and she is an assistant at a non-profit. Her low credit score isn't a result of having $150k in student loans. Her low credit score is a result of taking out too many student loans without a means (i.e. good job prospects) to pay them back. She has a low credit score because she is missing payments.
When are women going to face the fact that they donít know their own bodies as well as men who have heard things?

Don Langrick
Bonsai Culturist
Bad credit doesn't equal bad spending. Unless you are independently wealthy, everyone is one financial or medical catastrophe away from having bad credit.
Originally Posted by juanab
Thank you. This thread strikes me as a bit judgemental. Chronic repetitive instances are probably irresponsible. But many people (myself included) have experienced a single financial catastrophe that is pretty difficult to crawl out of in the current economy. I own a house but my SO and I have no other assets, and I'm ok with that for the time being.
Originally Posted by cosmicfly
I think a better way of saying the bold is that bad credit doesn't always equal bad spending. As I said early in this thread, almost everyone goes through a rough patch where their credit can suffer. However, those isolated instances aren't impossible to recover from. What is difficult to recover from is maxed out credit cards that go unpaid. Whether you have a "good" excuse for it or not, maxed out credit cards are 100% a result of living beyond your means.

Also, take a look at the woman in the article that inspired this thread. She has $150k in student loans and she is an assistant at a non-profit. Her low credit score isn't a result of having $150k in student loans. Her low credit score is a result of taking out too many student loans without a means (i.e. good job prospects) to pay them back. She has a low credit score because she is missing payments.
Originally Posted by mrspoppers
You are correct about the phrasing. My ex husband accrued lots of credit card debt in my name. I thought I would be able to pay it back but then my salary took a huge hit from which it will not recover. I had to file bankruptcy to protect my home. Is there a way I could have stopped him? Maybe... but 7 years out, it is still hard to describe the level of stress I was under the last year or so he was here. His spending was the least of my serious concerns. As far as student loan debt, I know that as a 20 year old grad student, I was very naive and believed what my school told me in terms of what my salary and loan payment would be. Neither were accurate. I think students today are generally more financially savvy though simply because it is easier to access information and research heavily. I'm current on my student loans because a) I have no private loans and b) My job qualifies for some of the newer payment reduction options. Before those were an option, I was making enough for the payments although it was at the expense of putting away an adequate savings.

I would love to shift to a cash only philosophy, but I will have to pay off my mortgage first.

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You are correct about the phrasing. My ex husband accrued lots of credit card debt in my name. I thought I would be able to pay it back but then my salary took a huge hit from which it will not recover. I had to file bankruptcy to protect my home. Is there a way I could have stopped him? Maybe... but 7 years out, it is still hard to describe the level of stress I was under the last year or so he was here. His spending was the least of my serious concerns. As far as student loan debt, I know that as a 20 year old grad student, I was very naive and believed what my school told me in terms of what my salary and loan payment would be. Neither were accurate. I think students today are generally more financially savvy though simply because it is easier to access information and research heavily. I'm current on my student loans because a) I have no private loans and b) My job qualifies for some of the newer payment reduction options. Before those were an option, I was making enough for the payments although it was at the expense of putting away an adequate savings.

I would love to shift to a cash only philosophy, but I will have to pay off my mortgage first.

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Originally Posted by cosmicfly
I wish schools Financial Aid departments would counsel students better on their student loans. I've heard way too many stories where the school told them they can have whatever money is left over after the tuition is payed to use for whatever. That is true, it's a requirement by the Department of Education. However, the students who are given the option of receiving the excess are not told that when they leave school, the repayment balance is going to be significantly higher and harder to pay off.

Cosmicfly, I'm surprised you were quoted a salary that you would be making after you received your degree. The job market changes so much that quoting someone a salary that someone made 2 years ago (if they gave you a summary of the highest, lowest and medium salaries of students who received that degree, then the numbers are usually 2 years old) is completely off base and they can show you those numbers, but they also have to make it patently clear that these are just numbers based off previous grad and to not expect these numbers for yourself. In my college, we cannot even quote a potential salary for a student. I think it goes against our accreditation rules. We always refer them to bls.gov and have them get estimated salaries there, so we don't caught the boom from quoting incorrect figures.

I would personally have a hard time with someone who is missing student loan payments and having it affect their credit. Private student loans I may be more understanding because there usually isn't any way to defer them or adjust the payments to an amount they can handle, but Federal Student Loans have so many repayment options out there, a student should be able to set up a repayment plan that can work with their budget. I have no patience for someone who is not making payments, ignoring or forgetting about the payments or just won't contact the Department of Education to discuss payment options available for them. You don't jack with the Department of Education.
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You are correct about the phrasing. My ex husband accrued lots of credit card debt in my name. I thought I would be able to pay it back but then my salary took a huge hit from which it will not recover. I had to file bankruptcy to protect my home. Is there a way I could have stopped him? Maybe... but 7 years out, it is still hard to describe the level of stress I was under the last year or so he was here. His spending was the least of my serious concerns. As far as student loan debt, I know that as a 20 year old grad student, I was very naive and believed what my school told me in terms of what my salary and loan payment would be. Neither were accurate. I think students today are generally more financially savvy though simply because it is easier to access information and research heavily. I'm current on my student loans because a) I have no private loans and b) My job qualifies for some of the newer payment reduction options. Before those were an option, I was making enough for the payments although it was at the expense of putting away an adequate savings.

I would love to shift to a cash only philosophy, but I will have to pay off my mortgage first.

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Originally Posted by cosmicfly
I wish schools Financial Aid departments would counsel students better on their student loans. I've heard way too many stories where the school told them they can have whatever money is left over after the tuition is payed to use for whatever. That is true, it's a requirement by the Department of Education. However, the students who are given the option of receiving the excess are not told that when they leave school, the repayment balance is going to be significantly higher and harder to pay off.

Cosmicfly, I'm surprised you were quoted a salary that you would be making after you received your degree. The job market changes so much that quoting someone a salary that someone made 2 years ago (if they gave you a summary of the highest, lowest and medium salaries of students who received that degree, then the numbers are usually 2 years old) is completely off base and they can show you those numbers, but they also have to make it patently clear that these are just numbers based off previous grad and to not expect these numbers for yourself. In my college, we cannot even quote a potential salary for a student. I think it goes against our accreditation rules. We always refer them to bls.gov and have them get estimated salaries there, so we don't caught the boom from quoting incorrect figures.

I would personally have a hard time with someone who is missing student loan payments and having it affect their credit. Private student loans I may be more understanding because there usually isn't any way to defer them or adjust the payments to an amount they can handle, but Federal Student Loans have so many repayment options out there, a student should be able to set up a repayment plan that can work with their budget. I have no patience for someone who is not making payments, ignoring or forgetting about the payments or just won't contact the Department of Education to discuss payment options available for them. You don't jack with the Department of Education.
Originally Posted by SunshineGrrl
I was quoted an average salary, but this was in 1995. It was also grad school- all my undergrad was paid either by scholarships or my mom (I went to a state school for undergrad and tuition was really reasonable then) I agree with you about the DOE loans. I'm glad I don't have private loans, I imagine they are much easier to get in trouble with. In the time between my salary decrease and IBR, I was able to get a hardship deferrment. I've never missed a student loan payment.

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It is not a deal breaker for me. I have great credit but my boyfriend has NO credit. Has never had a credit card, pays cash for most everything, has owned his property since right out of high school, has a couple small loans for business vehicles and equipment and that's it. If he were to check his credit I'm sure it would be horrendous. I couldn't care less.

If a guy asked me what my credit score was, THAT would be a dealbreaker. : )
Originally Posted by jeepcurlygurl
I agree!
I have a ridiculously high credit score, but no assets, and little (relatively) money. 80% of my debt is student loans (grad school...undergrad was all scholarship funded). Prior to this I had minimal credit card balances and a car payment that amounted to 85% of my debt. My salary is slightly less (about 100 dollars, net, per month) than what I need to comfortably pay my debts. So I switched payment plans. Problem (temporarily) solved. I will be getting a second job in addition to my 40+ hr full time job until I get a promotion. I agree that the payment plan options through DOE are excellent. I would not get a private loan for college unless I was somehow planning to default on them/file for bankruptcy (I believe these may be the only "student loans" you would be able to (easily) discharge via bankruptcy).

Bad credit is not a dealbreaker for me. I agree that if someone isn't working toward improving their credi capability, that would be more of a problem for me. This is the U.S. after all. Credit is basically the national religion.

I would find it very unattractive if someone asked me about my credit/credit score on the first date.

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Last edited by curlyarca; 01-01-2013 at 05:43 PM.
It depends on the reasons behind the bad credit and when it happened. i think No credit is different then bad credit. being irresposible with a credit card at 18 and learning from it is different then accumilating thousands of dollars of credit card debt constantly and not making an effort to pay it off. Bad credit wouldnt be a dealbreaker, but being irresponsible would be. not paying what you owe would be a deal breaker. imo it shows someone can easily break promises and dont follow through with their commitments. they promise to pay and didnt. losing ones job is a different story from just not giving a damn and not paying.

i would also not marry someone with bad credit because it could mess up my chances of buying a home. a friend was in a similar situation about 5 years ago. her dad had to get the house for her, now she's stuck in an unhappy marriage because she doesnt want her father stuck with the morgage payments. I have a crap load of student loan debt and would never marry someone because i wouldn't want them to feel responsible helping me pay it off.

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