Do nice people have lower credit scores?

Recently a study was conducted by researchers from three universities – Louisiana State University, Texas Tech University and North Illinois University – to determine if there is any correlation between credit scores and personality and job behavior. Their finding were that there was a correlation between credit scores and personality, but not with credit scores and job behavior.

Credit scores and personality

According to the research being agreeable or friendly is related to those with a low credit score. In other words, nice people have lower scores. The explanation is that someone who is nice is more likely to co-sign for a credit card or loan for a friend or family member. They don’t turn down the sales clerk who asks them to apply for a credit card.

On the other hand, someone who is selfish, rude and or disagreeable will have higher credit scores. They are less likely to agree to co-sign for a loan or apply for a store credit card; they aren’t afraid to say no.   The study did find that conscientiousness is related to good credit.

Credit scores and job behavior

The research found no correlation between credit scores and job behavior, such as stealing or defiant behavior. This is not surprising, since credit scores are not sold with employment reports. Credit scores were not developed to predict what type of employee someone would be. Credit scores predict credit risk not job behavior.

Personality and earning potential

Another interesting outcome of the research was the correlation between earning potential and personality.  The explanation is that disagreeable people are more demanding on the job, ask for raises and are more highly compensated.  Those that are agreeable are less likely to be aggressive and get ahead but are well-liked.

I don’t believe that everyone who has a high credit score is rude and disagreeable.  I have a high score and I am neither.  You can be responsible and pay your bills on time and still be nice.

Credit Damage Expert, John Ulzheimer, is the President of Consumer Education at SmartCredit.com, the credit blogger for Mint.com, and a Contributor for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.  He is an expert on credit reporting, credit scoring and identity theft. Formerly of FICO, Equifax and Credit.com, John is the only recognized credit expert who actually comes from the credit industry.  Follow him on Twitter here.