Column: Credit, Germy Cubes, Good Dates

COUPLING CREDIT: Money matters often stress relationships between spouses or significant others, and a wide gap between two partner's credit scores can become a breaking point.

Rob Anderson, co-founder of, offers the following tips to help couples work through each other's credit, good or bad.

, Own up: Before getting married or making a big purchase with your partner, make sure to share each other's credit score and report. Decide how outstanding debts should be managed in the future.

, Take the lead: If you have the better credit score by more than 100 points, you may want to apply for loans, like a home mortgage or car loan, alone. Your spouse's lower credit score could cause a higher interest rate. If you're the one with the lower score, allow your partner to take on the loan.

, Ride coattails: If one partner has a bad credit, he or she can sign up as an authorized user on the other partner's credit card. Both people will build a better credit score if the card stays in good standing.

, Nurse yours: You and your significant other should keep at least one account separate, so each person can independently build and maintain his or her credit score. Remember, there is no such things as a combined credit score.

MESSY DESK: Women may have better accessorized office desks than men, but more germs are lurking around their computers, according to a recent study.

While the level of germs on office desktops and telephones came in gender neutral, women had three to four times more germs on their keyboards and computer mice than their male counterparts. Desk drawers at women's desks contained seven times more germs than men's.

"What we found is that women seemed to have more stuff in their offices, from makeup bags to pictures of family and purses on their desks," said Dr. Charles Gerba, who led the research at the University of Arizona. "It added up to big numbers for women, even though their offices typically looked cleaner."

However, men didn't make a totally clean getaway. They possessed the germiest item in the office: their wallets.

"The wallet is right next to the rear end, which is the greatest incubator of germs," Dr. Gerba said.

The study also found that lawyers' offices were the cleanest, germ-wise, while the desks of school teachers, accountants and bankers collected the most germs.

University of Arizona researchers gathered 113 surface tests from offices in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oregon and New York City. The study was commissioned by The Clorox Company.

LOVE PITCH: You sell yourself in the board room and on job interviews. Why not sell yourself on a date? Using selling techniques while courting could lead to a love match, one expert says.

"Everybody sells everywhere and people shouldn't shy away from that, even on dates," said Bill Byron Concevitch, author of "Counter-Intuitive Selling: Mastering the Art of the Unexpected."

Concevitch used his advice to woo his wife of seven years. The two carried on a four-month virtual relationship through e-mails and telephone calls before ever meeting.

"I've probably been more successful personally once I understood how these selling tips applied to my life," he said.

, Don't oversell: Don't pack too much information about yourself into the first date or first virtual introduction. You risk sounding self-absorbed.

, Use a "rolling-thunder" campaign: Sprinkle information about yourself over time through a series of e-mails or dates to build the relationship.

, Provide proof: Don't declare your credentials. Instead, tell a story that shows who you are as a person.

, Always underpromise and overdeliver: Don't set yourself up for failure by making promises you can't keep.