The toll that financial struggles can take on a marriage is well-documented, including in our own previous research about married couples and money. But when it comes to Americans who are single and dating, how big a role do financial considerations play in a budding relationship[RF1] ?
We recently surveyed single Americans with prime and non-prime credit (scores below 700) to understand how credit and financial wellness impact dating. The results reveal interesting distinctions between groups: Unsurprisingly, gender affects dating experiences, but our research reveals that financial health also makes a big impact. We dove deep into our findings to get to the heart of singles’ financial heartache.
Putting a price on trust
Across the board, our survey respondents indicated that non-financial considerations like trust, honesty and communication were by far the most important factors in choosing a romantic partner. However, finances do still play a central role when choosing a prospective partner. For example, approximately three in 10 singles admitted to looking into a potential partner’s career information to determine average salary before pursuing a relationship.
Careers vs. crushes
Even among those who did not resort to snooping about salary information, the majority of respondents reported that financial and career stability were important in selecting a partner[RF2] . In general, single women were more likely to feel this way than single men: 81 percent of women with prime credit scores and 78 percent of those with non-prime scores said financial stability was important or very important to them, compared with 66 percent and 57 percent of prime and non-prime male respondents, respectively.
Interestingly, prime women were more concerned with financial stability in general, but non-prime women were more concerned with a partner’s ability to hold down a steady job. Men were more open than women to dating a partner without a job: only 38 percent of men with non-prime credit and 47 percent of men with prime credit would hesitate to date someone who was unemployed, compared with 60 percent and 62 percent of women, respectively.
Hedge your bets
When it comes to money-related romantic pitfalls, non-prime women were the most likely group of respondents to say they’ve had a relationship unravel due to their partner’s finances (35 percent), and also most likely to report that a partner has been dishonest with them about finances (43 percent). This may explain why single women with non-prime credit scores feel so strongly about protecting their financial interests in romantic relationships: 83 percent cited that maintaining financial independence was important to them.
Dating is hard enough, regardless of your financial situation. Add financial considerations – like a lack of access to credit or a romantic partner with money troubles – into the mix, and looking for love gets even more complicated. But in order to establish a healthy, lasting relationship, finances must be part of the picture. Luckily, single Americans seem to recognize that honesty, trust and open communication are the foundation of a strong relationship—for richer, or for poorer.
To learn more about this research and see additional findings, check out the full study.