When it comes to deal breakers — negative traits in a romantic partner that are bad enough to make a person second-guess a relationship — some of the most important are related to finances. To find the money-related issues Americans dislike most in a partner, GOBankingRates conducted a Google Consumer Survey that asked adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to choose their biggest financial deal breakers of the following:
- Doesn't make enough money
- Poor credit
- Secretive about finances
- Too cheap
- Too much debt
Of these deal breakers, residents in half of the states said that overspending would be their biggest deal breaker. This answer is followed by being secretive about finances, which residents of 19 states and the District chose as a top deal breaker, and too much debt, which was selected as the biggest deal breaker in 12 states (these counts include states in which two deal breakers tied with equal votes). Lastly, for residents of just one state, poor credit is the biggest financial red flag in a relationship.
Click through to see the top money deal breaker in your state.
For Alabamans, a partner with too much debt would be a top financial deal breaker. Living in a state that struggles with local government debt, it might make sense that Alabama residents would be more wary of this financial trait. The state budget fell $250 million short in 2015, which prompted Alabama Senator Paul Sanford to launch a crowdfunding effort with a GoFundMe page in August 2015. A typical Alabama resident carries about $4,817 in credit card debt, according to TransUnion data as reported by Value Penguin in 2016, which is near the national average.
Alaska has the highest average credit card debt per capita of any U.S. state at $6,910, according to TransUnion data. The state also has a high cost of living, the fourth-highest in the nation, which means its residents are more likely to live paycheck to paycheck, according to a 2015 GOBankingRates study. Between these two trends, it makes sense that more Alaska residents would be wary of partners who overspend, the top financial deal breaker in the state.
Keeping money secrets can be damaging to any relationship, yet 46 percent of people admit keeping a financial secret from their partner, according to a survey from TODAY.com and SELF magazine. Arizona residents most often say that they are turned off by a partner who is secretive about finances. This puts Arizona among the 20 states where being secretive is the biggest financial deal breaker in romantic relationships.
People living in Arkansas say that the biggest money deal breaker in a relationship would be a partner who overspends. As the second least money-savvy state, Arkansas residents are some of the worst at managing their money and also have weaker financial knowledge compared with other states, according to another 2015 GOBankingRates study. Good spending habits are the basis of financial health, however, so a significant other who has fundamental money management skills is important to the foundation of a financially sound partnership.
The state also has the second-highest divorce rate in the nation, with 4.8 divorces occurring in 2014 for every 1,000 residents in Arkansas according to CDC divorce rate data. On the other hand, Arkansas also has a high marriage rate of 10.1 marriages in 2014 for every 1,000 residents, according to CDC marriage data.
As the No. 2 state most likely to live paycheck to paycheck, according to the 2015 GOBankingRates survey, it's fitting that a partner who overspends is the top financial deal breaker for Californians. With budgets already tight and the state's high cost of living, California residents can't afford to have their money stretched further by a significant other who can't control the urge to overspend.
For Coloradans, being secretive about finances is the top financial deal breaker in a partner. Couples who keep financial purchases or debts from each other can be damaging to relationships. With residents who have some of the biggest credit card balances of $5,625 on average, according to TransUnion data, openness between partners can be key to addressing issues like debt together, while being secretive can only make it worse and cause problems within a partnership.
Facing some of the highest costs of living in the U.S., according to CNBC, and highest balances of credit card debt — $5,617 per person on average — Connecticut residents are rightly concerned about their partners' bad spending habits. Those in Connecticut choose overspending as the biggest financial deal breaker in a relationships. There might be wisdom in this preference, as the state also has one of the lowest divorce rates in the nation, at 2.6 divorces per 1,000 residents in 2014, according to CDC data.
The financial deal breaker that the most Delaware residents chose is being secretive about finances. But having open and honest conversations about finances could be challenging for those who live in Delaware, as they lack a strong financial education, ranking 44th in the nation for financial knowledge and education according to a 2015 WalletHub survey.
District of Columbia
By far, residents of the District are most turned off by partners who are secretive about money. The second-most common financial deal breaker in D.C. is "doesn't make enough money." Couples in the District might be onto something, as it has the fifth-lowest divorce rate in the nation of just 2.6 divorces per 1,000 residents in 2014, according to the CDC.
As a state where residents are more likely to live paycheck to paycheck, according to GOBankingRates' 2015 study, Florida residents seem to be aware of partners' spending habits, selecting overspending as their biggest relationship deal breaker. With necessities eating up all but 21 percent of each paycheck on average in this state, Floridians will need to watch their budgets more closely to get ahead of their finances.
Georgians' most common financial deal breaker is a partner who overspends, showing that they value a partner who is focused on living within their means. Almost as many Georgia residents selected "secretive about finances" as their biggest money issue in romantic relationships, showing a high value is placed on financial fidelity as well.
Hawaii is the state where people are most likely to live paycheck to paycheck, with just 7 percent of each paycheck left over after necessities, according to the GOBankingRates study. With so little wiggle room in their budgets, Hawaii residents can't afford debt, which might be why "too much debt" is the biggest financial deal breaker in this state. TransUnion data also indicates that those who live in Hawaii tend to have higher credit card balances than most, averaging $5,141 per person.
Despite high costs in the state, Hawaii has the second-highest marriage rate in the nation, with 17.7 marriages in 2014 per 1,000 residents, according to CDC data. However, many of these marriages can probably be attributed to destination weddings rather than to locals, creating a higher marriage rate in the state.
Idaho has the third-lowest living costs in the U.S., according to CNBC, making it one of the easiest states in which to avoid paycheck-to-paycheck living. Even with low costs, Idaho residents are still aware of the importance of spending habits and how they affect relationships. When it comes to romantic connections, Idahoans say overspending is their biggest financial deal breaker.
More marriages last in Illinois, which has the second-lowest divorce rate of any state with just 2.2 divorces per 1,000 residents in 2014, according to CDC data. Perhaps a sign of good communication in those marriages, Illinois residents picked "secretive about finances" as the biggest money deal breaker in a romantic partnership.
Neighbors of Illinois, Indiana residents also said that being secretive about finances would be their biggest financial red flag in a relationship. Unlike Illinois, however, Indiana has a low cost of living — the fourth-lowest in the nation, according to rankings from CNBC — which might ease concerns about overspending and debt for residents of this state.
For residents of this state, overspending is the most common financial deal breaker. Overall, Iowans have strong finances. They are second-least likely to live paycheck to paycheck, thanks to higher incomes and a low cost of living. One of the effects of strong financial foundations might be better relationships, as Iowa also has the lowest divorce rate in the U.S. according to the CDC — 1.5 per 1,000 Iowa residents in 2014.
Kansas residents have some poor money habits, found a 2015 GOBankingRates study, and the state has some of the highest rates of households that live beyond their means, often going into debt. Debt seems to be on the minds of Kansas residents: Too much debt is the top financial deal breaker for people dating in this state. Interestingly, this trend of poor financial management is present despite Kansas residents earning a relatively higher income compared with the local cost of living, which makes it one of the easiest states in which to avoid living paycheck to paycheck.
Kentucky is another state with residents who have lackluster money management skills, ranking as the No. 4 least money-savvy state in GOBankingRates' 2015 survey. Kentucky residents particularly fall short on emergency savings, with two-thirds saying they have no such savings. With many Kentucky residents just an emergency away from being broke or in debt, clear communication between couples is vital to talk through and resolve money issues. That might be why the state's No. 1 financial deal breaker is being secretive about finances.
Louisiana residents have the second-worst financial planning and daily habits, according to the 2015 report from WalletHub. Louisiana has low rates of divorce, with just 2.3 divorces per 1,000 residents in 2014, according to CDC data, but with many residents lacking basic money skills, it's important to be looking for financial red flags in a romantic partnership. This might lend merit to Louisiana residents' biggest financial deal breaker being overspending.
As a state where residents are more likely to live paycheck to paycheck, Maine has higher costs of living without sufficiently high incomes to match. The GOBankingRates survey ranked Maine at No. 16 among the states most likely to live paycheck to paycheck. With tighter budgets, it's fitting that Maine residents' biggest financial deal breaker is a partner who overspends.
Residents of Maryland are equally turned off by partners who overspend and those who have too much debt, both of which are key factors in having healthy household finances. These deal breakers are evidence of Marylanders' strong financial habits, which the WalletHub report ranked as the fourth-best in the nation. This focus can potentially help couples avoid too much financial conflict, which could be a reason why Maryland has a low divorce rate of just 2.5 divorces per 1,000 residents in 2014, according to the CDC.
The cost of living in Massachusetts is the eighth-highest in the nation, according to CNBC rankings, which makes it one of the states where GOBankingRates reported that residents are most likely to live paycheck to paycheck. With Massachusetts residents facing high costs and tight budgets, they chose overspending as their top financial deal breaker. Luckily, people living in Massachusetts have the second-best financial planning and habits of any state, according to the WalletHub report.
Michigan residents are the most turned off by partners who are secretive about finances, though they are nearly as concerned with partners who overspend or have too much debt. All three of these concerns are likely to make a person unattractive when dating in Michigan.
With a high median household income and low costs of living, Minnesota residents have some of the roomiest budgets in the U.S. and are the least likely to live paycheck to paycheck. It make sense, then, that their biggest financial deal breaker is related more to the relationship side than money. Trust is a big deal for romances in this state, where residents picked "secretive about finances" as the biggest money issue in a relationship.
Mississippi residents face a lot of financial struggles and stress. As the state with the highest rates of poverty, lowest incomes and lowest levels of financial knowledge, Mississippi couples are more likely to face financial hardships that can negatively affect a relationship. And couples who start a relationship with debt are already financially burdened. Perhaps that's why Mississippi residents are wary of romantic partners who have too much debt.
Missouri residents are the third-least likely to live paycheck to paycheck, as ranked by the 2015 GOBankingRates study. The typical resident has a comfortable financial cushion of 39 percent of each paycheck left over for discretionary spending and saving after necessities are covered. When it comes to a relationship, Missourians say a partner who's secretive about finances is their No. 1 money deal breaker.
A typical Montana resident enjoys a surplus of $723 leftover of each paycheck, which means most couples in this state have roomy budgets. Even so, overspending is still the most commonly chosen financial deal breaker by Montanans, followed by having too much debt.
Nebraska residents' finances overall are in fairly good shape. They are among the 10 states least likely to live paycheck to paycheck, as ranked by GOBankingRates, and have some of the lowest credit card balances — $4,298 on average, according to TransUnion data. These trends mirror Nebraskans' top financial red flags in relationships, a tie between overspending and too much debt.
Nevada, on the other hand, has residents who are among the least money savvy. This issue might contribute to the state's divorce rate of 5.3 per 1,000 residents in 2014, which is the highest in the U.S. Nevada also has the highest marriage rate in the nation, 31.9 per 1,000 residents in 2014, likely due to the ease of getting married in this state, which has made it a top destination for weddings. For Nevada locals, overspending is the biggest financial deal breaker when they are in a relationship.
This state has the highest average credit score of 636, according to Credit Karma, showing that New Hampshire residents know the value of building strong credit and look for this trait in others. In fact, New Hampshire is the only state that picked poor credit as the top financial deal breaker over the most popular answers overall of overspending, too much debt and being secretive about finances.
New Jersey residents have some of the biggest credit card debts, with an average balance of $5,484 according to TransUnion data. With high levels of debt prevalent in this state, New Jersey locals are wary of getting involved with someone who struggles with this problem. "Too much debt" is the No. 1 financial deal breaker for relationships in this state.
People who live in New Mexico see keeping money secrets as the biggest financial problem in a relationship. Overall, residents of New Mexico are among the least financially literate in the nation, according to the WalletHub study.
New Yorkers are burdened with the third-highest cost of living of all 50 states as ranked by CNBC. High costs also are the main factor that put New York at No. 3 among states where paycheck-to-paycheck living is most likely, found GOBankingRates' 2015 study. New York residents might struggle trying to keep up with high costs, which is probably part of the reason that the top financial deal breaker in this state is overspending.
North Carolina residents have some of the highest credit card balances, owing $5,548 on average. People with credit card debt should be upfront about it in a romantic relationship, however, as keeping money secrets is the top financial deal breaker for this state. North Carolina residents also might want to work on spending habits to help their relationships succeed, as overspending was selected as a deal breaker almost as much as financial secrecy.
Money management is an area where North Dakotans excel, which made it the most money-savvy state in a 2015 GOBankingRates study that found that North Dakota has low rates of debt delinquency. The state also has a lower average credit card balance, around $4,011 per resident, according to TransUnion data. When it comes to romantic relationships, most North Dakota residents chose overspending as a money deal breaker.
Ohio residents say that secrecy about finances is their biggest financial deal breaker in a relationship. The second biggest financial deal breaker in Ohio is having too much debt, followed closely by poor spending habits.
Living in a state with a relatively high divorce rate of 4.5 per 1,000 in 2014, Oklahoma residents should be particularly wary of financial issues that can cause problems in their relationships. Overall, their top money turnoff in a relationship is a love interest with too much debt. If that sounds like you, the good news is that Oklahoma's low cost of living could help you put more cash toward paying debts off and making yourself a more attractive partner.
With the seventh-highest cost of living in the U.S., according to CNBC, Oregon residents have to be more careful with their money and have less room in their budgets for bad financial habits or mistakes. Part of being intentional with finances is communicating well with a significant other on this topic. Being secretive about finances is the most common financial deal breaker for residents of this state.
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If you're planning to do much dating in Pennsylvania, you should work on your spending habits, as overspending is the top financial deal breaker in this state. The second least attractive money quality to Pennsylvanians is too much debt, followed by being secretive about finances.
Rhode Island has one of the highest costs of living in the U.S., and high prices on housing and transportation put it at No. 8 among states where residents are the most likely to live paycheck to paycheck. In Rhode Island, the top financial deal breaker for couples is too much debt, followed by a tie for overspending and poor credit.
South Carolina residents are some of the least money savvy in the nation, found the 2015 GOBankingRates study. They are more likely to turn to costly alternative financial services over a bank, and they save and invest less. When it comes to dating, overspending and being secretive about finances tie as the two biggest financial deal breakers in South Carolina.
With some of the lowest credit card balances in the U.S., averaging $4,236, according to TransUnion data, South Dakota residents like to avoid their own debt — and others' debt. Too much debt is a top financial deal breaker for South Dakotans, tied with being secretive about finances.
Residents of Tennessee enjoy the second-lowest cost of living in the U.S., according to CNBC. Lower costs give Tennesseeans more room to work on practicing good spending habits, which could be beneficial for those looking to find a partner or strengthen their relationship, because overspending is the biggest financial deal breaker in the state.
Texas residents have lackluster financial habits and money management skills, ranking in the bottom 10 for these factors in the WalletHub study. In romantic relationships, Texans are most concerned about partners' spending habits, naming overspending as the most common financial deal breaker in the state.
Utah residents' biggest financial deal breakers are tied between overspending and being secretive about finances. Overall, people in Utah have strong financial habits, and they also are among the least likely to live paycheck to paycheck. The state ranked No. 3 on GOBankingRates' 2015 list of the most money-savvy states. It also has strong financial education, which puts it at No. 1 as the most financially knowledgeable and educated in the nation, according to the WalletHub study.
The top financial deal breaker for Vermont residents is a partner who keeps money secrets. This concern doesn't slow down Vermont residents' relationships much, however, as the state has one of the highest marriage rates in the nation — 8.7 marriages per 1,000 residents in 2014, according to the CDC.
Virginia residents are some of the most well educated and knowledgeable on financial topics, ranking third for financial education in the WalletHub study. Similarly, GOBankingRates' study ranked Virginia as the fifth-most money-savvy state in the U.S., with 78 percent of residents living within their means. These financial traits fit with state residents' view that overspending is the biggest financial deal breaker in a relationship, which Virginians chose much more often than other deal breakers.
If you're dating in Washington, you should probably work on being more open about your finances, as being secretive about money is the most commonly chosen financial deal breaker in the state. If you struggle with debt as many people in Washington do — the average credit card balance in the state is $5,269, according to TransUnion data — that could also be an issue. Too much debt is the No. 2 financial deal breaker for Washington residents.
West Virginia's top financial deal breaker is being secretive about finances. Perhaps they feel similarly to the 60 percent of people who view financial fidelity and honesty as important as sexual fidelity, according to the TODAY.com and SELF magazine survey. West Virginia residents should be looking out for such issues in their relationships; the state has a higher divorce rate than most, according to CDC data.
The typical Wisconsin resident has a higher credit score of 627, according to Credit Karma averages, and lower levels of credit card debt at just $4,327, according to TransUnion data. Those who live in Wisconsin are mindful of their debt, and this carries over to relationships: Having too much debt tied with overspending as the top financial deal breakers in this state.
Wyoming residents are equally as likely to say overspending and too much debt are financial deal breakers in a relationship. With one of the highest divorce rates in the nation — 4.6 divorces per 1,000 residents in 2014, according to the CDC — Wyoming couples might have more of a need to identify financial disagreements early on and work together to solve them.
Methodology: These findings are the result of a Google Consumer Survey that collected answers from 5,003 respondents from Dec. 30, 2015, to Jan. 1, 2016. The survey posed the query, "Which of the following are the most significant financial deal breakers for you in a relationship? (Choose those that apply)" and allowed respondents to choose "none of the above" or one or more of the following six responses, displayed in random order: (1) "doesn't make enough money," (2) "overspending," (3) "poor credit," (4) "secretive about finances," (5) "too cheap," or (6) "too much debt." Analyses are based on all responses, excluding "none of the above" answers. For analyses related to age and gender, this findings only report on responses for which Google provided the relevant demographic information.