Poll: What Are Americans’ Biggest Financial Dealbreakers in Relationships?

Valentine’s Day is approaching, one of the pricier holidays for couples; the National Retail Federation found that consumers will be spending an average of $142 celebrating the holiday this year. 

That kind of spending — indeed, money in general — can be a huge source of stress for couples, whether they’re newly dating or years into a marriage. To find out what the exact pain points are for couples when it comes to money, GOBankingRates conducted a Google Survey asking 1,000 respondents the following question:

What is the No. 1 financial quality that you don’t want in a romantic partner?

Below are the findings.  

Overspending 24.30%
Secretive about finances 19.64%
Too much debt 19.17%
Too cheap 11.51%
Poor credit 9.05%
Doesn’t make enough money 8.20%
No long-term savings plans 8.12%

>>Read: Here’s Why Your Partner Lies About Money

Overview of Poll Findings

The number of people concerned with a partner’s income was relatively small — just over 8 percent. It seems poll respondents were more concerned with three main factors:

  • Overspending: 24.3 percent of respondents selected this as their top concern.
  • Debt: 19.2 percent said “too much debt” would be their biggest financial dealbreaker in a relationship.
  • Communication: 19.6 percent said being “secretive about finances” was the least attractive financial quality in a romantic partner.

Gender Breakdown

Males were approximately 42 percent more likely than females to select “overspending” as the No. 1 financial quality they don’t want in a partner.

Females were approximately 20.2 percent more likely than males to choose being “secretive about finances” as their biggest relationship pet peeve. They were also 27.5 percent more likely to choose “too cheap,” 11.1 percent more likely to choose “too much debt” and 45.4 percent more likely to choose “doesn’t make enough money.”

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Age Breakdown

“Too much debt” was of most concern to 45-54 year-olds, an answer more than a quarter of them (25.3 percent) chose. The oldest three age groups (45 and up) were far more concerned with debt than their younger counterparts. There was a also very strong positive correlation between age and percentage of respondents answering with “secretive about finances” (a Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.71), showing that as Americans progress in life they value financial honesty and transparency.

“Overspending” was a universal concern; 45- to 54-year-olds were the only age group to not select this answer most often.

18 to 24-year-olds were the most likely of all age groups to be concerned with their romantic partner “not making enough money.”

The three younger age groups (18 to 44) were approximately 54 percent more likely than respondents 45 and up to give the answer “no long-term savings plan” as their biggest financial dealbreaker.

Read: 7 Ways to Save Money on Valentine’s Day Flowers

Income Breakdown

Respondents from the lowest income bracket ($0-24,999) were more than twice as likely than all other income groups averaged to choose “doesn’t make enough money.”


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