6 Ways Your Finances May Be Ruining Your Love Life
Unlucky in love? Your finances could be the problem, according to a new survey by GOBanking Rates.
The financial website recently asked 5,000 people what their biggest financial deal breakers were in a relationship. When it comes to finding true love, being smart and honest about money is more important than how much you make. Roughly 38% of people named overspending as the biggest financial deal breaker, while just 14% said they’d kick someone to the curb if they didn’t make enough money.
“The three biggest financial deal breakers are about equally important to Americans – spending habits, debt and financial honesty,” Elyssa Kirkham, the lead GOBankingRates finance reporter on the study, said. “These are things that the partner has direct control over and can readily change, but if left unaddressed, can cause some of the biggest issues in a relationship.”
Women surveyed had slightly more financial deal breakers than men, selecting an average of 1.7 items from a list of six options, compared to 1.5 for guys. For women, a partner who was too cheap or who was secretive about their finances was a red flag. Men, on the other hand, said they’d be hesitant to pursue a relationship if their partner tended to overspend or had too much debt. The results didn’t vary much by age, but younger respondents were slightly more concerned about getting involved with someone who was too cheap, while older people were more turned off by debt.
Not sure if your money habits are giving potential partners a bad vibe? Check out the complete list of financial deal breakers in relationships, plus our tips for how to fix your less-attractive financial ways.
1. You’re spending too much
Roughly 38% of respondents named overspending as their biggest money-related deal breaker in a relationship. Twenty-seven percent of men said this was their biggest concern, compared to 20% of women.
If your current partner sticks to a budget and is financially responsible, they’re not likely to want to hitch their wagon to someone who spends too freely. You can curb your overspending problem by setting a budget (and sticking to it), using cash for most purchases, and finding ways to reward yourself that don’t involve maxing out your credit cards.
2. You’re keeping financial secrets
Keeping secrets – including secrets about money – is bad for relationships. Thirty-six percent of people surveyed said they’d break up with someone who was too cagey about their finances.
If you’re hiding expensive hobbies, secret purchases, big debt, or even child support payments from your significant other, they’re bound to find out the truth eventually. And when they do, they’re likely to be just as upset by your dishonesty as by the secret itself. While you don’t need to bring your bank statements with you on your first date, a policy of financial openness is good for your relationship as things get more serious. Couples who regularly talk about money are happier than those who don’t discuss financial matters, according to a 2015 TD Bank survey.
3. You have too much debt
Owing a lot of money can put a damper on a budding relationship. Thirty-three percent of people surveyed (including 20% of women) said they wouldn’t want to get serious with someone who had a lot of debt. The issue of debt is an especially serious one for men, who are more likely than women to bring credit card debt into a relationship.
While you probably won’t be able to make your debt go away overnight, having a plan to pay off your bills can show a potential partner you’re financially responsible. You can pay down your credit card debt faster by making more than the minimum payment, getting a side job to earn extra cash, and negotiating a lower interest rate. If student loans are the problem, you can follow the lead of Andrew Josuweit, the founder and CEO of Student Loan Hero, who is on his way to paying down more than $100,000 in education debt.
4. You’re cheap
No one wants to date a cheapskate. While being financially responsible is attractive to most people, coming off as a tightwad is not. Roughly 20% of people said being too stingy was a relationship deal breaker, with women being more likely to see cheapness as a major flaw than men.
While you don’t want to get taken for a ride by someone who’s only interested in your money, too much focus on penny-pinching suggests you’re not invested in the relationship. If opening your wallet makes you squirm, try setting a reasonable budget for dating, so you can spend with less anxiety, and resist the urge to brag too much about your money-saving ways. Or check out this list of ideas for fun, affordable first dates that won’t make you look cheap.
5. You have bad credit
Having a great credit score won’t just make it easier to get a loan. It could also make it easier for you to find a long-term sweetheart and increase the chances of your relationship succeeding (especially if you and your partner’s credit score match), according to data from the Federal Reserve Board. People surveyed by GOBankingRates agreed about the importance of good credit, with 18% saying they’d prefer not to date subprime borrowers.
Fortunately, boosting your credit score is a relatively simple process, though it can take some time if your history is bad. Paying down existing debt will help immensely, as will making payments on time. You’ll also want to make sure you’re not using too much of your total available credit and avoid opening a ton of new credit accounts at once, since both can ding your credit score.
6. You don’t make enough money
Contrary to what some men may believe, not being a big earner isn’t a major deal breaker for most people looking for love. Just 14% said they’d be unwilling to date someone who didn’t bring home a generous paycheck.
Not earning six figures may not keep you from finding your soulmate, but it’s hardly a reason to settle for a job paying less than you’re worth. If you’re ready for a raise, ask for it, provided you can make a strong case for why you should be paid more. You can also take steps to increase your value to employers, like earning certificates and teaching yourself new skills. Or check out our tips on how to negotiate for a better salary when you receive a job offer.