When It Comes to Dating, Money Increasingly Matters

heart-made-out-of-100-dollar-billsTying love to income or financial savvy has long been a taboo topic. People who marry for money are derided as shallow or gold diggers, but responsible money management may be just as important in a relationship as communication or mutual respect. Married couples consistently report that money and financial issues are a source of conflict, and at least one study found that frequent arguments about finances are a significant predictor of divorce. Increasingly, it seems, singles are factoring money considerations into their dating lives. Questions about credit and long-term savings seem well on their way to becoming as commonplace as discussions of favorite books and travel adventures.

The Importance of Good Credit

When credit is tight and lenders are more hesitant to dole out loans, a person’s credit score may become a relationship deal-breaker. If your partner has lousy credit, you could find yourselves struggling to buy a house or drowning in a mountain of credit-card debt. A survey of 1,000 people by FreeCreditScore.com found that 20% of men and 30% of women wouldn’t consider marrying someone with bad credit. The number of singles who consider credit scores is much higher. Fifty-seven percent of men and 75% of women say they consider a person’s credit history before deciding to commit to a relationship.

Money-Management Skills

Money-management skills, such as the ability to live within your means, make savvy investments, and get the most for your dollar, can play a key role in a couple’s lifestyle. Couples with healthy money-management styles can look forward to fewer fights and a more comfortable budget. In one survey, women ranked financial skills as more important or as important as attractiveness, sex, and career goals. Men weren’t far behind women, ranking financial skills as slightly less important than sex, almost as important as attractiveness, and significantly more important than career goals.

Women and Money

Why is it that women seem more interested in finances than men? The potential explanations are as diverse as women themselves, but it may have something to do with gender roles. Historically—and to this day in some places and cultures—women are raised to believe that a man should make more money than a woman and that a woman should stay home with the children. Considering a man’s financial status enables women to evaluate the possibility of such an arrangement. But concern about financial issues isn’t just for traditionalists. Women still make about 80 cents for every dollar a man makes. Perhaps women want to see that they and their partners will be able to support themselves on two incomes. Financial mismanagement could also indicate immaturity and recklessness.

Talking About Money

So when is the right time to talk about money? Many couples discuss money in their first year of a relationship, but it’s not uncommon for it to come up in the first few dates. Some people may start with broad, general topics to get an idea of their date’s stance on money matters, then try to get more specific information as the relationship moves forward. Others may feel so strongly about money matters that they push the issue on the first date as a means of filtering potential mates.

If you’ve made some money mistakes in your past, you’ll need to come clean about them. Not everyone with bad credit is financially irresponsible; a medical bill or identity theft can quickly trash your credit. But whatever the reason for your money problems, to be an attractive romantic partner, you’ll need to demonstrate that you’re working toward resolving them.

References:

  1. Ellis, B. (2013, July 24). Bad credit: A deal breaker for many singles. CNN Money. Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/2013/07/24/pf/credit-score-dating/index.html
  1. Tuttle, B. (2013, August 20). Study: Pinching pennies is good for your dating life. Time. Retrieved from http://business.time.com/2013/08/20/study-pinching-pennies-is-good-for-your-dating-life/
  1. Wood, J. (n.d.). Money arguments are top predictor of divorce. PsychCentral.com. Retrieved from http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/07/13/money-arguments-are-top-predictor-of-divorce/57147.html

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  • blair

    blair

    September 3rd, 2013 at 3:43 AM

    To be very frank with you, most of the men I meet seem like they would much rather remain blissfully ignorant about money rather than have a face to face talk about it.

  • Jason

    Jason

    September 4th, 2013 at 11:38 AM

    I know that there are a lot of young people out there on the dating scene who think that money doesn’t matter and that love can conquer all. . . let me tell ya, don’t fool yourself, money can be one of the biggest deal breakers out there. Have you ever been in a relationship before where there is one person who wants to spend all the time and the other is always wanting to save every dime she earns? Now tell me how well you think that is going to go after a while. There are some things that are impossible to overcome and money differences happens to be one of those things unless you diligently work on those differences and overcoming them all the time. You don’t think that something that you would like to think of as insignificant could make that much of a difference to you, but try dating someone with a totally different mindset and you will be surprised just how quickly that great divide will set in.

  • anthony

    anthony

    September 5th, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    I have to disagree with the post. If money drives two people away that are truly in love then that tells me how screwed up society really is. Please, don’t mistake my belief as immature or reckless. I see it to be quite the opposite. If money is your #1, or as I like to say your “GOD”, then you will tolerate more, go against your own morality or, even worse, allow it to overshadow the attributes of a loved one that makes them great and loving in the first place. In addition, if either or both parties prioritize money as their GOD or #1, it’s destined to fail. Neither party is likely to compromise. Especially if the perception of money aren’t the same.

    On the contrary, if people and/or couples would consider money secondary or a byproduct of true success – love and happiness – then they’re more likely to compromise for the better sake of preserving true wealth – their relationship!

    Fyi- I’m not minimizing money because I don’t have any. I was raised in a poor, poverty stricken city in small town, usa. I’m now a successful business owner that is driven by elements much larger than money. It’s only a byproduct of my success and the insurer of my quality of life. Think about it… it’s what’s wrong with everything. We justify war and death because it’s good for the economy! We want to prioritize, with intellect, money as the #1 feature for dating? Wow! Intellect has 0 influence on love. Love is intuition not intellect!

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