Psychology and Relationships

Earning less than $30,000 a year is a 'deal breaker' for daters, new survey finds

Delmaine Donson | E+ | Getty Images

One-third of couples don't talk about finances until after marriage, according to a recent survey of 1,000 adults by Western & Southern Financial Group

This is especially alarming because, as it turns out, people do have financial deal breakers when it comes to seeing someone as a potential partner.

When asked what amount of debt or how low a salary would make a potential partner undateable, survey respondents had some surprising answers. Here are two financial deal breakers, according to the study. 

Salary deal breaker: Less than $29,878

This is well below the median annual salary in the United States, which is $37,522, according to 2021 data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Salary was the number one financial trait that respondents wish they had talked about sooner with their partners. 

More than one-fourth, 27.2%, of those surveyed said they only talked about salaries after getting married. And 18.7% said they talked about salaries after getting engaged. 

Student loan debt deal breaker: More than $28,076

This is below the average amount of student loan debt someone with a bachelor's degree has, which is $37,574, according to data from Education Data Initiative.

Men are a little more forgiving of debt than women, the survey showed. For men, $31,179 was a deal breaking amount of debt. For women it was $22,901. 

Personal loans and credit card debt were also a source of friction while dating, according to the survey. 

Ask your partner these 5 money questions

Experts agree that the sooner you discuss finances the better. You and your partner should be on the same page when it comes to long term goals and daily spending. 

Some questions that can help you get the conversation started are:

  1. What are your financial goals? 
  2. What are your financial fears? 
  3. What are your non-negotiable items? 
  4. How will we blend our finances? 
  5. How will we spend or save?

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