Psychology and Relationships

This is the No. 1 dating deal-breaker for millennials when it comes to money—it's even more of a 'red flag' than no savings

Criene | Twenty20

Not all debt is judged equally, at least when it comes to dating, according to a survey of 1,000 adults by Western & Southern Financial Group

Credit card debt, specifically, was the biggest dating deal breaker for millennials. But all respondents, regardless of age, took more issue with credit card debt than student loans or even having a low salary

This might be because of the negative character traits often associated with credit card debt, said Nashira Lynton, an AFC accredited financial counselor. 

"When you think about the implications that are associated with credit card debt, like high interest rates, irresponsible spending, financial mismanagement, and a lack of self-control, it's easy to understand why this may be considered a deal breaker," she said. 

Credit card debt is viewed as 'poor financial decision-making'

No amount of debt is easy to talk about. In fact, almost two-thirds of Americans haven't talked to their spouse about money they have borrowed, according to the survey. 

Carrying any debt, no matter how unavoidable, can feel shameful. Credit card debt, though, seems to hold a different stigma, Lynton said. 

"Credit card debt is normally viewed as overspending, poor financial decision-making and lack of financial planning," she said. 

Right after personal loans and credit card debt, lack of financial literacy and irresponsible spending were voted the biggest deal breakers. 

'The only way to know for sure is by communicating'

So how can you tackle the issue of debt as a couple? 

"Of course, the only way to know for sure is by communicating your concerns around the credit card debt and by monitoring the behaviors the person displays," Lynton said. 

Even if your partner reveals they have high credit card debt, don't write them off immediately. 

"Someone with high credit card debt could be working on a plan to get out of it," Lynton said. "But if they are continuing to buy items they cannot afford or do not need, leading them to accumulate additional debt, this could be a pattern that could affect the relationship." 

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