I’m sure you are very pretty and/or handsome and excel at witty banter.
But according to a recent study, if you are seriously in debt, your nice hair and charming comebacks may be irrelevant.
Business Insider Intelligence surveyed 2,000 Millennials to learn more about how they think about debt in the context of their love lives and here’s what they found out:
Debt Can Be a Deal Breaker
More than a quarter (27% of respondents) said they would definitely consider a person’s student loan debt before dating them, and another 37% said they might consider a person’s student loan debt before dating.
With average student loan debt per graduating senior hovering around $30,000 apiece, it’s no wonder it’s causing some to pause (though finding a fellow single millennial that’s free of student loan debt also might feel like finding a unicorn).
Men are More Likely to Be Put Off by Debt
When it comes to student debt in a romantic relationship, men were noticeably more likely to consider it as a factor when choosing a partner (32% of men vs. 22% of women).
Dealbreaker Amount: $62,000
When asked how much student loan debt a person would consider a deal-breaker in a potential partner, the average amount was $61,932. This fluctuated depending if respondents considered student loans a factor or didn’t (there was a $20,000+ swing between the two camps).
And if you’re sitting there completely dejected by that baseline, let me tell you as a fellow human that what people say they’ll do and what they actually do varies wildly. If you’ve got a sizeable pile of debt and are looking for a relationship, rest assured: by the time this conversation comes up, that “dealbreaker” amount is not nearly as firm once you’re in it to win it.
And speaking of having that conversation…
Get It All Out On The Table
If you do have debt, when is the right time to bring it up? A study by SoFi showed the jury is out on this one. 29.9% of respondents said to disclose debt once the relationship is exclusive, and a surprising 57.6% said not until you are sharing household expenses.
Wondering what questions to ask? Check out this list of money questions to ask your partner whether you’re newly dating, seriously dating, or engaged.
It may well be a tough conversation, but you can’t build a relationship on a lie. Although, apparently you can try—23.8% of respondents had been lied to, by a date or partner, about how much debt they were in.
Want an example from a real-life couple about how they started talking about money together? Check out the story of Michael and Liz and how they flawlessly navigated this murky subject.
Money Isn’t Everything—Until It Is
In the same SoFi survey, 36.1% of millennials said there is no price that is too high for love. 55.4% said that money isn’t everything, and they wouldn’t dump someone over debt. Awww, love is alive!
If you’re working the dating circuit and feel shame and guilt around your debt, it’s the perfect time to do something about it!
While you are waiting for Mr. or Mrs. Right—take control of the things that you can change—your finances! Get serious about what is most important to you, start tracking every dollar, and make a plan. And when your soulmate sees that you love long walks on the beach and saving for your True Expenses, life will never be the same (we’re not even joking, this actually happens).
If you’re new to budgeting, get started with You Need a Budget! We offer a free 34-day trial, no credit card required, and no commitment needed from this relationship unless the sparks start flying!