Debt Levels and "Marriageability"

March 1, 2024 at 1:36 p.m.

A new poll by finds that Washingtonians with a debt of $54k or more are not considered "marriage material." The poll also found that the majority believe that lying about money is worse than misrepresenting one's age. Over half believe married couples should have separate bank accounts.

It’s a match! You're looking to get back into the dating scene after a divorce, widowhood, or just being on your own for too long. 

If you use online dating services, perhaps you've swiped right on profiles claiming a love for adventure, artisan coffee, and rescue dogs. But what happens when things get serious and the biggest adventure becomes navigating the choppy waters of personal debt?

Imagine a scenario where a person is contemplating a marriage proposal, only to discover their significant other bears a $50,000 debt. While not legally obligated, they face the moral and practical realities of shouldering this financial burden together. The question then arises: Does a $50,000 debt deter a commitment? What if that number doubles? It’s a question that sought an answer to. It surveyed 3,000 singles to ask a hypothetical question: 

If you were in a relationship with someone and planning a lifelong partnership, what levels of debt (if any) would deter you from committing to them?
The magic number where cold feet set in? A cool $54,375 if you live in Washington (though this is lower than the national average of $52,024), according to the survey. While some might argue that love transcends monetary concerns, the reality is that a $54,375 debt could severely constrain a couple's financial freedom. In fact, this level of debt is several times the national average.
Location does play a role in these financial deal-breakers. Montanans get money-shy at a mere $10,000, while the lovebirds in Wyoming won’t balk until the debt hits a whopping $100,000. Geography, it seems, is destiny when it comes to fiscal matters of the heart.

The study didn't stop there; it explored when financial obligations should be disclosed in a relationship. A mere 7% believed it should be mentioned on the first date, while the majority, 67%, felt it appropriate to wait until the relationship was exclusive. Eighteen percent preferred to wait until engagement, and a cautious 8% chose to wait until marriage.
Debt Dealbreakers: In a world where online profiles might stretch the truth about the years (and the year of the photo), fibbing about finances is the real romance killer. When asked to weigh the sin of age-fudging against debt-dodging, 70% of survey respondents agreed that a hidden heap of bills is the ultimate swipe-left offense.
The survey also entertained the notion of dating apps displaying credit scores, questioning whether it would make profiles more swipe-worthy. The crowd is split. While 47% of survey participants said they would pass on a low scorer, a surprisingly chill 53% said they wouldn't let a credit scor number define their nuptial narrative.
Furthermore, a significant 59% of survey participants admitted they would reevaluate their relationship upon discovering a partner's excessive spending habits, proving that a taste for champagne on a beer budget can sour a sweet connection.
In a revealing twist, over half (54%) of the respondents advocated for maintaining separate bank accounts even within the sanctity of marriage, suggesting that "what's mine is yours" might need a modern rewrite.
“It has long been established that financial compatibility is key in relationships, but our latest survey reveals just how critical it is. As people become more financially savvy, they're looking for partners who share their fiscal values and goals. Transparency about debt and spending habits is paramount in forming strong, lasting bonds. Love may be blind, but when it comes to debt, people prefer to go into relationships with their eyes wide open”, says Amber Brooks from

This article is courtesy of

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