For Love or Money? Survey Reveals Different Approaches Among Americans

Two-Thirds of Americans Unwilling to Date or Marry Someone with Significant Debt

Feb 11, 2014, 06:00 ET from COUNTRY Financial

BLOOMINGTON, Ill., Feb. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- They say love can make you do crazy things. But so can money. The latest COUNTRY Financial Security Index® survey reveals just what effects love and money have on Americans' relationships. When it comes to finances, what kind of significant other are you?

Is debt a turn off? Two-thirds of Americans who are dating or single say they are unwilling to date or marry someone who has significant debt.

  • Of those, singles are less willing than those who are currently dating (72 percent vs. 55 percent, respectively)
  • Women are more likely to say debt trumps love. Seventy-two percent say they won't date or marry someone with significant debt, compared to 58 percent of men who say the same.
  • Those earning more than $200,000 annually are least likely to be "debt-dodgers." Eighty-one percent would get involved with someone who has significant debt.

For the 73 percent of Americans in relationships (married, engaged or dating), 72 percent say they know just how much debt, if any, their significant other has.

  • Perhaps not surprisingly, married Americans are much more likely to know about their spouse's debt (81 percent).
  • In comparison, just 54 percent of those who are engaged say they are in the know.
  • And 41 percent of those who are currently dating someone say they are aware of their significant other's debt.

"From credit cards to student loans, debt has become a major financial hurdle for many Americans to overcome. It's important to focus on reducing debt – not just for your love life, but also for your financial security," says Joe Buhrmann, manager of financial security support at COUNTRY Financial. "Just as you would dress yourself up for a date, you should 'dress up' your finances as well. Take the time to review your finances to determine a realistic plan for paying off your debt."

To find out what kind of financial mate you are, visit for an infographic quiz.

In a relationship, how soon is "too soon" to discuss money? Nearly one-third of Americans (31 percent) say the three-month mark is appropriate, and another 29 percent give the green light to discuss finances immediately.

  • Thirty-six percent of married Americans say it's okay to discuss money right away, compared to 28 percent of those who are engaged, 14 percent of those who are currently dating someone, and 23 percent of singles.
  • Men are more likely than woman to say money-talk is appropriate at the onset of a relationship (33 percent vs. 26 percent).

The Ex-Effect
While money may be an uncomfortable subject for many Americans, is talking about exes even worse? Seventy percent say they would rather talk about money than past relationships. But nearly one-third (30 percent) would rather discuss exes or are unsure which would be more uncomfortable.

  • Those who are currently single are the most unsure about which topic would be more uncomfortable (40 percent).

"Open communication is key in any relationship, and finances should definitely be a topic of discussion among couples," adds Buhrmann. "While money may not need to be a first-date icebreaker, it's important to have the conversations early and often to make sure you and your significant other are on the same page with your short-term and long-term financial goals and obligations."

The COUNTRY Financial Security Index®
Since 2007, the COUNTRY Financial Security Index has measured Americans' sentiments of their personal financial security. The COUNTRY Index also delves deeper into individual personal finance topics to better inform Americans about the issues impacting their finances. Survey data, videos and analysis are available at and on Twitter at @FinanceSecure.

The COUNTRY Index was created by COUNTRY Financial  and is compiled by Rasmussen Reports, LLC, an independent research firm, based on a national telephone and online survey of at least 3,000 Americans. 

The margin of sampling error for a survey based on this many interviews is approximately +/- 2 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

COUNTRY Financial ( serves about one million households and businesses throughout the United States. It offers a full range of financial products and services from auto, home and life insurance to retirement planning services, investment management and annuities.