Financial compatibility: what does money have to do with love?

attractive middle aged couple

When it comes to romance, does your bank balance matter? An EliteSingles members’ survey found that the Beatles were right: money can’t (always) buy you love – but, that said, financial compatibility is still an essential factor when it comes to a successful relationship.

Our latest members’ survey asked singles to dish the dirt on whether cashflow matters when looking for romance and they came through, revealing the truth about love, money and how to blend the two.1

Love vs. money; men vs. women

Throughout history, there have been some pretty strong stereotypes about men, women and money. In much of popular culture, men are providers and bread-winners2 whilst women are only attracted to the size of male wallets.3 But just how accurate are these generalisations? Do they have any basis in reality?

The only real answer is that it is complicated. When it comes to dating, our survey participants were pretty unanimous: you don’t date for the money. 96% of male and 92% of female respondents would refuse to date someone ‘’just based on their wealth.’’

Read more: What do women want if not wealth? Find out here.

However, when it comes to financial compatibility and making a real, committed love match, the answers were more varied. 80% of men said that a potential partner’s income doesn’t matter and 92% of them would go so far as to marry someone earning less than them. The women had a very different perspective: just 30% of women rated a partner’s income level as unimportant, with 69% preferring it to be equal or higher than their own. Furthermore, just 25% of women would marry someone who earned less money than themselves.

What does this mean for modern women?

These results are particularly interesting when the question of financial independence is analysed. Again, the genders had divided views on the best way to merge a love match with one’s finances. 58% of men expected to ‘’support each other financially’’ in a relationship, while 42% required monetary independence and none wanted to be supported.

With women, the popularity of these requirements was quite different: 8% wanted to lean on their partner, 37% wanted mutual economic support and 55% craved independence. So, it would seem that the majority of women want a man with an equal or greater level of income but – crucially, for most this isn’t a matter of wanting to be supported. It is more about not having to be the one doing the supporting. It’s about financial compatibility.

EliteSingles‘ resident psychologist and researcher, Dr Wiebke Neberich, thinks this is due in large part to the fact that ‘’women today have long fought for social and financial independence from men, and rightly treasure this achievement.’’ In other words, most women don’t want to hold on to their money because they are miserly or gold digging; they want to hold on to it because it is hard to become a high-earning, successful woman4 and, as a result, many prioritise their resulting independence.

Attractive people always pay their debts

So, those are the financial compatibility dos – what about the do nots? We all make small financial decisions every day after all and, as it turns out, some of these can really irritate our partners. According to EliteSingles respondents as a whole group, the worst offender is a common one: it’s when your partner ‘’borrows small sums of money often and does not pay it back.’’

In fact, out of all groups in all countries surveyed, the only group who didn’t pick this trait as the most unattractive was the New Zealand men. According to the survey, Kiwi blokes are slightly more generous than their global counterparts; rating borrowing money and not returning it as only the second most annoying trait. Their big no-no is instead ‘’If [your partner] tells you how you should spend your money.’’ For Kiwis then, perhaps financial independence isn’t just popular amongst the women!

Read more: Financial and professional success often go hand in hand – but does that mean Kiwis find the office an attractive place to meet someone?

So, according to EliteSingles members, financial compatibility is a crucial factor when seeking long-term love. However, it is not necessarily about falling for those that flash the cash. It is more about not wanting to be the one who pays for everything. Perhaps, then, it’s true that money can’t buy you love – but, just maybe, it can make you that bit more attractive!

Are you looking for someone who is compatible (and not just financially?) Then join EliteSingles today.

EliteSingles editorial, August 2014.

Do you think that financial compatibility is an essential part of a good relationship? Should cashflow matter when it comes to love? Let us know in the comment box below or email us at [email protected]


1 All percentages based on a survey of 500 EliteSingles members from New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada and South Africa. Statistics may not equal 100% due to rounding and multiple choice answers.

2 TV Tropes: Meal Ticket.

3 TV Tropes: Gold Digger.

4 Claire Matthews, writing for Stuff, 2013. Increasing women’s economic power.

About the author: Sophie Watson

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