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Is your debt stopping you from finding love?

Would an "I owe you" stop you from saying "I do"?

Roughly 37% of American adults say they would reconsider a romantic relationship due to someone’s debt, according to a recent Finder survey. That means if you’ve got debt, you’re narrowing your dating pool by about 98 million adults.

But what is the biggest debt no-no when it comes to love? Roughly 46% of those surveyed say that debts owed to family or friends would be a deal breaker for a potential romantic partner. The next two biggest debt concerns are for credit card and payday loan debt, both at 43%.

It terms of how much debt is “too much”, payday loans have the lowest threshold at an average of $1,732 being the amount at which people would reconsider a relationship. Owing money to family or friends ($5,246) is the second lowest amount of acceptable debt with auto loans ($13,940) the other podium finisher.

Men are slightly more say no to a date than women if someone is in debt

Close to two-thirds (38%) of men say won’t date someone if they’re in debt, compared to 36% of women. At 44%, credit card debt was the biggest bugaboo for men, while more than half of women surveyed (57%) owing money to friends or family is a romantic deal-breaker. Mortgage debt is a big dividing line between the sexes, with twice as many men (25%) than women (12%) saying they wouldn’t date someone paying off a mortgage.

Women are far more forgiving with how much debt is too much, with the debt threshold for women ($33,868) more than twice that of men ($15,045).

Debt a turn-off for Gen Z

Close to half of Gen Z (44%) say someone in debt is a non-starter for them in the romantic department. Gen X is at the other end of the spectrum at 32%. Both Gen Y and Gen Z say that credit card debt is the No. 1 issue, whereas for Gen X it’s owing money to friends or family and payday loans for boomers.

It terms of how much debt you’re carrying, $7,863 is too much for Gen Z. That number is about six times higher for Boomers: $44,164.

Payday loan debt is the lowest threshold of debt for both Boomers ($902) and Gen X ($1,734). Gen Y will have issues if you owe $934 for medical bills and Gen Z will not pursue a relationship if you owe family or friends an average of $1,994.

Northeast the pickiest when it comes to debt

A little over two in five (41%) of those in the Northeast would swipe left on someone with debt, but if you’re in the West that figure is 34%. Owing money to family or friends is the least acceptable debt for both those in the South (47%) and Midwest (51%), while credit card debt is the top choice for both those in the Northeast (37%) and the West (50%).

Payday loans are the least forgivable debt dollarwise, no matter where you live.

Past Unacceptable Partner Debt Stats


Written by

Richard Laycock

Richard Laycock is Finder’s NYC-based senior content marketing manager & insights editor, spending the last decade data diving, writing and editing articles about all things personal finance. His musings can be found across the web including on NASDAQ, MoneyMag, Yahoo Finance and Travel Weekly. Richard studied Media at Macquarie University, including a semester abroad at The Missouri School of Journalism (MIZZOU). See full profile

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