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Is debt costing you a relationship?


97.7 million Americans say they’d let debt stand in the way of love.

Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and if you’re having trouble finding love, one line item might be tripping you up: debt. Well, that’s the case at least for 37% of American adults who 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.

And not all debt is the same, especially when it comes to love. The biggest debtor no-no is owing money to family, with 46% of those surveyed saying debts owed to family would stop them from pursuing a potential romantic partner. Next up are potential partners with credit card and payday loan debt, both at 43%.

Payday loans have the lowest threshold for how much debt is “acceptable,” with an average $1,732 the amount at which people would reconsider a relationship. The second lowest amount of acceptable debt is for owing money to family or friends ($5,246) followed by auto loans ($13,940).

Men slightly more likely than women to shy away from a relationship with someone in debt

Roughly 38% of men said they would reconsider dating someone if they were carrying debt, compared to 36% of women. Credit card debt was the biggest bugaboo for men, with 44% saying it’s a romantic deal-breaker for them. While over half of women surveyed (57%) say they wouldn’t date someone in debt to family or friends. Men (25%) are more than twice as likely as women (12%) to say they wouldn’t date someone who is paying off a mortgage.

The amount of debt that’s acceptable is vastly different between the sexes, with the debt threshold for women ($33,868) more than twice that of men ($15,045).

Close to half of Gen Z won’t date someone in debt

Almost half of Gen Z (44%) say that debt is a romantic no-go for them. At the other end of the scale is Gen X at 32%. Credit card debt is the No. 1 issue for both Gen Y and Gen Z, though owing money to friends or family is the most common response for Gen X, while payday loans are the top concern for boomers.

Gen Z isn’t playing with you if you’re in debt of more than $7,863. Boomers are at the other end of the spectrum at $44,164.

Both boomers ($902) and Gen X ($1,734) have their lowest tolerance for payday loan debt. Medical debt is the least forgivable for Gen Y ($934), while owing money to family or friends is for Gen Z ($1,994).

Northeast the pickiest when it comes to debt

Roughly two in five (41%) people in the Northeast would swipe left on someone with debt, whereas just 34% would do the same in the West. Respondents in the South (47%) and Midwest (51%) say owing money to family or friends is the least acceptable type of debt. In the Northeast (37%) and the West (50%) it’s while credit card debt.

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

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For all media inquiries, please contact:

Richard Laycock, Insights editor and senior content marketing manager


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