How much debt makes you undateable? |

Almost three-quarters of Americans consider debt a deal breaker

Would debt stop you from saying “I do”?

You’ve got more than your credit score to worry about when under a pile of debt. Some 72% of Americans say they’d reconsider a romantic relationship because of another person’s debt, according to the latest findings from That means if you’re among the many Americans saddled with debt, you may be shrinking your pool of potential matches by roughly 182.8 million adults.

How much is too much debt?

It all depends on the type of debt and how much. According to those surveyed, the least desirable type of debt is what we’ve built on credit cards. Yet, however undesirable, debt on plastic represents the third lowest amount of acceptable debt at $12,615.96.

Interestingly, student loans are in the second spot, with 52% of those surveyed saying that education loans are unacceptable. The amount of school financing considered unacceptable comes in at an average $48,761.15, which is particularly jarring, given two in five Americans graduate with student debt.

In third place is payday loan debts, with 49% of those surveyed saying these types of debts are unacceptable. However, payday loans come with the lowest threshold for the amount of debt considered acceptable: $4,885.52.

Type of debt %
Credit card 56%
Student loan 52%
Payday loan 49%
Mortgage 49%
Auto loan 49%
Personal loan 45%
Medical bill 45%
Family and friends 42%
Home equity loan 39%
Business loan 39%

Men and women accept debt differently

Overall, women are more likely than men to shy away from a romantic partnership if their paramour has debt. Men are more likely to hesitate if a partner owes either student loan or mortgage debt. However, women are more likely to take issue with debts related to payday loans, auto loans, personal loans, credit cards, medical bills and home equity loans.

Type of debt % of women % of men
Student loan 51% 52%
Mortgage 48% 50%
Payday loan 51% 47%
Auto loan 49% 48%
Family and friends 42% 42%
Personal loan 46% 45%
Credit card 56% 55%
Medical bill 46% 43%
Home equity loan 40% 39%
Business loan 39% 39%

There’s also disparity in how much debt is unacceptable. The highest amount considered unacceptable for men looking for a potential partner involves a business loan at $196,541.56. Whereas, the top figure for women is a partner with a mortgage of $272,995.37.

Gen Y don’t want no scrubs

It looks like Gen Y might be all about that paper, as they’re most likely to find all categories of debt unacceptable in a mate. Both student loan and credit card debt top their list, with 59% saying they’d steer clear of someone with this type of debt.

For the most part, Gen X and baby boomers flip-flop as most accepting generation of debt, though baby boomers are most open overall.

Type of debt % of Baby Boomers % of Gen X % of Gen Y
Student loan 46% 51% 59%
Mortgage 46% 47% 53%
Payday loan 48% 47% 52%
Auto loan 47% 46% 54%
Family and friends 37% 41% 47%
Personal loan 44% 44% 49%
Credit card 56% 53% 59%
Medical bill 43% 42% 50%
Home equity loan 37% 38% 43%
Business loan 35% 38% 44%

Past Unacceptable Partner Debt Stats

We calculated these figures from an November 2018 survey of 2,035 American adults commissioned by and conducted by global research provider Pureprofile.

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