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Personal Finance Reports

Dating and Finances

Updated Apr 05, 2023   |   10 mins read

Being active in the dating world can be both eventful and exciting. You are meeting new people, trying new things, and perhaps finding someone to spend the rest of your life with. 

Sounds fun, right? Well, for the most part at least. 

Though dating can often be an amazing time, there is also great potential for disaster, or even worse, awkwardness. 

​Dates, especially first ones, bring with them an endless amount of worst-case scenarios. You could get stood up, conversation could be painstakingly dull, or you could know within the first 10 minutes that he or she is not the one (in which case, the dessert menus will not be getting viewed). 

Personal finance is also another common date-wrecker. Talking about your finances with anyone is uncomfortable, let alone someone you’re romantically interested in.

That is where LendEDU comes into the picture. We conducted a poll of 1,000 Americans to find out their personal finance preferences when it comes to dating, and the results were quite revealing. 

Who Should Pay for Dinner On the First Date?

We asked 1,000 Americans the following question: “Who should pay for dinner on the first date?”

As the above bar graph depicts, the vast majority of respondents, 71.80 percent, believed a man should pay for dinner on the first date. Interestingly, 23.80 percent of participants were in favor of splitting the check on the first date, which was more than the 4.40 percent who believed the woman should grab the bill first.

The results only slightly changed when they were broken down by the gender of each respondent. When it came to female respondents, more believed the woman should be responsible for the tab on the first date, while male poll participants were slightly more in favor of the man paying for the initial meal.

Because of the ice-breaking, awkward nature of the first dinner, daters may be more inclined to follow the rules of “proper etiquette,” which is why so many respondents, both male and female, believed the man should pay for the initial meal. But, what did our respondents think about the same question when it came to the tenth date?

This time, the results were much tighter. Only a plurality of respondents, 49.70 percent, believed the guy should pick up the bill, while 41.60 percent thought the tab should be split. 8.70 percent said a woman should pay for dinner on the tenth date, compared to the 4.40 percent who thought the same on the first date. When the results were split according to gender, more females believed the bill should be split instead of being paid for by the male, while the majority of men still thought they should be the ones paying. 

On the topic of splitting the bill, we asked our respondents the following: “Would you be offended if your date asked you to split the bill on your first date?”

Overall, the clear majority of poll participants, 68.80 percent, said that they would not be offended if their dates asked to split the bill. Interestingly, female respondents were much more inclined to take offense to their dates asking to share the cost of dinner. When broken down according to gender, 36.83 percent of female respondents stated they would be offended if their dates asked to split the check, while only 19.88 percent of males thought the same. 

Keeping the subject to who should be paying the dinner checks while dating, we asked our poll participants this: “Would you be offended if your date picked up the bill without asking?”

As a whole, 13.70 percent of the 1,000 respondents said they would indeed be offended if their dates picked up the entire bill without asking. The vast majority of those who answered, 86.30 percent, stated they would take no offense. When the results were broken down by gender, 22.89 percent of males said they would take offense to their dates picking up the bill without asking, while only 9.13 percent of females thought the same way.

Our poll contained a couple of other questions related to finances on the first date. The following question was posed to each of the respondents: “When is it acceptable to ask someone how much they make (ex. annual income)?” 

The plurality of poll participants, 40.72 percent, stated that the proper time to discuss personal income with a significant other was when they are “officially” together. 38.32 percent of poll participants thought the best time was when the couple was considering moving in together, while 17.51 percent thought it would be acceptable after a few dates. Only 3.44 percent thought the first date was an appropriate time to ask about incomes. 

Finally, we asked our respondents this question: “Would you feel uncomfortable talking about your finances on the first date?” The majority of poll participants, 63.90 percent, answered that they would feel uncomfortable talking about their finances on the first date, while 36.10 percent said the opposite. The results were largely unchanged when gender was factored in. 60.24 percent of males said they would be offended talking about finances on the first date, while 65.72 percent of females felt similarly. 

How Do Finances Impact Who We Date?

LendEDU asked a multitude of questions pertaining to how an individual weighs a potential significant other’s finances when deciding whether or not to date him or her.

We asked the 1,000 poll participants three variants of the following question “Would you consider [insert financial category here] to be a critical factor when deciding to date someone?”​

Out of credit card debt, student loan debt, and annual income, credit card debt was clearly the most impactful financial category when it came to deciding whether or not to date someone. 30.50 percent of respondents said that credit card debt was a critical factor when deciding to date someone. In comparison, 11.80 percent said the same of student loan debt, while 18.60 percent of respondents thought similarly about annual income. 

Respondents were then asked this question: “Would you be more willing to date someone if it meant that they would help you pay off debt?”

The majority of poll participants, 67.70 percent, answered “no” to the aforementioned question, meaning a potential partner’s ability to assist in paying off the respondent’s debt contributes nothing to his or her dateability. ​Meanwhile, 32.30 percent of Americans indicated that having a partner that could help pay off their debt could score them some extra brownie points.

With our next question, we found that respondents were less likely to date someone if they had high levels of debt as opposed to having been previously divorced or having a child from a previous marriage. 

The question was posed like so: “Which of the following would most likely lead you to not date someone?”​

Not surprisingly, the most popular reason that would lead LendEDU’s poll participants to not date someone was if that person had been to prison before, which 64.40 percent of respondents chose. However, the second highest percentage of respondents, 13.50 percent, pointed to high levels of debt as a reason to not date someone. Having significant debt beat out having been divorced (8.90%) and having a child from a previous relationship (13.20%) as a reason to not date someone. 

LendEDU sought to discover if our poll participants were less likely to date someone if that person made more or less money than them. The following two questions were asked to the 1,000 respondents: “Would you feel uncomfortable dating someone who makes more money than you?” and “Would you feel uncomfortable dating someone who makes less money than you?”

Overall, more respondents would feel uncomfortable dating someone if that individual made less money than them. 15.60 percent answered that they would feel uncomfortable dating someone who made less money, while 11.80 percent said the same regarding a person that made more than them.

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However, the vast majority of individuals seemed to not care if a potential significant other brings home more or less bacon. When the data was broken down by gender, 10.03 percent of females said they would feel uncomfortable dating someone who makes more money than them, as opposed to 15.36 percent of males who felt the same.

In a final question related to how personal finance affects who you date, we asked poll participants the following question: “Which of the following is the most important consideration when deciding to date someone?”

The clear majority of respondents, 82.10 percent, believed that personality is the most important factor to consider when choosing a partner. 9.90 percent favored attractiveness, while 4.70 percent stated their preference for wealth, and 3.30 percent answered “other.”

Finances Impacting Attractiveness?

We already discovered that a decently-sized contingent of people look at an individual’s personal finance situation when making their decisions to date that person or not. But, does personal finance also alter a person’s attractiveness?

We asked 1,000 respondents the following: “If someone makes a lot of money, would you consider them to be more sexually attractive versus someone that makes less money?”

Overall, 18.60 percent of respondents would consider someone more sexually attractive if they made more money, while 81.40 percent of Americans stated that it would make no difference. The results did not alter dramatically when broken down by gender, but males (21.39%) were more likely to have their views of attractiveness impacted by wealth than were females (17.22%).

We than asked our poll participants this question: “Would you consider an individual with student loan debt to be less sexually attractive?” 

A whopping 92.60 percent of respondents responded by saying individuals’ student loan debt has no impact on their attractiveness, while 7.40 percent answered with the contrary.

Interestingly, more individuals from this poll believed that a low credit score was more unattractive than high levels of student loan debt. We asked the following: “Would you consider a low credit score a turnoff?”

Even though the majority of poll participants, 76.50 percent, stated that a low credit score would not turn them off from a potential partner, 23.50 percent said it would. For whatever reason, a low credit score seems to have more of an impact on a person’s attractiveness than does a mountain of student loan debt. Perhaps, our respondents understood that student loan debt is often necessary to attend college while a poor credit score is a sign of being financially irresponsible. 

Methodology

All data used in this poll derived from a poll commissioned by LendEDU and conducted by online polling company Pollfish. In total, 1,000 Americans ages 18 and up were surveyed on each of the 17 questions. The poll was conducted over a two-day span, starting on September 26th, 2017 and ending on September 27th, 2017. All respondents were asked to answer each question truthfully and to the best of their ability.

See more of LendEDU’s Research