By Pat Shaver
The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Ill.
For about two-thirds of Americans, debt is a relationship turn-off.
People with financial troubles are not as attractive as those with stable bank accounts, according to the most recent Country Financial Security Index. Financial stability is also a factor in a relationship becoming more serious.
Seventy-two percent of women surveyed said they won’t date or marry someone with significant debt. About 58 percent of men said the same. Single people are less likely to date or marry someone with debt than those who are currently dating, said Troy Freichs, director of wealth management and investments at Country Financial in Bloomington.
“I think debt is probably semi-important but it’s not a deal breaker,” said Michelle Rever of Normal.
Rever is engaged and said she is in the process of merging her checking account with her fiance’s. The two have been upfront in their discussions and are both are financially stable, she said.
For others, a lack of financial stability means no-go.
“For me, it’s an issue because I don’t want to have to raise a significant other,” said Cathee Servant of Pontiac, who is single.
Servant said she would seek a significant other who is as financially stable as she is.
“And finances and debt would definitely be one of the first points we would talk about,” Servant said Friday.
As a relationship evolves, people gain more details on their significant other’s debt, the survey found.
About 73 percent of Americans in relationships say they know how much debt, if any, their significant other has. Fifty-four percent of engaged couples know about their partner’s debt. About 81 percent of married people know about their spouse’s debt.
“I think being open and honest is your best bet; if you don’t know where you stand yourself from a debt standpoint, that’s a whole different issue,” Freichs said.
Once the relationship begins, it can be unclear when to share information about finances.
About 31 percent of Americans believe that it is appropriate to begin discussions of finances after a relationship hits three months. Another 29 percent said discussion of finances should happen immediately.
But discussions about debt aren’t the worst conversations for couples. About 70 percent said they would rather talk about money than past relationships.
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