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All is Fair in Love and Debt?

debt and relationshipsWhen it comes to relationships and significant others, debt is topping lists of what people look for – or don’t look for – in their partner. Where looks, pedigree, or career trajectory were previous motivation drivers for mate selection (or at least companionship), recent studies indicate debt is a deal-breaker for many looking for love.

Late payments from lifestyles past, less-than-stellar credit scores, and cancelled credit cards are all exhibits of debt and destruction influencing personal relationships, not to mention the relationship financial institutions have with these consumers.

Are certain relationships – or rather, specific partners – more likely to carry debt?

Women were found to be more financially vulnerable, according to the Survey of Consumer Finances, conducted by the Federal Reserve, that examined how men and women who had never been married felt about debt.

Recent Experian data found that while both men and women share the same amount of revolving utilization at 30%, men carry more debt than women, $27,067 compared to $23,881 for women. Men are also more likely to have larger mortgage debt at $214,908 compared to $198,622 for women.

Women have more credit cards and more retail cards but lower balances than men on both.

From a generational viewpoint, Gen X and Boomer generations have a higher than average number of credit cards and higher than average number of retail cards (and the highest average balance on credit cards and retail cards). Gen X also has the highest average debt by generation for both non-mortgage and mortgage debt.

While Boomer and Silent Generations have lower than average mortgage debt, the boomer generation still has higher than average non-mortgage debt.

With nearly 3 in 4 American adults saying they would reconsider their romantic relationship because of their partner’s debt, consumers should consider revamping their balance sheets before updating their online dating profiles.

For the hopeless romantics, the star-crossed lovers, and those instead celebrating Singles Awareness Day whose finances could use a little love, perhaps a digital collections portal or personalized options to consolidate debt might speak to their love language. Or, in the meantime, maybe a list of the top cities for singles with the best credit scores could be a start.