Financial compatibility: is it a must?

happy older couple

Finding love online requires some key ingredients: similar personalities, some time and effort, and a great profile. But to what extent does financial compatibility play a role? Does your money matter when it comes to seeking love?

Our recent survey sought the opinions of 500 EliteSingles users in order to investigate the role of money in partner selection. Straight from our members’ mouths, the results showed that the age-old cliché ‘money can’t buy you love’ still persists.

They also revealed that financial compatibility is a crucial part of building a healthy relationship.

Convinced by the cash?

With the votes tallied, one standout lesson from the poll is that money alone is unlikely to find you love. Of the 500 members we asked, just 7 per cent would see someone merely for their money. The 93 per cent who answered otherwise clearly think that the wallet is the least important indicator of attraction: a partner’s behaviour and humour were chosen as the most attractive traits in a partner.

Moreover, the survey also revealed male/female consensus on the most attractive type of partner – 79 per cent of men and 70 per cent of women think that a partner sensible with their finances is preferable to a lavish spender. An expection was the 35 per cent of self-indentified spenders who would be keen to meet someone equally liberal with their cash. Interestingly, in many cases it would seem that like attracts like, suggesting that financial compatibilty is a matter of two people being in harmony rather than following a particular route.

Interested in the income

Though rightly saying that a partner’s behaviour, humour and education is of the most value, women’s responses in the survey did, however, show one trend clearly. In spite of it all, 69 per cent still said that their partner’s income is ‘important’ – compared to just 19 per cent of men who said the same. Though they may not be impressed by wealth when initially forming judgement, it seems for the long-term finding love might still be somehow linked to security for women.

Read more: What do women want if not wealth? Find out here.

The disparity between the sexes didn’t end there, either: a majority of women said they wouldn’t marry a man who earns less than they do. Even among self-described ‘successful’ women, the thought of out-earning their spouse wasn’t an appealing one with only 25 per cent seeing this as a non-issue.

Financial compatibilty and independence

Superficially, this might seem like there’s some truth in the age-old clichés that women seek the security of the well-earning man. Yet female answers elsewhere in our survey can give a good explanation for these outwardly contradictory replies.

Although 58 per cent of men said they expected a couple to help support each other, it was only 8 per cent of women that agreed and the majority (55 per cent) noted that financial independence was their priority. While it seems that, for women, love means accruing some level of security, it’s nonetheless very clear they don’t expect – or want –to be supported. Instead, they simply don’t wish to be responsible for supporting their partner. For women, then, financial compatibilty means that both parties need to take charge of their own earnings.

Read more: Does financial compatibility and responsibility extend to the date itself? Find the full story here.

According to EliteSingles’ resident psychologist, Dr. Wiebke Neberich, such sentiments are unsurprising. Pointing to women wanting to “treasure the achievement” of finally enjoying social and financial independence, she thinks it’s natural that women (in particular) see a couple as a collaboration between two independent adults. Dr. Neberich also explains why, from an evolutionary perspective, women desire financial compatibilty at the more affluent end of the scale “This desire for security…may be explained by women’s natural role as the more dependent person during the phase of starting a family.”

Love despite financial flaws?

Reassuringly, we’ve learned that a bulging purse might not be the best way to court love. But in our survey we also wanted to find out in what ways a partner’s attitude to money can affect a relationship. We asked what money-related habits are most irritating within a couple and, topping the list of offenders? Showing true financial compatibilty, men and women were both unequivocal: a partner borrowing small amounts of money without paying them back is the most annoying habit!

However, the sexes weren’t always in agreement. Close to the top of the men’s list was their partner ‘lying about how much things costs’, whilst among women the corresponding partner no-go was a man “telling me how to spend my money”. Here, too, female desire for financial independence was a clear conclusion from the poll.

Are you ready to find love? Try EliteSingles today.


EliteSingles editorial, August 2014.

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All percentages based on a survey of 500 EliteSingles members from Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa. Statistics may not equal 100% due to rounding and multiple choice answers.

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