Most attractive traits in a partner? Humor, intelligence, financial security

  • New survey reveals couples don’t feel comfortable talking salary, debt until five months into the relationship.

  • Average couple now waiting nine months before saying ‘I love you!’

NEW YORK — Looking to impress your date this Valentine’s Day? Show them how well your savings account is growing. A new survey finds financial security is one of the most attractive traits to have in a partner.

A new study polled 2,000 Americans in a relationship to find out what the new normal is and found financial security (42%) is one of the top three most attractive traits to have, following a sense of humor (44%) and intelligence (44%).

Eight in 10 respondents also agree it’s becoming more socially acceptable for women to earn more than their male partners. Another 77 percent agree relationships no longer need to have one “breadwinner.” Two in three respondents say they’re comfortable bringing up finances with their partner, but they would feel uneasy if the tables were turned and their partner brought up topics related to their finances.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Life Happens, a nonprofit educating consumers about the importance of life insurance, for their annual Insure Your Love campaign, the survey found it takes five months for couples to feel comfortable talking about their salary and overall financial status. Americans admit they start talking about money before even saying “I love you,” which takes an average of nine months!

When it gets serious, money discussions pick up

For Love For MoneyThe top discussions respondents have when they’ve been seriously dating for a year include debt (31%), salaries (31%), and joint bank accounts (29%). Americans may be looking to get serious quickly as 70 percent say they discussed or plan to discuss getting married with their partner less than a year into a relationship.

The results also show the most taboo topics to talk about with a partner are prenups (31%), joint bank accounts (21%), and taking on each other’s debt (18%). Meanwhile, the “right time” to talk about joint bank accounts (29%) and debt (31%) is after about a year of serious dating.

In fact, 73 percent of respondents are even willing to help their partner pay down their debts. For topics like wills and life insurance, half the poll believes the right time to discuss them is before marriage (50% and 51% respectively), with just over a quarter (27% and 26%) saying they’d wait until after marriage.

“Everyone gives and receives love in different ways, but a universal way of proving your love to your partner is by securing their future financially,” says Faisa Stafford, President & CEO of Life Happens, in a statement. “In fact, 59 percent of people would feel more secure in their relationship if they discussed getting life insurance. There’s no time like the present to have these important financial conversations in your relationship and show them you care about them today and all their tomorrows.”

Saving is the new sexy

For Love For MoneyThe survey also examined the new ways people are showing their love in line with their self-identified love languages and found words of affirmation are the top love language for respondents to show their love (34%) as well as receive love (40%). Men are also more likely to receive love with words of affirmation than women (46% vs. 36%).

In fact, those who prefer to show their love through words of affirmation are the most likely to show their love to their partner by purchasing a life insurance policy (41%). On the other hand, those whose love language includes acts of service are the most likely to show their love through paying down mutual debt they hold with their partner (55%).

Two in five (39%) respondents believe saving money is the top way they show their love to their partner, and 67 percent agree that there’s nothing sexier than saving money.

“This Valentine’s Day, I encourage Americans to show their love beyond words,” Stafford continues. “One way of doing this is by taking control of your finances. In fact, over 35 percent of survey respondents said purchasing a life insurance policy or making end-of-life plans is a way of showing love.”

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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