Not so money, honey: 1 in 4 have lied about their debt to a new love interest

NEW YORK — From credit card payments to student loans, debt is an inconvenient fact of life for many Americans. Despite being so common, many people feel the need to hide their outstanding debts from potential partners and love interests, according to a new survey of 2,000 U.S. adults.

Sponsored by SelfLender, the survey found that about a quarter (24%) of respondents have lied to a new partner about their level of debt. The survey also revealed that many adults are deceptive about their financial situations in general. Three in 10 admit they have lied about their annual salaries, and more than 25% said they have hidden their spending habits from partners.

Perhaps all of that lying is for good reason; 14% of respondents said that credit card debt over $10,000 is a big red flag and possible relationship deal breaker. Additionally, it seems that not all debt is equal in the minds of many adults, with 35% of respondents reporting that credit card debt is worse in their minds than student loan debt. To that end, 50% of adults say bad credit card debt is a major cause for concern in a new potential partner.

Debt isn’t the only finance issue that gets in the way of dating either. Nearly half of all respondents (46%) listed a potential love interest being “cheap” as a major turnoff, while 40% said an inability to keep a steady job is a relationship killer. A poor credit score was also listed as a dating turnoff by 37% of respondents.

Other than matters of the wallet, respondents also listed bad manners (56%) and a dirty living space (53%) as major dating red flags.

However, it is interesting to note that despite so many Americans’ financial concerns about their partners, more than half of all respondents still admitted to dating someone with debt.

According to the survey, the average adult waits about six months before revealing their true debt situation to someone they’re dating.

“When it comes to long-term relationships, including marriages, studies have shown that money arguments are the biggest predictor for divorce, no matter the income bracket or financial situation of the couple in question,” comments Self Lender CEO James Garvey in a statement. “Not discussing your financial situation might be fine for a short-term fling, but the data shows that if you want a long-term, committed relationship, you have to open up about your money and get on the same page financially.”

So, what about couples that are ready to take the next step and enter into a marriage? One in two adults believe that it is morally and legally the right course of action to tell a potential spouse about any and all debt before tying the knot. A whopping 58% of respondents even said they would hold off on the wedding ceremony until both bride and groom are financially secure.

The survey was conducted by OnePoll.