What are your top five must-have factors in a romantic partner? If you selected trust, communication, honesty compatibility, and sexual chemistry, you're in sync with most respondents in a new survey from Elevate's Center for the New Middle Class.
The Elevate survey was designed to study how finances play a role in dating for both prime and non-prime Americans. Elevate defines prime consumers as those with credit scores above 700, while non-prime consumers – the New Middle Class – have credit scores below 700. You can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes by joining MoneyTips.
Both prime and non-prime Americans cite the same five critical factors listed above, and non-prime Americans were slightly more likely than prime Americans to consider each element important. For example, 95% of non-prime Americans and 92% of prime Americans rated trust as important.
The most significant discrepancy was in sexual chemistry. While 89% of non-prime consumers rated sexual chemistry as important, only 80% of prime consumers did.
Couples may not discuss finances on the first date, but they won't wait long to check out financial issues – which also reflect on trust and honesty as a relationship goes on. Over half of America's singles talk about finances during the first three months of dating, regardless of their credit status. Nearly 55% of non-prime Americans do, as do 62% of prime Americans.
Over 60% of female respondents said they would be hesitant to date an unemployed person, far more than the 47% of prime men and 38% of non-prime men. Given the importance of trust and honesty, exaggerating or outright lying about your situation is unlikely to end well. In short, find someone who loves you regardless of your status – or get a job.
Given that trust is so respected, a surprising number of Americans were willing to snoop to find out the salary of a potential partner before pursuing a relationship. One-quarter of non-prime Americans and over one-third of prime Americans felt this way, with very little difference between men's responses and women's responses. Maybe it's a way of verifying honesty, or perhaps it's a way for prime Americans to avoid mates that drag their finances down – but either way, the results seem at odds with trust and honesty requirements.
When you do find that partner, be prepared to spend time with him or her. Nearly 8 of 10 singles, both men and women, say that spending time with a partner is vital to show how much you care.
Non-prime singles, especially men, were less likely than prime singles to believe that finances should be considered before entering a romantic relationship. However, non-prime men may want to re-think their decision.
Overall, the study finds that single non-prime women have the least positive dating experience, while single non-prime men are the least judgmental about financial factors when dating. Non-prime guys, you may not care about financial factors, but your potential mates do – so shape up.
The Elevate survey was a follow-up to a previous survey on couples, which came to similar conclusions – there may be a correlation between your credit score and your love life, perhaps because having less than stellar credit generally makes life a bit more difficult.
If your credit score isn't up to par, start working on it today. Adjust your budget to control spending and focus on paying down debts, and make sure you make all payments on time even if you can't pay them in full. An improved credit score will cure more ills than just a lonely Saturday night.
If you want to reduce your interest payments and lower your debt, join MoneyTips and use our free Debt Optimizer tool.