Marriage Material? Show Me the Money Habits

Wall St. Cheat Sheet

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What’s sexier than someone who knows how to handle their own money? Not much, according to a new survey that reveals married adults value financial responsibility more than physical attractiveness in a spouse.

Experian finds that 95 percent of married adults believe “financial responsibility” is important when considering a spouse, easily beating “physical attractiveness” and “career ambition” at 86 percent and 77 percent, respectively. In fact, “personal compatibility” is the only attribute considered to be more desirable (98 percent) in a survey of over 1,000 married adults nationwide.

Read more: Sharing Finances in a Marriage: 5 Stats You Should Know

“Survey findings show that once someone identifies a compatible partner, his or her next thought is about how that person manages personal finances, and credit plays a key role in that scenario,” said Ken Chaplin, senior vice president at Experian Consumer Services, in a press release. “This holds true for both genders, and the study further shows that working toward compatible financial goals matters to the vast majority of married adults.”

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While family and life goals are the two most important areas of compatibility for married adults, financial matters is a close third at 96 percent. In comparison, 95 percent say sex compatibility is important, and only 44 percent believe political compatibility is important in a relationship.

Half of married adults say that credit scores were important to them when choosing a spouse, and one-third considered the impact of their spouse’s credit on their own finances, yet credit scores are the least discussed financial topic among couples. Interestingly, one in ten married couples have never discussed credit scores, but credit has been a source of stress in one of five marriages.

Read more: 3 Simple Financial Tips for Couples

Americans are more likely to discuss financial matters since the Great Recession occurred. However, there is always room for improvement. In the beginning of a relationship, you should learn about a person’s financial habits. Are they spenders or savers? If you find yourself with a person that doesn’t have the same financial habits as you, that could lead to larger problems down the road. As the relationship progresses, don’t shy away from talking about longer-term goals such as purchasing a home or raising a family. These don’t necessarily have to be deal-breakers, but knowing expectations ahead of time will help dampen stress.

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