Nearly 25% of Americans have hidden the truth about their debt from a potential partner

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Research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Self Lender, results revealed that people will skirt the truth early on in a relationship. (Photo by Gregory Hayes on Unsplash)

When it comes to dating, three in 10 admitted to lying about their salary, while over a quarter said they’ve hidden the truth about their spending habits.

That’s according to a new survey, which found that Americans aren’t always honest about their finances.

Results found that 24 percent have lied to a new partner about their level of debt.

The survey of 2,000 Americans examined people’s dating deterrents — big and small — and found that 14 percent think credit card debt totaling over $10,000 is a waving red flag.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Self Lender, results revealed that people will skirt the truth early on in a relationship, especially when it comes to their finances.

However, different types of debt warrant different reactions, seeing as 35 percent of respondents think credit card debt is worse than student loan debt.

Results found other dating dampers related to money included being cheap (46 percent), being unable to hold down a steady job (40 percent) and having a bad credit score (37 percent).

Other common causes for concern when searching for a partner were bad manners (56 percent), a dirty living space (53 percent) and credit card debt (50 percent).

In spite of all these reasons to run, love appears to win out in the end, seeing as more than half of respondents have dated someone with debt.

But not everyone treats honesty as the best policy though, since three in 10 admit to not telling a potential partner about their debt.

If someone does plan on revealing their debt situation to their significant other, the average person waits until the relationship has reached the six month mark.

“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,” said Self Lender CEO James Garvey. “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.”

When it comes time to walk down the aisle, people think disclosing the finances should be mandatory.

One in two people think it should be a moral and legal obligation to disclose debt to a potential spouse before saying, “I do.”

Fifty-eight percent would even delay marriage until both partners were financially stable.

Garvey added, “Credit scores can say a lot about a person’s level of commitment, dependability and trustworthiness, which are important factors in a healthy relationship. So while it can be uncomfortable to talk about finances, especially in the newer stages of a relationship, if you want your relationship to continue for the long term, having the ‘money talk’ is essential.”


  1. Drinking too much 64%
  2. Bad manners 56%
  3. Dirty living space 53%
  4. Credit card debt 50%
  5. Always on the phone even when we’re on a date 46%
  6. Argumentative 46%
  7. Cheap 46%
  8. Poor clothing choices 46%
  9. Never introducing me to family and friends 45%
  10. Our values don’t align 44%
  11. Too needy 41%
  12. Cannot hold a steady job 40%
  13. Late to plans 40%
  14. We don’t have a lot in common 40%
  15. Doesn’t respond in time 39%
  16. Bad credit score 37%
  17. Push my physical boundaries 35%
  18. Describes exes as “crazy” 34%
  19. Flaky 32%
  20. Don’t know a lot about them 32%
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  1. My salary 31%
  2. Spending habits 28%
  3. My debt 24%
  4. My job 23%
  5. My family 21%
  6. Relationship intentions 19%
  7. Seeing other people 17%
  8. Current living arrangements 17%
  9. Where I live 16%
  10. Health problems/hobbies and interest 15%
  11. Fitness habits 15%
  12. Frequency of dates 14%
  13. Previous marriage/long term partners 14%

>> Download the video & infographic for this research story <<

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