by Kailey Hagen | Updated July 17, 2021 - First published on Sept. 14, 2019
Many or all of the products here are from our partners that pay us a commission. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.
The way you manage your money could make or break your relationship.
When men first meet someone they're interested in, they're usually focused on looks and shared interests and hobbies. But as the relationship becomes more serious, other more important concerns, such as how a partner handles his or her money, begin to arise.
And of course each guy will have his own preferences when it comes to the financial habits he looks for in a significant other, but there are five things the majority of men in our survey appear to prefer.
Tips and tricks from the experts delivered straight to your inbox that could help you save thousands of dollars. Sign up now for free access to our Personal Finance Boot Camp.
By submitting your email address, you consent to us sending you money tips along with products and services that we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe at any time. Please read our Privacy Statement and Terms & Conditions.
According to a survey by The Ascent of over 1,000 people who are in a relationship, 68.6% of men prefer a partner who sets clear financial goals and presumably follows through with them. Having clear goals makes you more likely to save money and plan for the future than someone who only lives in the moment.
You may never have thought much about your financial goals, but you probably have some. Chances are you hope to retire someday. You may also want to buy a home or a new car, or take a trip somewhere. Figure out when you'd like to do these things and approximately how much it would cost, then take steps to increase your savings accordingly. If necessary, consider reducing your discretionary purchases and working a side job to get more money coming in.
Following a budget was the next-most desirable trait men looked for in a romantic partner, with 68.2% saying it was very important. It's easy to understand why. People who don't follow a budget are more prone to overspending and this can lead to costly debt. Financial concerns can also put serious strain on a relationship over time, especially if the couple is not on the same page about how the money should be spent.
Creating a budget isn't that difficult, and it can help you identify areas of overspending where you may want to cut back. Make a list of all your essential monthly expenses and set aside a certain amount out of each paycheck to cover these. Then, decide what you're going to do with the money you have left over. If you have debt, you should put some cash toward debt repayment. You will also need to put something into your savings account and toward other financial goals each month. It's OK to use some for fun activities, but don't go overboard. Focus on your other priorities first.
Full-time employment appealed to 65.1% of the men surveyed. For committed couples, having two sources of income in the household increases cash flow. That will mean the two of you can save money more quickly than either of you would have been able to on your own. It is also an attractive trait in a partner because it demonstrates the other person is both driven and responsible.
Interestingly, women surveyed rated full-time employment as their most desirable characteristic in a partner, with 76.1% stating its importance. It's unclear why this was so much more important to women, but it could have something to do with the fact that women still earn about $0.80 for every dollar men earn. And of course some women may be considering the longer term financial implications of having children.
Nearly 63% of men recognized the importance of making payments on time. Failure to do so results in late fees and can also hurt your credit, especially if the payment is several weeks late or if you have multiple late payments on your record. This could make it difficult for the couple if they attempt to take out a loan in the future because one partner's poor credit score could result in a denied application or cause their interest rates to skyrocket.
Get in the habit of paying your bills on time if you don't already. Automatic payments are a great option if you struggle to remember to pay on your own, or you could set reminders for yourself. If a series of late payments has already tanked your credit score, turn over a new leaf and make an effort to pay on time. Consider getting a secured credit card to help rebuild your credit score so that it doesn't cause problems when you enter into a relationship.
Financial independence encompasses many of the traits on this list and was viewed as desirable by almost 62% of men. It means having your own source of income and managing your money responsibly enough that you don't have to borrow in order to meet your obligations. A partner who's not financially responsible could put his or her significant other's financial security at risk if they continue to spend indiscriminately.
Whether you're looking for a new relationship or not, it's worth cultivating these money habits. It'll reduce your financial stress and leave you better prepared to achieve your long-term goals. And when you do meet the man of your dreams, these good money habits just might help you seal the deal.
Many people are missing out on guaranteed returns as their money languishes in a big bank savings account earning next to no interest. The Ascent's picks of the best online savings accounts can earn you more than 8x the national average savings account rate.
We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.