Money & Relationships: 5 Things You Should Know About Your Partner


According to a survey released last year by, credit scores are quickly becoming a top factor when it comes to finding compatibility with a potential mate. In fact, 96% of women rated financial responsibility as an important quality versus 87% who said physical attractiveness was a determining factor. Men found both to be important, coming in at 91% and 92% respectively.

In addition, the survey found:

“Women view ‘is financially responsible’ (95 percent) and ‘pays bills on time’ (92 percent) as the top two financial attributes when evaluating a romantic prospect’s attractiveness. Collectively, men and women view ‘spends beyond means’ (88 percent) and ‘has debt’ (52 percent) as the least attractive attributes.”

While conversations about debt load and financial responsibility should certainly be had before saying “I do,” understanding how you partner manages money goes beyond things like credit scores and income level.

If you really want to grasp your partner’s full financial picture, take note of these things as well.

The way their parents handled money

There are very few things that shape the way we interact with money more than how it was handled in our home while we were growing up. If our parents were financially careless and spent more than they saved, the chances are high we’ll enter adulthood thinking this is the norm.

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Understanding family dynamics and looking for the ties between your partner’s money habits and his or her parents can help paint a picture of where their money beliefs lie and how they will handle certain situations moving forward.

Their locus of control  

Locus of control is a term used in personality psychology to describe the extent to which a person believes they are in control of their life. Essentially, if someone has an internal locus of control, they believe they have the ability to make changes, if someone has an external locus of control, they believe things happen to them and their life is determined by factors they didn’t necessarily choose.

When it comes to finances, an internal locus of control can push a person to make necessary changes if they see that something isn’t working. It’s not the bill collector or credit card company’s fault they are in a specific situation, it’s theirs, and they will work to rectify the situation.

If they have financial goals  

It’s a small step in the right direction to pay bills on time and stay on top of your credit score, but the really big steps – like owning a home and being able to afford life after retirement – are the result of setting big financial goals and establishing a plan to reach them.

Making sure you both are interested and committed to reaching for the same goals means you share a similar lifestyle vision – something that is extremely important in long-lasting relationships.

If you or your partner haven’t sat down to set any goals yet, but you are willing to do so together, that is also a major win.

Their financial honesty level

There are very few things that can tear a relationship apart like money lies and financial infidelity.

Whether you intend to fully combine finances or not, relationships have a way of making someone else’s money issues yours – whether it’s because you signed a mortgage together, or simply because one person’s financial obligations impacts how much you have to shoulder when it comes to shared expenses.

If your partner has a tough time fessing up to past money issues, or painting a complete picture of where they currently stand, that is a blazing red flag that will eventually come back to bite you. Guaranteed.

Above all else, know what’s important to you

Financial priorities vary greatly from person to person. Make sure you know what your financial priorities are while you’re in the process of determining compatibility levels with a potential partner. This can help prevent some emotionally painful and financially expensive issues down the road.

What else would you add to this list?

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