This Is What Your Partner Wants More Than Romance

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marital document
Roman Motizov /

If you’re looking for love or want to be a better significant other, start by learning how to talk money with a partner.

Most Americans — 56 percent — prefer a partner who provides financial security over one who provides “head-over-heels” love, according to the fall 2018 Merrill Edge Report.

This semiannual report by the brokerage service of Bank of America Merrill Lynch is based on a nationwide survey that explores the financial concerns and priorities of some 1,000 Americans whom Merrill Edge refers to as “mass affluent.”

They range from members of Generation Z — defined as those born between 1996-2000 — to seniors born before 1946. But most of these folks have investable assets of $50,000 to $250,000. That includes the value of their cash, savings, securities and retirement accounts, but excludes real estate property.

Among these survey respondents, both women (57 percent) and men (54 percent) were more likely to say they prioritize money over love in a partner. Only the youngest respondents, those in Generation Z, prioritized love over money.

The survey also found that, overall, respondents are more likely to prefer a significant other who is:

  • Career-focused (63 percent) more than one who is socially focused.
  • Frugal (55 percent) more than one who is philanthropic.
  • A saver (83 percent) more than one who is a spender.

Aron Levine, head of Consumer Banking and Merrill Edge at Bank of America, says of the survey findings:

“Americans are saving money at record rates, and yet we’re seeing people of all ages look to their current and prospective partners to secure their financial futures. Economic uncertainty and a lack of financial planning seem to be creating this burgeoning trend of dependence on others for financial security.”

Despite this situation, Americans are reluctant to talk about their finances with their partners, judging by the Merrill Edge survey results.

Respondents ranked the following relationship milestones above discussing their finances:

  • Meeting the family
  • Being intimate
  • Traveling together
  • Discussing politics

Most respondents said they rarely talk about their:

  • Debt
  • Salary
  • Investments
  • Spending habits

These are some of the very topics we cite in “7 Money Mistakes That Can Mess Up Your Marriage.”

So, what about you? Is financial stability or head-over-heels love a more important quality in a significant other? Sound off by commenting below or over on our Facebook page.

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