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A cooling economy doesn’t make people hot

Dating someone for their money isn’t a new concept. Shows like “The Millionaire Matchmaker” and terms like “trophy wife” have become synonymous with this love-for-money exchange.

But now, money has become a major impediment to love. The Bread Financial survey discovered that 21% of millennials had moved in together to save money and 19% of Gen Z put off getting married because it’s too expensive.

Singles are living in the real world — one with inflation, wage stagnation and layoffs. Love does not conquer all for them because it can’t. Their partner needs to bring something to the table just so they can afford to live.

The economy is also making love more difficult to enjoy. A 2023 survey from financial services company Northwestern Mutual discovered that 26% of people — of all ages — reported that their financial stress has impacted their relationship with their spouse or partner at least once a month.

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What’s a regular Joe to do?

If you aren’t a Rockefeller, you may be concerned that this means you’ll be alone and loveless forever.

But, luckily, that’s not the case. Bread Financial’s Valentine’s Day survey from 2023 found that most singles find it attractive when someone is financially responsible — whether they have a high net worth or not. Knowing that you have a financial adviser or a high credit score can boost a date’s interest.

One woman saw this first-hand on dating apps. She put her 804 credit score on her dating profile and got so much interest from men that one even jokingly proposed to her.

Openly discussing your finances on a first date may seem taboo. But with the current economic conditions, it’s no longer an option not to.

You can start small by talking about who pays the bill. You may think, like 35% of singles in the Bread Financial survey, that it’s a turn-off to be asked to split the bill. However, over half of singles didn’t say that, meaning they may be more open to it than you think. With there being more gender equality now, more people may be open to going Dutch.

If you still feel queasy about discussing splitting the bill, think of it as setting a precedent for a relationship based on financial transparency and openness. For many singles in a tight economy, that’s the most romantic thing you can do.

What to read next

Sabina Wex is a writer and podcast producer in Toronto. Her work has appeared in Business Insider, Fast Company, CBC and more.

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