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Romance versus riches

Not everyone agrees on living without love for over $100 million — the average dollar value varies widely by generation:

  • Baby boomers: $74.79 million
  • Gen X: $50.06 million
  • Millennials: $162.88 million
  • Gen Z: $226.041 million

Interestingly, Gen X would sacrifice romance for just over a fifth of what Gen Z requires. But Gen Z (the oldest of whom are now 27) are in a very different place in their lives, compared to their middle-aged cohorts.

These bright young things are more likely to have begun or are currently seeking out romantic relationships — with less of the financial responsibilities that older generations are dealing with, like child care or paying off a mortgage. They’re placing a higher price tag on love, also in part because they have several more decades ahead of them to potentially live without it.

Read more: Here's how much the average 60-year-old American holds in retirement savings — how does your nest egg compare?

Meanwhile, Gen X, who require the least amount of money to give up on love, have racked up the most credit card debt compared to any other generation, are struggling to pay off their loans and are sandwiched between caring for both their children and their aging parents. They could do with extra funds, even if it costs them a romantic partner.

On the other hand, nearly half of Gen Z say they would sacrifice love in order to get ahead in their careers, in comparison to about a third of all respondents. Unlike the other survey question, this one doesn’t specify whether respondents would be giving up on romance for the entirety of their lives, which could explain why more younger Americans might opt for a promotion or career advancement now to find love later on.

What we would do for love

Folks say money can’t buy love, but there are certain financial sacrifices people would be willing to make to improve their romantic lives.

About 60% of respondents say they’d spend less money on luxury or non-essential purchases for themselves, perhaps to free up more funds to spend on their loved ones or improve their financial security.

And 46% say they’d pursue a side hustle, which could provide a tidy boost to their existing income — especially at a time when inflation’s eating away at their purchasing power.

Another major financial sacrifice 43% of respondents were willing to make was adjusting their retirement timelines. For example, you’re in a committed relationship, you might have to work longer to accommodate your partner’s spending needs — like going on a trip together once a year or dining out at a restaurant for date nights — or even decisions that come with financial consequences, like choosing to have kids or purchasing a home together.

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About the Author

Serah Louis

Serah Louis


Serah Louis is a reporter with Moneywise.com. She enjoys tackling topical personal finance issues for young people and women and covering the latest in financial news.

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