Financial security is so important to Americans that 16% say they would divorce their spouse if his or her spending and money style was an issue, according to a new survey.
Another 65% say that their partner having too much debt is a definite dealbreaker when it comes to deciding whether to marry him or her.
Those are the findings of a new survey of 1,000 respondents fielded by Clever Real Estate, a real estate education platform for home buyers and investors.
Of those who are already married, 10% said they wish they chose a partner more financially responsible, which bears out the finding that money-related issues contribute to about one in six divorces, researchers said.
Perhaps, not surprisingly, 19% would consider marrying someone for financial reasons, the survey found. “Some 20% of Americans report that financial stability is a top priority. This aligns with the common perception that marriage can bring financial benefits, as argued by economists and sociologists who advocate for its preservation,” Clever said in the report.
How much debt is a dealbreaker for would-be suitors? “Respondents say the maximum debt they’re comfortable with for a potential spouse to carry averages between $20,000 and $30,000, with the most common limit falling between $10,000 to $20,000,” the group said.
While marriage is declining—the national marriage rate has declined 60% over the last 50 years—66% of married couples report improved finances after marriage. However, the desire to marry for financial stability is “not universal” and statistics don’t always bear out financial benefits, the report said. In fact, only half of married Americans actually experience increased savings, researchers found.
The desire and fundamental belief in marriage is strongest among older generations. “Baby boomers really love marriage. They’re 75% more likely than Gen X, 168% more likely than millennials and 394% more likely than Gn Z to say nothing is more important than marriage,” Clever reported.
Although 86% of married couples said they’re happy they got married, 14% of couples are unhappy with their marriage, researchers found.
“What’s even more striking is that more than 1 in 10 Americans (11%) admit to not liking their spouse as a person. Additionally, 38% of couples report feeling obligated to stay married, while 19% describe their marriage as loveless. These figures paint a sobering picture of marital dynamics, as the highest percentage of respondents (24%) have been married for less than five years,” the survey found.
Infidelity is the top reason for divorce in America, with about 37% of divorced Americans reporting citing unfaithfulness as the cause of their divorce, more than any other reason, the survey found.
“After infidelity, the most cited reasons for divorce are too many arguments (32%), falling out of love (27%), and abuse (25%). The latter is not only extremely disconcerting but also another example of a reason for divorce where someone can easily be found at fault,” researchers said.
On a positive note, about 65% of Americans express a willingness to elope and allocate the wedding budget toward a significant purchase, such as a house or a car.
“This reflects a shift in priorities and a pragmatic approach to finances compared to previous generations in which weddings were almost obligatory,” researchers added.