When choosing the person you could potentially spend forever with, you probably have a list of qualities you’re looking for. You probably want them to be smart, kind, with a great sense of humor—and of course you want them to love you wholeheartedly. But a new study has found that there’s something that even trumps love when it comes to relationships: cold hard cash.
Science proves it: money is important in love. Sure, everyone wants a partner they actually love and vice versa, but if you’re going to be with someone long-term, they need to be financially stable. It’s a viewpoint confirmed in a recent study performed by Bank of America’s Merrill Edge. In a survey of 1,000 people, 56% of respondents said they’re looking for financial security in a relationship while only 44% want to be swept off their feet in love.
Similarly, professionally ambitious people are seen as more attractive. That is in comparison to more socially conscious folks. In other words, 63% of survey participants said they’d rather have a partner who’s driven in their career than one who, say, wants to end world hunger and cares about social justice issues. Not that the two are mutually exclusive, but that’s a little depressing.
Realism matters more than romance, I guess. According to Aron Levine, head of consumer banking and Merrill Edge, it’s all about being practical. “There’s a level of realism. How do you keep the love of your life if you can’t pay for a vacation?” While I get his point—lack of money certainly causes stress even for single people, so this is compounded for couples with added expenses—certainly there’s more to life than expensive getaways?
Admittedly, this study has a huge constraint. Only affluent couples were surveyed, which puts the results in perspective a bit more. After all, if you already have money—and these 1,000 people had anywhere from $50,000 to $250,000 of investible income at the time of the survey—the idea of being with a broke person probably isn’t all that alluring. Something tells me asking the same questions to those who are living paycheck to paycheck or are just lower middle class might yield some different results.
It’s important not to glorify money too much. There’s no denying that money is important and that it’s a privilege to be able to say it doesn’t matter—anyone who’s never had it knows how untrue that is. Still, there has to be a balance struck. Be with someone who’s ambitious like you and who cares about creating a comfortable life, but don’t glorify their bank balance (or yours) too much. Love still counts for something.
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