When you’re trying to seduce a dimepiece, you’re not going to start things off by confessing how pathetically broke you are. You’re not going to reveal that you’re in debt up to your eyeballs, or that your dark future of indentured servitude is all but guaranteed by your shit credit.
Nope, instead you’re going to sweep that mess under the rug and refuse to broach the subject of your severe debt. And you wouldn’t be alone. An epidemic of debt shame is rising. But covering up your crap credit to save your relationships is bad news. “Financial infidelity,” or lying to your partner about your financial situation, can bring your relationship to a quick, brutal death.
In fact, in a new Social Finance study conducted to learn how Millennials think about debt in the context of their love life, serious debt was the second-biggest romantic deal-breaker, after workaholism.
Acknowledging that a Tinder profile which reads “Overworked MBA grad with tons of debt” would fail to reel in any hotties, we hide our debts deep among the skeletons in our closet. Perhaps even deeper than the herpes we caught from that slimy one night stand in college.
It’s true: the previously mentioned SoFi study found that nearly 40 percent of Millennials would rather disclose a sexually transmitted disease to a potential partner than reveal their debt.
This is a big issue when student loan debt is a symbol of the Millennial generation. The average class of 2016 graduate has over $37,000 in debts. Total student loan debt now stands at over $1.3 trillion, double the amount in 2009. This debt is not only something that affects our relationships today, but may determine if they last until tomorrow.
As financial planner Jon Powell explained to Bloomberg, having an indebted lover could significantly affect your quality of life. You’d likely have to hold off on a wedding, buying a home, going on vacations, and make countless other sacrifices that a debt-free lover wouldn’t require.
That type of baggage should make us think twice about who we plan our future with. The SoFi study found that 55 percent of Millennials are true romantics, saying they wouldn’t dump someone over debt. But the remaining daters aren’t so sure — they’re curious to know how much debt we’re talking.
It seems one in six partners would kick you to the curb for as little as $10,000 – $50,000 in debt. And nearly half would leave your broke ass at the altar for $50,000 or more.
While you don’t want to be dumped for confessing your debt, continuing to hide it isn’t really an option, either. “It’s far harder to deal with debt if the reveal comes too late in the dating game,” says fiscal advisor Cary Carbonaro in her financial book. “The deceit alone is enough to kill a relationship,” she says.
However, plenty of partners have made this fatal mistake. The SoFi study revealed that about one in four Millennials had been lied to by a partner about how much debt they were in.
But you can bet your bottom dollar that they won’t be making that mistake again. Because committing to someone means also committing to their money. And just like herpes, student debt is the gift that keeps on giving.
[Illustration Credits: Social Finance, Inc.]