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Media Release

Ditch or date? Australians would reject potential partners if debt exceeds $60,000

        • $1,000 deemed too much debt for 24% of Aussies
        • Men are more tolerant of debt than women
        • How your partner's debt can affect you

19 February 2020, Sydney, Australia – Aussies with masses of debt may struggle to find love according to new research by Finder, Australia's most visited comparison site.

A recent Finder survey of 792 respondents revealed that on average, Aussies would refuse to date someone if their personal debt exceeded $59,758 (outside their mortgage).

One in four Aussies (24%) wouldn't tolerate debt of up to $1,000 outside a mortgage, while 15% would be turned off if their love interest carried between $1,000 and $5,000 worth of debt.

Kate Browne, personal finance expert at Finder, said that debt can be a major deal-breaker in the modern dating world.

"Love and money don't always mix, especially when debt is involved. It's hard enough to keep your own personal finances in check, let alone having to worry about someone else's.

"The 'money talk' is best avoided on the first date. But if things start heating up, it's important to have an open discussion about your finances, even if it's the last thing on your mind.

"You don't want your partner's debt to prevent you from eventually buying a home or getting ahead financially," Browne said.

Men are more lenient when it comes to debt, with the average male admitting they'd be willing to look the other way for up to $64,000. Women would only do the same for up to $56,000.

Gen Y would turn down a potential suitor if their debt exceeded $43,000, whereas gen X would be willing to accommodate up to $77,000 on average.

Browne said that debt doesn't necessarily spell disaster in a potential partner.

"For many Aussies who are out there dating, debt can be a red flag. But some types of debt are better than others.

"A student loan is considered to be good debt because it can help an individual to get ahead in life. You should also consider your partner's strategy for getting rid of debt. They may repay it in a matter of months with clever budgeting.

"That being said, you should try and steer clear of gambling debt, or a history of defaults," warned Browne.

The most common forms of debt Aussies are carrying include a mortgage (30%), credit card (27%), student loan (15% ), personal loans (13%) and buy now pay later (13%).

How much personal debt would turn you off dating someone? (Aside from a mortgage)
$1–$1,00024%
$1,001–$5,00015%
$5,001–$10,00018%
$10,001–$30,00015%
$30,001+28%

Source: Finder, December 2019

How your partner's debt can affect you

  • Reduced chance of home loan approval. When applying for a mortgage as a couple, your financial history will come under the microscope. If your partner has a history of debt and a poor credit score, the pair of you may be rejected (even if your own financial record is squeaky clean).
  • Limited access to joint finance. Many couples manage their finances with a joint credit card or a joint loan. If one applicant carries debt, you may find you're rejected on this basis.
  • You may be held responsible. If your partner were to die with credit card debt, this may affect you if they've borrowed against joint assets you hold together, like a car or home. Lenders may choose to sell off these assets to cover the outstanding balance. However, this is generally only the case with secured debt, rather than unsecured debt.

Types of debt

Good debt

  • Mortgage
  • Student loan
  • Business loan

Bad debt

  • Credit card
  • Personal loan
  • Buy now pay later

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For further information

Disclaimer

The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on finder.com.au's review pages for the current correct values.

About us

Every month 2.2 million unique visitors turn to Finder to save money and time, and to make important life choices. We compare virtually everything from credit cards, phone plans, health insurance, travel deals and much more.

Our free service is 100% independently-owned by two Australians: Fred Schebesta and Frank Restuccia. Since launching in 2006, Finder has helped Aussies find what they need from 1,800+ brands across 100+ categories.

We continue to expand and launch around the globe, and now operate in the United States and the United Kingdom. For further information visit www.finder.com.au.

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