Charlie Finance Study Reveals 60 Percent of Women Won’t Marry a Debtor

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Millennial Money Woes at Heart of Declining Marriage Rates?

Charlie Finance, a text-based AI chatbot radically changing the way people think and feel about money, today released initial findings from its 2019 Money and Dating survey. This inaugural study, conducted by Ipsos for Charlie, surveyed single millennial women (defined as being between the ages of 18-40 and never married) on how finances factor into considerations of compatibility for long-term love. The outcome could change how financial institutions serve this new generation and affect how wealth builds for generations.

The Key Takeaway: Women are changing the narrative of money and marriage. The majority of this group:

  • Prioritize mitigating financial risks of a partner
  • Does NOT see marriage as a path to financial security
  • Are waiting longer to have conversations that will evaluate financial risk

The Game has Changed
Title IX (1972), The Equal Credit Act (1974) and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (1978) all passed in the decade before the first millennials were born, fundamentally changing the educational, financial and professional landscapes into which they grew up. It has launched the first generation of women who no longer have to rely on marriage for financial security.

Charlie has discovered that not only do the majority of women (66 percent) recognize that, they won’t put their financial future at risk for marriage. It makes sense. Mortgage and other lenders consider the lower credit score when assigning risk to a couple, and in the event of divorce, the current gender pay gap and longer life expectancy of women can mean less financial security later in life with only 19% of divorced women feeling financially optimistic for their retirement.

Hard Numbers over Soft Hearts
When asked if they would rather date someone with a tattoo of their ex or someone with a bad credit score (defined as a score below 500), 54 percent of women chose the tattoo. While both may indicate a lack of responsibility, a history of poor borrowing and spending habits that make up 30 percent of your credit score has long-term consequences to a couple’s ability to purchase a house or car, support children, and basic financial comforts of taking vacations or change careers.

“Sadly, we live in a financial system that doesn’t benefit single women — even though we are working harder than ever, make up a larger percentage of higher degrees than men, and are savvier at saving for retirement, -- single women will actually end up spending a million dollars more in their lifetime on costs like healthcare, housing, retirement, etc. compared to their married counterparts,” said Paola Heneine, Growth Manager at Charlie Finance. “Even with all the financial cards stacked against us, we still would rather stay single than marry someone who will drag us down financially.”

Size Matters
The majority are less likely to enter into marriage with someone who will bring financial baggage.

  • Six in ten (58 percent) would be hesitant to marry their partner if they have a large amount of debt
  • Middle-aged women (ages 31-40) are less likely to marry someone bringing debt into a marriage (67 percent vs. 56 percent of those ages 18-30)

As the average cost of a wedding peaks at $33k in the U.S., close to half of women surveyed (49 percent) recognize that there is more value in skipping an engagement ring and using the cash value however they want -- pay bills, go on vacation, cover the wedding costs, pay for the honeymoon.

Money Talks, Eventually
As money becomes a bigger factor in determining the risk of a partner, the majority are still hesitant about engaging in conversations early on in a relationship.

  • Seventy-four percent of single women said they would rather not see any financial information — like credit score, student loan debt, or savings — upfront on a dating app
  • Nearly half (48 percent) said the subject of finances (debt, saving, spending, etc.) should only be discussed in a serious relationship

“While we love to point at the next big thing Millennials are killing, the fact that we are waiting longer to get married and prioritizing if a partner will bring us financial bliss or misery is forcing us to be smarter about how the financial decisions we make now will impact us long term,” said Heneine. “My advice to single women is to always keep your financial independence. Your credit scores, savings, and financial worth have so much value and never let someone else take advantage of that.”

Complete findings of the survey are available upon request.

These are the findings from an Ipsos poll conducted January 23 - 31, 2019 on behalf of Charlie Finance. For the survey, a sample of 533 women ages 18-40 from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii was interviewed online, in English. To qualify for the survey, women had to be single/never married. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of ±4.8 percentage points for all respondents. Full methodology available upon request.

About Charlie
Charlie is a friendly, smart financial assistant that wants to put your financial stressors at ease. Charlie wants you to sit back and relax while he tirelessly looks for ways you can cut expenses, find better deals on the services you already use and help you avoid bad financial surprises. Think of Charlie as your bank account’s bodyguard and your personal finance cheerleader. Simply put, Charlie’s got your back. Charlie is backed by Norwest Venture Partners, Uncork Capital, Peterson Partners, frog, and Launchub Ventures. To download Charlie today, visit

About Ipsos
Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry. With offices in 89 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe. Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,782.7 million in 2016.

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