You might want to hold off on that $200 bottle of wine if you plan to impress your valentine date with your generosity. According to survey answers from thousands of OkCupid members, many don’t consider money all that important.
NerdWallet partnered with the dating site OkCupid to learn how people view the wealth and earnings of potential partners. OkCupid’s findings reflect U.S. users’ responses during 2015 and 2016 to a voluntary online questionnaire used to populate profiles and determine compatible matches. Learn more about OkCupid’s survey in our methodology.
Many OkCupid users say a match’s money isn’t that important to them. When OkCupid users were asked how important “money/wealth” was to them in a match, only about 5% answered that it was “very important.” About 36% said it wasn’t important at all. The remaining respondents either went with “somewhat important” (about 39%) or skipped the question (about 21%).
Concern about a prospective partner’s wealth varies by city. Among the 50 metro areas with the highest numbers of OkCupid users, Tulsa, Oklahoma, had the highest percentage of people who professed that money and wealth weren’t important (48%) by far. Miami, New York, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and Las Vegas tied for the highest percentage of users who said those things were “very important” (about 7%).
More than half of surveyed users said they were fine with a partner who outearned them. Some 52% said they’d be “very comfortable” if a partner made more than they did. Less than 1% said they’d be very uncomfortable in this situation.
Most respondents value career ambition in a partner. Users surveyed felt less comfortable with the idea of a significant other who was content with a minimum-wage job and uninterested in more challenging or better-paying work. More than 60% who were asked said that was at least “somewhat” a problem. Of the top 50 metro areas, the Washington, D.C., area had the highest percentage of members who said this was an intolerable situation (38%), compared with the national rate of about 31%.
Where money matters most and least in a date across the U.S.
Nationwide, 5% of OkCupid users who were asked about the importance of money/wealth in a match replied that it was “very important” and 36% said it was “not important at all.” The chart below shows the percentage of users who chose these two answers in the 50 U.S. metro areas with the largest numbers of members.
How OkCupid users feel about a potential partner’s earnings
When OkCupid users were asked, “How would you feel if your significant other made more money than you?” they could either skip the question or answer: “very comfortable,” “somewhat comfortable,” “somewhat uncomfortable” or “very uncomfortable.”
More than half (52%) of U.S. users who were asked this question said they’d be “very comfortable” if their partner outearned them, while about 21% said they’d be “somewhat comfortable.” Only 0.5% said they’d be “very uncomfortable,” and a little more than 23% skipped the question.
Break down these figures by gender, and almost 76% of men who were asked said they were either “very” or “somewhat comfortable” with their partner outearning them; about 70% of women feel the same.
Where daters value career ambition in a match
When creating their profiles, some OkCupid users were asked this hypothetical: “Your significant other is perfectly content with their minimum wage job and has no plans to look for more challenging/better paying work. Is this a problem?”
Nearly a third of users (31%) answered, “Yes [that is a problem], I wouldn’t be able to tolerate that,” and almost 31% said it was “somewhat” a problem, “but it’s their life.” A little more than 13% of users said it wasn’t a problem and they wouldn’t mind the situation, and almost 25% skipped the question.
The chart below shows how users in the 50 cities with the highest numbers of users answered the same question.
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The 43% of OkCupid users who said wealth was either “somewhat” or “very” important weren’t commenting on a potential partner’s credit score, but that three-digit number impacts finances in several ways. It’s important for securing mortgages and student or car loans, and it determines the interest rates lenders charge for them. Some landlords use credit history to pick renters, and credit can also influence car insurance premiums.
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Laura McMullen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website.. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @lauraemcmullen. Courtney Miller is a data analyst at NerdWallet. Email: email@example.com.
About the OkCupid users and the questions in this study: The median age of an OkCupid user is 27. The three questions referenced were answered by users between January 2015 and December 2016. Here’s how many users answered each question:
- “How important is money/wealth for you in a potential match?” 33,470 users
- “How would you feel if your significant other made more money than you?” 11,553 users
- “Your significant other is perfectly content with their minimum wage job and has no plans to look for more challenging/better paying work. Is this a problem?” 22,890 users
How OkCupid’s survey works: Each user can opt to answer questions that OkCupid uses to help him or her find a compatible match. Users choose how many questions they answer and how often, and OkCupid promotes different questions at various times depending on where the user is in the OkCupid experience.
Once a user sees a question, he or she can skip it or choose among a set of answers. Users can specify if the way a potential partner answers the same question is important, as well as their preference for how he or she would answer it. Users’ answers can be seen by other users who have answered the same question. Users can also block other users from viewing specific answers.