As inflation persists, Americans choosing money over love, staying in relationships for financial dependency

Money can be a difficult subject in relationships, and according to a new study, it can also be the reason why couples stay together. 

LendingTree asked more than 2,000 U.S. consumers in February about their financial experiences with their partners — and how much they valued financial security in their relationships.

The online loan company found that 62% of couples share at least one account, with 41% completely combining funds, and these integrated partnerships reported having fewer money issues. In fact, of those who share at least one account, only 12% said financial issues have caused problems in their current relationship. 

"Openness, honesty and transparency are crucial for a relationship’s success, and that’s certainly true when it comes to money," LendingTree Chief Credit Analyst Matt Schulz said. "By sharing an account, it gives each partner equal visibility into what’s going on in that account. That can help grow trust within the relationship."


An elderly couple walks hand-in-hand down a street in Santa Fe, New Mexico. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

The study also found nearly a quarter of coupled Americans reported staying in their current relationships due to financial dependency. About 27% of millennials said they stay because they’re reliant or dependent and 12% of respondents admitted to wanting to end the relationship but feeling stuck. 

Baby boomers were the most likely generation to report not feeling stuck due to finances, while millennials were the most likely to stay in relationships for financial reasons. Gen Zers were the most likely to say their relationship hindered their financial growth. 

RELATED: Half of Americans say they're financially worse than last year: survey

While LendingTree noted that Americans rank trust and attraction as the most important qualities in a partner, 33% consider financial security before committing to a relationship. 

And although arguments might be common, most said it’s not enough to call it quits. Of those who said financial problems have caused issues in current or past relationships, 44% said they hashed it out and stayed together. Meanwhile, 30% broke up or divorced due to money issues. 

Inflation continues to impact finances

Amid continued high inflation, the survey noted that less than 5% of respondents were the sole income provider in their relationship — bucking traditional conventions.

Following a year marked by record inflation, rising interest rates and a volatile stock market, many Americans found themselves in a worse financial situation at the start of 2023. 

According to a Gallup poll conducted in January, 50% of Americans said they were worse off than they were a year ago. 

This story was reported from Los Angeles.