A New Report Shows Millennials and Gen Zs Are Breaking Up For Financial Reasons

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When you think of the reasons most couples break up, deep-rooted, fundamental issues like misaligned values, constant conflict, incompatible schedules, and differing visions for the future probably come top-of-mind. (Or disagreeing on the importance of the main message at the heart of the Barbie movie—le duh.) But what about what’s in—or not in—your partner’s bank account?

For a huge chunk of Millennials and Gen Zers, finances are far from a superficial reason to end things. According to a July 2023 report from Credit Karma, about a third of Gen Z and Millennial respondents say they’ve broken up over finances. And it’s not just a one-off fight about splitting the bill or what a vacation budget looks like: 41 percent of Gen Zers and 42 percent of Millennials say they fight about money on a monthly basis, and for Millennials, it’s the biggest source of arguments. Yep, even over spending quality time together, doing chores, and having sex.

Some of their biggest financial “icks” include reckless spending (17 percent), hiding accounts (13 percent), having “a lot” of debt (11 percent) and being unwilling to split expenses or expecting one person to pay for everything (10 percent). Nine percent of respondents said being financially dependent on family or friends was an ick, as well as being “controlling” when it comes to your finances.

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Obviously money is huge when it comes to planning for the future (especially these days, when it feels like everything, everywhere is more expensive and homeownership feels next-to-impossible), so making sure you and your partner are aligned and share similar spending habits is key to long-term relationship success. But for something so important, we sure aren’t talking about it enough—and if we are, we’re waiting way too long to do it. Twenty-five percent of Gen Zers and 29 percent of Millennial respondents said it’s “okay” to wait to talk about money until you move in together, and 21 percent of Gen Zers and 12 percent of Millennials say you should wait until you’re getting engaged or married.

By then, there’s a good chance you’ve been together for—ahem, *checks notes*—a decent amount of time. And while, no, money might not be the most important factor for everyone when it comes to compatibility (true love finds a way! etc, etc.), it’s clearly pretty damn important if it’s causing a third of young adults to break up. So, pro tip: Have this all-too-important conversation before investing (pun intended) your time, energy, and heart into someone whose priorities don’t align, at least closely, with yours.

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Veronica Lopez

Veronica Lopez is the sex and relationships editor at Cosmopolitan, where she covers and edits stories about single life, dating, relationships, sex, identity, and more. Previously, she was the sex and dating editor at Elite Daily. Follow her on Instagram here and on Twitter here.

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