What's More Important: Love or Money? 6 Things Millennials Told Us

Julissa Treviño Updated on October 9, 2018

We millennials are often portrayed as a strange breed—job hoppers but ambitious; purpose-driven rather than money-driven; and lazy yet constantly side-hustling. But what about when it comes to balancing careers with relationships?

In a recent survey, Comet asked more than 300 single, childless millennials how long they would stay single to focus on work and what kind of career sacrifices they would make for love. Here's the scoop.

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1. We won't end long-term relationships for jobs

Millennials carry more debt than previous generations  That might be why most respondents admitted they would delay marriage for seven years—and having children for eight years—if the right career opportunities came up.

Long-term relationships are not in trouble, though.

In fact, 54% said they would pass up a career opportunity to stay in a long-term relationship.

Most respondents—86%—would move if their significant other was offered a job in another city, state or country. If a relationship threatened their career, though, that's a different story ... which brings us to our next point.

2. 1 in 3 millennials would end a relationship for a significant raise

Millennials earn a median annual income of less than $26,000, or $13 an hour, in every state except Washington, D.C.

But the amount of money it would take for them to sacrifice relationships varied.

When given the hypothetical choice between love or money, it would take:

  • a raise of $36,000 to keep millennials from coupling up
  • a $37,000 raise to end a relationship completely, and
  • a raise of $64,000 to delay marriage.

3. Careers get in the way of love—sometimes

People reported avoiding relationships for different reasons, including:

  • they wanted to focus on their career (40%)
  • they were too picky (52%)
  • they haven't found a good match (50%)
  • they don't go out enough (48%)
  • or they haven't found someone they liked enough to date (45%).

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4. Men and women have different priorities 

(We know ... that's hardly groundbreaking research. )

There's an undeniable gap to survey responses when broken down by gender. Men by far were more willing to put off relationships for their career. Men were also more willing to:

  • end a relationship if it meant a big promotion (44% vs. 37%), and
  • end a relationship for a significant raise (37% vs. 26%). 

It would also take much less money for men to delay having a relationship, getting married, or having children compared to women.

Women, however, would end a relationship for less money and would be more likely to give up a long-term relationship if it jeopardized a career.

5. Marriage can wait ... for a little while, at least

This probably comes as no surprise, but millennials are waiting longer to get married.

However, the age at which they're willing to settle down and get married is higher than it ever has been. On average, respondents said they are waiting until age 35.

6. Love matters more as time goes by

Unsurprisingly, older millennials were less likely to give up relationships for their careers. This might be because they're closer to the age of wanting to settle down.

Want to read more personal finance stories? Visit our Financial Freedom series for tips and other resources.

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Published in: Financial Freedom

About the Author
Julissa Treviño

Julissa Treviño is a writer and journalist based in Texas. Her work has appeared in BBC Future, CityLab, Columbia Journalism Review, The Dallas Morning News, Racked, Teen Vogue and other publications. She enjoys traveling, playing with makeup, biking and trying new food. Follow her @JulissaTrevino. Read more by Julissa Treviño

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