New Survey in S’pore Shows When Dating Couple Will Reveal Their Salary

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Dating is a trial period to test whether you are compatible with your prospective partner or not, be it in temperament, values, beliefs, and habits.

More often than not, one of the topics that come up in the forging of a relationship is money.

After all, we live in a capitalist world where money makes the world go round, and everything in Singapore is bloody expensive.

To understand what the current generation think about dating and money, dating application Coffee Meets Bagel and investment platform Syfe partnered together to hold a survey.

There were a total of 1,363 respondents and these were the results.

Let’s Talk About Money

Overall, 93% of the respondents find that good money management is an attractive quality in a potential partner.

This is understandable; a long-lasting relationship can be seen as a long-term investment, where both partners are learning about each other and seeing if their values fit well together. After establishing that basis of understanding, it’s about finding compromises for differences and committing to those decisions, because love isn’t just a feeling; it’s a choice that needs to be made every step of the way.

Besides that, two in three people believe that bringing up the topic of money is a turn-off on the first date.

Yeah, humble bragging or piteous whining never goes well for anyone.

However, it should be noted that there’s a generational divide for first date money talks—58% above the age of 35 think it’s taboo on the first date, while 40% below age 35 think it’s a turn-off.

When the number of dates goes up to five, one in three participants said they would reveal how much they earn.

44% of the respondents feel that it’s appropriate to ask their potential partner how much they earn before becoming a couple.

When it comes to differing opinions between generations, co-founder of Coffee Meets Bagel Dawoon Kang posits that attitudes have deviated due to the greater gender equality that we have now.

Due to the pervasive gender stereotypes in the past, women were expected to be homemakers, and men the natural breadwinners of the family.

Financial security and autonomy were seen as less important to women, and more dependent on the man that they were marrying.

Now that women are largely independent and capable of earning their own living, alignment in attitude towards money has become more critical to family coordination, which will in turn, contribute to marital satisfaction.


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For the same reason, Coffee Meets Bagel allows its users to select important values on their profiles, such as family, financial security and career, said Ms Kang.

It is important for couples to discuss money matters to ensure that they are on the same page.

Generational Differences

While the first family planning campaign was introduced in Singapore in 1960, its main objective was to educate the population about the perils of too-frequent births and illegal abortions, as well as the financial difficulties of having overly large families.

It was geared towards population control—since this was the period after the baby boomers—and by sizing down the nuclear family, it would typically ensure a better qualitative standard of living since the household had less mouths to feed and more money to spend on each member.

But everything is exponentially more expensive now, whether it is daily necessities, transport or housing.

Additionally, there has been a push for pre-marital counselling recently, whereby counsellors will point out the importance of financial planning.


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There’s a heavy emphasis on this topic now as the rising trend in divorce and the study into corresponding reasons have shown that financial difficulties, lack of savings, or poor financial investments often break a marriage.

The younger generation, who are highly aware of these problems since they grew up in this climate, also see poor money management as a deal breaker.

Hence, this also leads to their increased willingness to talk about money matters early on. It’s better to know now and break it off, rather than regret it later.

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Engendered Expectations

Then there’s the age-old question: who pays for the date?

Regardless of gender, two in five people think that men should always pay.


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30% think that the bill should be split.

51% of women would take offence if they offered to pay but the other person didn’t offer to split the bill. 24% of the male respondents felt the same.

Evidently, some gender stereotypes exist, and let’s not even begin to talk about the YA novels of a CEO president and the Mary Sue Cinderella.

(You know what I’m talking about.)

With regards to salary, 60% of women expect their male counterpart to earn more, whereas 70% of men don’t mind if their partners earned more.


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For the latter opinion, one male respondent explained that it’s just the matter of pragmatism; if someone is able to earn more, it means that they can afford more.

His ego might be bruised if his female counterpart can lift more weights than him, but having a higher salary than him won’t emasculate him.

Upon deeper analysis, the statistics aren’t surprising.

Singapore is a patriarchal society still, and as much as traditional gender roles are fading out and declining, they still linger. It will take more time before it gradually disappears.

Talking to your partner is crucial, so you know what roles each of you can fill and are willing to fill.


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Making assumptions will only make an ass out of you and me.

How Do You Talk About Money With Your Partner?

It’s been implicitly stated that money matters can be an awkward topic for some.

It’s not just the possible wage disparity or feelings of inferiority either; there are long-standing misconceptions where a person may be perceived as a “gold digger” if they pursue someone who is far wealthier than them.

Ms Kang suggests that it is best to let the money conversation take its own course. The topic will come up eventually, and as one spends more time with their partner, you will become informed naturally.

Besides, you can tell a lot about a person’s attitude towards money after observing their spending habits.


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Financial situations can be a vulnerable topic, so it’s important that both parties want to have the conversation.

Here are some helpful tips from Ms Kang:

  • It is always good to keep an open mind and be non-judgmental when talking about expenses
  • Communication is key; share your feelings and thoughts so your partner can understand your point of view better
  • Think of wealth in a holistic manner, steer the conversation towards wealth building and possible goals to achieve with money, rather than just salaries and account savings
  • Talk about savings and investments

 Above all, it takes effort from both sides to make a relationship succeed!

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Featured Image: Shutterstock / d4rwin


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