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Money Mistakes Cost Relationships: Survey

40% of Americans have ended relationships over poor financial choices, survey finds
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Your money mistakes may just cost your relationship, according to new research.

A survey of 2,000 Americans looked at the importance of decision-making and found that 40% have ended a relationship over a poor financial choice.

Overall, nearly three-quarters of respondents feel sure about their decision-making ability, describing themselves as decisive (74%). Just one in six admit to being indecisive.

Those who are sure about their choices chalk it up to good judgment skills (68%), confidence (63%) and strong intuition (62%). They also pride themselves on their ability to think quickly (58%) and gauge others’ behaviors like tone or body language (54%).

A survey of 2,000 Americans looked at the importance of decision-making and found that 40% have ended a relationship over a poor financial choice. PHOTO BY MIKHAIL NILOV/PEXELS 

On the other hand, those who are indecisive fear making the wrong decision (55%) and seek to understand as much information as possible (56%).

For nearly half of these respondents, opposites attract, as they look for someone more decisive when considering a relationship (46%). This holds true except in the Midwest, where only one in five seek someone more decisive.

While most Americans believe they’re decisive, many seek advice from someone at work (35%) or the news (29%) — above their partner’s advice (18%) — when considering money-related decisions.

Conducted by OnePoll in partnership with SurePayroll By Paychex, the survey also found that some of the daily decisions people struggle with regularly are what to eat for different meals (44%), what to watch on TV (40%) and hobby-related decisions like what book to read or what to create (39%).

Respondents are most open to negotiation when it comes to household debates about meal choices (47%) or chores (37%), but less so about work-related decisions like switching areas with a colleague (4%) or adjusting their pay (2%).

When it comes to big decisions, survey-takers put more faith in research (55%) and make pro- and-con lists (55%) to help them out.

Most respondents indicate they would want to be 100% sure before making a significant purchase, like a house (60%). This requires more certainty than the decision to get married or divorced (57%), start a family (44%), change jobs (48%) or move (40%).

A survey of 2,000 Americans looked at the importance of decision-making and found that 40% have ended a relationship over a poor financial choice. PHOTO BY MIKHAIL NILOV/PEXELS 

Surprisingly, 40% said they would leave a major decision up to random choice.

On average, Americans would do six hours of research before making a big decision. One in nine said they would need to mull it over for at least 10 hours before deciding.

Some of these major decisions people have committed to are related to time or money, like moving somewhere new (41%) or investing a large sum of money (15%).

Others have made career-changing moves like starting a new job or career path (52%) or becoming a business owner (13%).

Of the major decisions to consider, respondents agree that starting a business (21%) and investing a large sum of money (22%) would take the longest deliberation.

“Whether making large or small decisions, the survey clearly shows people want to be sure about their decisions. The results highlight ways small business owners can help customers and prospects simplify and validate their decision-making process,” said Melissa Smiley, associated head of brand and content at SurePayroll By Paychex.

“With the faith people put in reviews and research, small business owners can boost customer confidence by adding a link to independent review sites to their home page, posting testimonials on social media, or providing a comparison against leading competitors.”

Just 21% are more concerned about how their decisions affect them in the long run than in the present (16%); more than half fall somewhere in the middle (58%).

Those surveyed admit to having regrets about decisions they made when they were young (27%) and about their career (27%).

Interestingly, 23% have misgivings about their partner and another 22% regret certain parenting decisions they made.

Respondents even feel contrite when it comes to choices like shopping; 43% are remorseful about purchases at a big box store because of quality concerns (63%), cost (53%) and worry about the business’s practices (60%).

Instead, 23% believe spending more shopping with a local business is a better use of their money compared to saving at a large chain.

“Americans feel sure about shopping at small businesses. The level of personalized service they receive from a local business serves to validate their purchase decision better than a purchase from a chain,” said Smiley. “Americans clearly appreciate the vibrancy and support local businesses — owned and operated by those active in the community — bring to their economy and the communities in which they operate.”


  1. What to eat for different meals — 44%
  2. What to watch on TV — 40%
  3. Hobby-related decisions — 39%
  4. What to wear for the day — 37%
  5. What to purchase at the grocery store — 36%
  6. Order of getting ready — 32%
  7. How much/little of their money to spend — 31%
  8. Breakdown of the day — 25%
  9. When to take care of their personal hygiene — 18% [TIED]
  10. Social-related decisions — 18% [TIED]

Produced in association with SWNS Research

(Additional reporting provided by Talker Research)

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