Gen Z Favors Financial Compatibility Over Attraction: Northwestern Mutual Survey

A recent survey conducted by Northwestern Mutual unveils a significant shift in the priorities of young adults when it comes to relationships. The study, part of the Northwestern Mutual Planning & Progress series for 2023, surveyed 2,740 adults in the United States between February and March, shedding light on the evolving attitudes of Gen Z and millennials towards finances in their romantic partnerships.

The Rise of Financial Compatibility: Gen Z Takes the Lead

In a noteworthy revelation, the survey indicates that Gen Zers are emerging as the generation most inclined to prioritize shared financial values over physical attraction in their partners. A staggering 49% of Gen Z respondents expressed the belief that financial compatibility outweighs considerations of physical and spiritual alignment.

Survey Methodology: Northwestern Mutual’s In-Depth Exploration

Conducted on a diverse sample of 2,740 adults across the United States, Northwestern Mutual’s survey brings forth valuable insights into the evolving dynamics of modern relationships. The study took place over the months of February and March, providing a comprehensive snapshot of the financial considerations that guide individuals in their romantic endeavors.

Shifting Conversations: Younger Generations Embrace Early Financial Discourse

The survey highlights a trend where younger generations, particularly Gen Z and millennials, are increasingly open to discussing financial matters early in their relationships. About 32% of Gen Zers and 40% of millennials believe that conversations about money should take place before a relationship reaches a serious stage. Moreover, a staggering 72% of all generations emphasize the need for these discussions “well ahead of marriage or living together.”

Financial Anxiety Among the Youth: A Growing Concern

The survey underscores the rising financial anxiety among young people, driven by the escalating cost of living in the United States. Over a third of Gen Z and 42% of millennials cite finances as a significant challenge or the single most difficult issue they face in their relationships. This is in stark contrast to only 17% of Baby Boomers expressing a similar sentiment.

Deloitte Survey Corroborates Financial Concerns

Supporting Northwestern Mutual’s findings, a Deloitte survey conducted this year reveals that over half of Gen Z and millennials are living paycheck-to-paycheck, with financial worries topping their list of concerns. The survey also highlights the perception among young adults that traditional milestones like homeownership and starting a family may be out of reach or impossible.


As young people grapple with the financial complexities of modern life, the Northwestern Mutual survey provides a nuanced understanding of the shifting priorities in relationships. With financial compatibility taking precedence, the dynamics of modern romance are evolving to reflect the economic realities faced by Gen Z and millennials.

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