Love or money? Cultural shifts around wealth and romance

Love or money? Cultural shifts around wealth and romance

Australian attitudes to money and relationships are changing, in part due to cultural shifts, though some romantic and financial traditions are dying hard, according to a survey from Greater Bank.

The online survey, commissioned by Greater Bank in December 2017, asked a representative sample of Australian adults aged 18 to 65 about their attitudes to money in relation to dating, their ideal partner, relationships and weddings.

According to Greater Bank, the gender pay gap is one of the largest contributing factors to Australian attitudes to money and relationships, with the gap increasing from 14.9% in 2004, to 15.3% in 2017.

Another significant factor was found to be that the iGeneration (aged 18-24 in 2018) is set to become the first generation with more female breadwinners than male.

“In the light of cultural movements towards gender equality, such as Australia’s Equal Pay Day Alliance and the #metoo campaign, we can see the potential influence this has had on our results.”

“Notably, iGen exhibit the smallest correlation in financial disparities within the context of gender. This could also explain why our results show that Australians display greater satisfaction when they’re able to maintain financial independence.”

“However, with most Australian couples holding their finances in a joint bank account; we can also see Australians still hold true to somewhat traditional gender roles in their relationships when it comes to finances.” – Greater Bank

Money and dating

According to the survey, nearly half of heterosexual-identifying Australians are solving the sometimes-awkward question of who should pay on the first date by “going Dutch”, with 49% of those surveyed choosing to split the bill, followed by 44% of men paying, and 7% of women. The generation most likely to split the bill was found to be the iGeneration with 59%, followed by Gen X with 54%, Millennials with 48%, and Baby Boomers with 45%.

Men were found to expect to spend $50 more than women on a first date ($122 compared to $71). Australia’s big spenders were found to be in New South Wales, where residents expect to spend more than any other state on a first date ($109).

Looking past the first date jitters, while Aussies were found to send upwards of $200 on anniversary gifts at the start of a relationship, the longer a couple stayed together, the less they would spend on similar gifts, including birthday and Valentine presents.

The ideal partner

Awkwardness around income was found by the survey to be becoming less of an issue for many Aussies, with 87% of those surveyed being willing to date someone who earns less money than them, with the iGeneration being especially represented here. Also, the majority of Australians surveyed (95%) said that they felt comfortable discussing finances with their partner.

That said, two thirds of those surveyed would be bothered by their partner earning a lot less than them, while one third would be bothered by their partner earning a lot more than them.  

Aussies were also found by the survey to value looks more than money, with 71% preferring a poor but attractive partner over a wealthy but unattractive partner.


Money was found by the survey to be a pain point in many relationships, with 82% of those surveyed agreeing that money creates tension. While 19% of those surveyed had attributed a past relationship breakdown to finances, this figure was more strongly represented (42%) among separated couples.

The survey also found Australia’s top five most frustrating financial behaviours in a romantic partner: 

  • Being careless with money – 95%
  • Telling people how to spend your money – 92%
  • Borrowing money from other people – 90%
  • Being secretive about money – 89%
  • Lending money to other people – 82%

Despite the pain money potentially brings to couples, combining money into one joint account was found to be the most common way for couples to manage their finances (49%). Australian couples were found to be most likely to feel comfortable opening a joint account once they’re married (45%).

While 59% of couples agreed to contribute equally to household expenses such as rent, food and utilities, men were found to be three times as likely as women to be the primary contributor, and also three times as likely to be responsible for managing the finances.

Wedding bells

Expectations around the cost of weddings were found to vary by both generation and by gender, with men expecting to spend $1260 more than women on a wedding, and the iGeneration expecting to spend more than previous generations ($17,003, compared to $14,660 for Millennials, $12,635 for Gen X and $9835 for Baby Boomers).

Residents of New South Wales were also found to expect to spend more on a wedding than residents of other states (ACT, TAS and NT not reported due to sample size):

  • NSW – $14,409
  • VIC – $13,494
  • QLD – $13,112
  • SA – $12,655
  • WA – $10, 091

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Learn more about bank accounts

Can the government take your money from your bank account?

There are some instances when the government can take money from your bank account. This generally occurs in situations where you have an outstanding government debt.

Before it can take money from your bank account, the government authority owed money would first need to issue a garnishee notice. 

A garnishee notice is issued by the government agency (such as Centrelink or the ATO) to a third party that holds money for you or owes you money.

To take money from your bank account, your bank would be issued with the garnishee notice requiring it to pay ‘your money’ to the requesting agency to satisfy the debt.

How can I wire money to a bank account?

You can wire money to an Australian bank account either through your own bank or by using a money transfer company such as Western Union or MoneyGram. Either way, you’ll need the other person’s name, BSB number and account number. If you use a money transfer company, you might also need to provide the recipient’s address for large payments.

Can you deposit money into somebody else's bank account?

One of the easiest banking tasks in the world is depositing money. You can even deposit money into someone else’s bank account if you wish.

The basic information you need to deposit money into a third-party bank account is:

  • Payee’s name
  • Bank, building society or credit union (though this isn’t necessary)
  • BSB (or bank code, which is the branch identifier)
  • Account number

Including the name of the financial institution isn’t necessary – particularly with online banking – because the BSB will identify this for you.

A handy tip is to record yourself (or add a personal message) in the transaction description or reference. This will show up on the recipients account, letting them know who’s paid them the money.

How do you transfer money from PayPal to a bank account?

Transferring money from PayPal to an Australian bank account is simple. Just follow these three steps:

  • Go to your Wallet
  • Click ‘Transfer Money’
  • Follow the instructions

The money will take three to seven business days to reach your bank account.

Once you’ve made the transfer request, it can’t be withdrawn.

How to transfer money to another bank account

Transferring money to another bank is often called a bank transfer, and it can be done a few different ways.

Customers generally need three pieces of information to transfer money to another bank account. Customers need the account name, BSB and account number of the account they wish to transfer money to.

One way of transferring money to another bank account is in a branch with the help of a staff member; they will often give you a receipt as well as confirmation of the transfer.

Transfers can be also made via internet banking and phone banking.

Some banks also allow customers to make transfers via partnered ATMs, especially if the account is with the same bank.

How do I transfer money from Paypal to my bank account?

Transferring cash from Paypal into your bank account is simple…if you have a Paypal account that is.

Once you’re logged into your Paypal account, the account balance will appear on your home page. Below your balance are two options:

  • Add money
  • Withdraw money

Choose option two if you want to transfer money from your Paypal account to your personal bank account.

The next screen will prompt you to either enter new bank account details or choose a bank account that’s connected to Paypal. You can always add more bank accounts to your Paypal profile.

Another way to transfer out of Paypal is by jumping to the wallet tab on the top menu, and clicking ‘transfer money’. Both options will give you the same result.

Can I have a PayPal account without a bank account?

You don’t need a bank account to send or receive money through PayPal. However, you do need a bank account if you want to withdraw money from your PayPal account.

Can debt collectors take money out of your bank account?

Many people find themselves struggling to cope with debt at one time or another. In these cases, a debt collector could contact you to demand payment for a debt, to explain the consequences of you failing to pay a debt, or to organise alternative payment arrangements.

If you’re contacted by a debt collector, you may be wondering what their rights are and whether they can take money out of your bank account.

Creditors cannot access money in your bank account unless a court order (also known as a ‘garnishee order’) is made to allow creditors to recover debt by taking money from your bank account or salary.

If this happens, the creditor can take money out of your bank account unless you pay the debt in full or make an alternative payment arrangement such as paying in instalments through the court.

Can I find my bank account number online?

Yes, you can find your bank account number by logging into your online banking and clicking on the relevant account.

Do I need to open a business bank account?

Just because you’re in business doesn’t necessarily mean you need a business bank account. You could be a sole trader not registered for GST, and use your personal bank account for business.

If you do want a business account, there are plenty of benefits attached to business transaction and savings accounts, as well as business term deposits.

There are business bank accounts designed for businesses with a high volume of transactions, and those for start-ups with a small amount of trade. You could also include an EFTPOS service with your account.

Some business bank accounts charge for the number of transactions per month, while others offer a pay-as-you-go fee structure, where you only pay fees for transactions you make.

It’s up to you whether your priority is mainly transactions, or earning the maximum amount of interest on your principal. There’s a business banking solution for you if you need one.

Can a debt collector garnish my bank account?

A debt collector can garnish your bank account, but only with a court order. This drastic action is usually taken only if you’ve ignored several notices asking you to pay the debt.

If this happens, there is nothing you can do to stop it other than immediately pay back your what you owe in full or make arrangements to pay it off in installments.

Once a garnishee order is issued, your bank will put a freeze on your account as it processes the order. This usually takes two to three days and you won’t be able to access any of your money during this time.

If you have Centrelink payments, they may be protected, depending on what the court order says.

Are bank accounts frozen when someone dies?

Yes, Australian bank accounts are frozen when someone dies. If you want to close the account of somebody who has died, you might have to provide proof of death and a copy of the will. You might also have to prove your relationship to the deceased person.

If you have a joint bank account with somebody who has died, you will generally be entitled to all the money in the account. Again, you might have to provide proof of death if you want to change the bank account from a joint account to a one-person account.

Can I start a bank account online?

Yes, most lenders that operate in Australia will let you set up a bank account online. The process is usually simple and takes five to 10 minutes. You will probably need to provide a passport or birth certificate, as well as a driver’s licence, Medicare card or another form of secondary identification. Requirements differ from lender to lender, so some institutions might ask for more or different forms of ID.

How can I find bank accounts in my name?

To find ‘live’ bank accounts in your name, you’ll have to ask individual lenders, which involves contacting them one by one and proving your identity each time. To find ‘unclaimed’ bank accounts (those that have been inactive for at least seven years), you can use this website.