The Cost of Loving: Young people rack up average debt of £2,250 from dating & relationships

To help young people navigate the pressures of money and relationships, Experian has launched a new podcast, hosted by celebrity dating expert and therapist, Anna Williamson

  • 18–35-year-olds are racking up thousands of pounds of debt from dating
  • 3 in 5 say social media has contributed to high expectations around how much they should spend on their partner
  • Average debt from dating and relationships is £250 higher for men than women
  • To help young people navigate the pressures of money and relationships, Experian has launched a new podcast, hosted by celebrity dating expert and therapist, Anna Williamson

UK, 13 February 2024: New data from Experian has today revealed the staggering impact of toxic social media narratives on young people’s finances when it comes to dating and relationships, with the average 18-35 year old racking up £2,2501 of debt.

The data reveals that, for over half of young people (59%), social media influence has contributed to expectations to overspend on their partner or date, and almost two-thirds (63%) believe social media has influenced people to date for money and materialistic reasons over love.

With many young people struggling to manage their finances in the modern world of dating, Experian has launched a new podcast series, The Cost of Loving. Hosted by Celebs Go Dating expert and relationships therapist Anna Williamson, the series provides supportive guidance and encourages healthy conversations about relationships and finance.

Over one third of men (36%) said they’d browsed a potential date’s social media profile to check if they could afford their lifestyle (vs 28% of women), and 1 in 20 (5%) men have even ended up over £10,000 in debt from funding dates and relationships. 

10.1 million 18-30 year olds, 16.6% are currently in arrears or default2, meaning they have overdue debt or have failed to repay loans. Of the demographic in question, younger men use the greatest proportion of their available credit - with the average credit usage for 18-21 year old men coming in at 33.4% vs. 25.7% for 26-30 year old males2

Launching ahead of Valentine’s Day, the first episode of the Cost of Loving podcast tackles Gender Expectations, and the ever-divisive bill-splitting debate. Whilst 4 in 5 men (80%) said they’d always foot the bill, less than 1 in 5 women (18%) said they preferred to pay – although a quarter (27%) explained this was because their partner earned more than them. And despite this, 3 in 10 men (30%) have changed their mind about whether they should pay on a first date after seeing influential social media content.

Subsequent episodes in the 5-part series will launch throughout February and March, and cover topics such as Wage Gap Relationships, Debt, Dating & Financial Infidelity, Financial Break-Ups, and Financial Abuse Red Flags. Each episode will see host Anna joined by a range of experts and influential figures in the worlds of dating and finance, from money blogger Megan Micklewright aka The Savvy Spender to ex-Love Islander and motivational speaker Malin Andersson.

With topics and advice to help educate and engage, Experian’s Cost of Loving podcast is available to listen on Spotify, with Episode 1 available now:

Speaking of the launch, host Anna Williamson said: “Navigating the world of dating and relationships is pretty tough as it is, without factoring in the divisive debates around finances that we’re seeing on social media. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to tackling these kinds of conversations but, with Experian, we’ve launched The Cost of Loving podcast to bring a burst of fun, relatability and accessibility into the equation. As well as having some amazing guests to chat to, I hope the podcast will encourage healthy financial dialogue between partners, as well as tackling some tricky dating-meets-finance questions from listeners.”

James Jones, Head of Consumer Affairs at Experian added: “Managing finances independently is one thing, but bringing a partner into the mix opens up a whole other world of considerations. It’s been sobering to see just how many young people have ended up in financial difficulty due to their dating and relationship experiences, largely due to external pressures. Feeling comfortable enough to discuss financial topics should be a top priority in a relationship. The Cost of Loving is designed to support these conversations and empower young people to confidently manage their finances - both as single people and together with a romantic partner.”

For more information and support on how to improve financial health, head to


Notes to Editors:

1 Based on a survey of 2000 18-35 year olds conducted by 3Gem January 2024. £2,246.50 is the exact figure that 18–35-year-olds are going into debt on average.

2 Based on Experian data of 10.1 million adults between 18-30 years old

About the podcast

The Cost of Loving is a 5 part podcast series hosted by Celebs Go Dating therapist Anna Williamson in partnership with Experian, which delves into the intersection between dating and finances.

  • Episode 1: Gender Expectations
  • Special guest: Tayo & Antoinnette Oguntonade, Financial Influencer
  • Launch date: Available now

  • This episode explores gender stereotypes and expectations within the world of dating, from splitting the bill to gifting as a love language. 
  • Episode 2: Wage Gap Relationships 

  • Special guest: Devamsha Gunput (@devamshagunput), aka ‘the financial hot girl’, and lifestyle influencers @twodadsinlondon

  • Launch date: 20th February

  • This episode addresses wage disparity in relationships, including the subsequent power dynamics and how to navigate open and honest conversations about finances with your partner. 
  • Episode 3: Dating, Debt, Financial Anxiety & Financial Infidelity

  • Special guest: Megan Micklewright, aka @thesavvyspenderofficial, Money Blogger

  • Launch date: 27th February

  • This episode explores dishonesty surrounding finances within a relationship - or ‘financial infidelity’, and how and when to have transparent, honest conversations about your financial situation with a romantic partner. 
  • Episode 4 - Financial Break-ups

  • Special guest: Oenone Forbat, Influencer, Podcaster and Author

  • Launch date: March

  • This podcast episode explores the financial problems and dilemmas associated with break-ups as well as the cost implications of breaking up and having to resplit finances.
  • Episode 5: Financial Red Flags 

  • Special guest: Malin Anderson, Motivational Speaker, Influencer and ex-Love Islander, and Surviving Economic Abuse Spokesperson 

  • Launch date: March

  • Experts on the podcast will discuss ‘red flags’ and warning signs of financial abuse within a relationship, offering advice to those who have been affected by financial abuse and tips on how to spot someone who might be in an abusive relationship.

About Experian 

Experian is the world’s leading global information services company. During life’s big moments – from buying a home or a car, to sending a child to college, to growing a business by connecting with new customers – we empower consumers and our clients to manage their data with confidence. We help individuals to take financial control and access financial services, businesses to make smarter decisions and thrive, lenders to lend more responsibly, and organisations to prevent identity fraud and crime.  We have 22,000 people operating across 32 countries and every day we’re investing in new technologies, talented people, and innovation to help all our clients maximise every opportunity. With corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, we are listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and are a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.   Learn more at or visit our global content hub at our global news blog for the latest news and insights from the Group.