Among men, 51 percent have loved between two and five different people but for women this falls to just 45 percent, said the survey of 2,000 adults.

London - Despite what the Beatles might say – money can buy you love.

Research suggests that the higher your income the more likely to are to have found love – often more than once.

A study published to coincide with Valentine’s Day found that just four percent of people with an annual income of more than £50,000 (about R900 000) have never found love. However, the proportion of loveless increases as you go down the income brackets, reaching 17 percent for those with less than £9 500 (about R173 000).

The research by retail analysts Mintel also found that those with an income of over £50 000 were most likely to have fallen in love five times or more during their lifetime. And it suggests that people from all walks of life tend to have more partners than in the past, at least partly encouraged by a disposable attitude to relationships encouraged by celebrity culture.

The researchers found that people are taking an increasingly scientific approach to finding a partner by using dating websites, which match interests, rather than leaving love to chance. This may help explain why wealth equates to finding love.

Richard Cope, an analyst at Mintel, said: “The fact that money is equated with success in love is interesting because more of us are paying for dating services that promise to help us find it. Quite simply more money may equate to more social opportunities ... and as a result more partners.”

Historically, the workplace and nightclubs might have been the most obvious route to finding a partner. Today, a free dating website tops the list.

Some three in ten – 28 percent – have looked for love in this way. For the first time, it is now on a par with meeting through friends the love of your life.

The remaining key ways to meet someone are paid-for dating sites (12 percent); meeting someone at work, which is down from 16 percent to 12 percent; and going to more events – such as art galleries and museums – at 10 percent.

However, the researchers said single men might want to think more about spending time in galleries and museums, as 15 percent of women saw this as way to find a partner.

Cope said there were a number of reasons why we are having more partners during our lifetimes. “Connectivity has increased our availability, whilst taboos are breaking down,” he said. “Among the young, celebrity culture has made whirlwind romances something to aspire to, and break-ups nothing to be ashamed of.

“We’re also seeing a new generation of sexually active seniors – liberated by Viagra and a social acceptance of divorce – coming back on to the market.”

Regarding Valentine’s Day, men take it most seriously, with 26 percent seeing as a great opportunity to demonstrate their love –as opposed to 19 percent of women.

However, many men and women said it made them feel under pressure and they ended the day disappointed. Nearly half of those in a relationship claim it is just an opportunity for firms to make money. - Daily Mail