Time spent early in a relationship figuring out what money means to you and your potential partner for life can lead to less stress later.
Is money for security? Or is it to enjoy life? When someone is “good with money” what exactly does that mean to each person? Is it that they keep a revolving balance on their credit card but always pay on time? Or is it that the credit card balance is paid in full each month and savings is a priority?
Let’s face it, dealing with debt is one of the biggest stressors in day-to-day life, let alone in a relationship.
According to Fidelity Investments’ Couples & Money study, whether couples bring debt into their marriage is not as much of an issue as how they handle it.
More than half of the couples surveyed carried debt into their relationship and four out of 10 said it had a negative impact. For couples who brought debt into the relationship, 49% argued about whose responsibility it was to pay off that debt. Respondents were more likely to feel responsible for taking on their other half’s debt (55%) rather than expecting their partner to pay it off (33%).
Aside from debt, the study revealed couples’ claims of excellent communication about money tended to be a bit exaggerated, as knowledge gaps and misunderstandings existed.
In fact, 43% didn’t even know how much their partner earns.
Here are two more common money and relationship topics that cause major disagreements between couples. Recognize any of them in your life?
Retirement: More than four in ten couples disagreed when asked at what age they plan to retire. In addition, 54% differed on how much should be saved by the time they reach retirement to maintain their current lifestyle. Forty-nine percent said they have “no idea.” And, one-third disagreed about how “comfortable” their retirement lifestyle should be.
Important account information: While a slight majority said they know their spouse’s passwords to bank, investment, credit card and social media accounts, about three in 10 couples weren’t sure they’ve even shared this information with their significant other. In addition, one in five couples disagreed on where important financial and legal papers were located.