Three new studies, all released on the same day, explain why.
Think you know everything about your husband or wife? There’s a 40 percent chance you don’t even know how much they make. And there’s more than a 5 percent chance they’re hiding money from you.
Last Wednesday, in a fascinating coincidence, three new polls of married, engaged, or “serious” couples were released — and all offered depressing statistics about marriage and money. Let’s take a look…
Married couples who “would think twice about their relationship if their partner confessed more than $5,000 in secret debt,” according to insurance company Haven Life, which surveyed more than 1,100 spouses.
How many couples believe “their significant other overspends in some way,” according to the Love & Money Study by TD Bank, which interviewed more than 1,300 lovers. That number jumps 83 percent for millennials. Why? Who knows. TD Bank didn’t ask.
Couples who “couldn’t identify how much their other half makes,” according to the Couples Retirement Study conducted the aptly named Fidelity Investments. Especially bad for an investment firm like Fidelity, 36 percent also disagreed on how much they had in “investible assets.”
Adults who are married or in committed relationships who have “secret debt” they haven’t revealed to their partners, according to Haven Life. Even worse, 5.4 percent of those have a “secret checking account.”
Baby Boomers who “fight about money at least once per week,” according to TD Bank. Doesn’t sound so bad, right? Well, maybe they’re just tired, because baby Boomers are defined as 55-plus — 15 percent of Gen Xers (35-54) and 36 percent of Millennials (18-34) argue about finances every week.
TD Bank’s was the only survey of the three to break out results by gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender couples. the results were fascinating…
- Talking about money is “very important to 57 percent of LGBT couple. Straight couples? It’s 72 percent.
- Similarly, 45 percent of LGBT couples “talk about money with their significant other at least once a week,” compared with 63 percent of straight couples.
- Weirdly, while they don’t talk as much about money when they get serious, they do better beforehand. LGBT couples s (49 percent) “started talking about money with their partner before they started living together or got engaged, compared with 37 percent of non-LGBT respondents.”
- LGBT couples are more likely (22 percent) to have “separate bills to be responsible for” than the national average of 11 percent. That’s not a “gay thing,” it’s likely a no-kids thing. In fact, Debt.com has written about the advantages of couples keeping money separate.
If you want to learn how not to let money ruin your relationship, there’s no shortage of online advice. But you might as well start with this awful fact, buried in the TD Bank poll…
Four out of five respondents state they make big financial decisions with their significant other, but men are almost twice as likely as women to say that they are the decision maker (26 percent of men vs. 14 percent of women).
Yeah, you probably shouldn’t do that.