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Some people in long-term relationships are nervous having a joint bank account, but avoid talking about it.

It’s not unusual to be nervous the first time you meet the love of your life — it’s kinda weird to feel that way when you merge finances, though.

Three quarters of couples in the U.S. share a bank account but almost a third are nervous, confused or afraid of saving money with their partner, says a study from John Hancock, a financial service group.

And why do they feel so badly about something they share with the person they love? Over three quarters (57 percent) only talk about their money casually on occasions. It wouldn’t hurt to confront their negative emotions and hear each other out about their finances — since not talking about money is a top threat to relationships.

Not all income is viewed equally

Despite most couples saving together, they don’t share everything. Some view unexpected money — gifts, winnings or bonuses — differently, depending on the amount.

The lower the amount, the more likely they are to spend it on themselves.

Most (66 percent) partners in long-term relationships will spend $50 of unexpected money on themselves. Less than half (42 percent) say they’ll share $100 toward a life goal, whereas more than half (55 percent) agreed if it was $500 they unexpectedly came into.

For a larger figure, like $1,000, 56 percent say they’ll put it in savings or retirement. That goes up to 69 percent who say the same if they out-of-the-blue received $5,000.

The study points out that no amount of money should go without saving.

“Large sums of money, while great to put in a savings account or retirement fund, are fewer and far between,” the study says. “Relying on a yearly tax return or holiday bonus to reach financial goals just delays crossing the finish the line.”

It’s important to discuss joint finances

Frequent and honest conversations about money will benefit long-term relationships. Knowing your partner’s financial status can help couples navigate through good and bad times financially.

For couples in long-term relationships, not knowing everything about your partner’s finances can eventually lead to an uncomfortable and even devastating conversation. That means they should know the amount they make, the debts they have, the financial goals they have. The truth is it’s better to know than not to.

Not all long-term couples with a joint account are married, but they have made a major commitment financially. Money arguments are the reason most marriages end in divorce.

Those financial arguments can lead to any long-term couple’s demise, married or not. Arguments about money are more intense and last longer than most fights married couples get in.

“Arguments about money is by far the top predictor of divorce,” says Sonya Britt, assistant professor of family studies and human services and program director of personal financial planning. “It’s not children, sex, in-laws or anything else. It’s money — for both men and women.”

Have the money talk sooner than later

It’s best off for couples to start discussing their finances before committing to marriage. There’s nothing like planning one of the most expensive milestones of your life to kick you in the rear to pay attention to your finances.

In 2016, the average wedding cost in America was $35,329, according to wedding planning company the Knot. Whether you’re planning a frugal wedding or an extravagant one, it would help to know where you and your partner stand financially before asking their hand in marriage.

About 4 in 10 (37 percent) of age 37 and older unmarried couples said getting married made them pay more attention to their finances, says TD Ameritrade’s Marriage and Money survey.

“For many Americans, wedding bells serve as a wake-up call to get their finances in order as they now have a partner to think about,” says JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist and managing director at TD Ameritrade. “Having a spouse, and perhaps for some a family, can encourage better financial habits, deter overspending, and keep long-term goals in focus.”

Communication really is key. Thirty-four percent of married couples admit they hide money from their spouse. Another 39 percent believe their spouse is hiding money from them. reported last year that money and lack of communication were the main reasons marriage ends in divorce. Sixty percent of divorcees attribute those two reasons to ending their union, says a survey from Experian.

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Joe Pye

Joe Pye

Associate editor

Pye is the associate editor of


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