By Jeremy Morris, Associate Editor, US Daily Review.
With June being a popular month to walk down the aisle, it’s timely to note that younger couples are more likely to be open about their finances with their significant others. A survey from ING DIRECT and Capital One finds 87 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds have never kept a spending secret from a partner. As couples age (and perhaps gain more life experience), the degree of honesty decreases with 78 percent of those ages 55 to 64 saying they never kept a secret. Of all couples surveyed, 82 percent haven’t kept a secret.
Building relationships on financial fidelity seems to be paramount to a new generation of couples with 84 percent of those 18-34 saying it is dishonest to hide financial activities from your significant other. A large number of this age group are starting with a clean slate, as demonstrated by 44 percent saying they have never had any debt to hide from their partner.
“It’s refreshing to learn that young people are more open to these conversations about personal and family finances, while also avoiding getting into debt,” said Jim Kelly, Head of Direct Bank, ING DIRECT USA. “With two of three couples now sharing checking and savings accounts, they are ushering in a new landscape of financial transparency.”
Regardless of age, 78 percent of respondents feel it is dishonest to hide financial activities from their significant other and 60 percent said they would be upset if spending was hid from them. The majority (59 percent) have never hidden the amount of debt they have from their partner.
Honesty and Gender
So which sex is more honest?
- One in 4 women are most likely to hide clothing/accessory purchases, while 1 in 5 men are most likely to hide gift purchases
- Women want to be in the spending loop with 66 percent admitting they would be upset if their significant other hid spending from them vs. 53 percent of men
- Women’s tempers could flare more than their male counterparts, with 27 percent saying hiding spending habits or a lunch with an ex could ignite an argument, compared to 18 percent of men
Achieve Financial Harmony with these Money Tips
Remember when talking about money was taboo? Not anymore. With more open and honest dialogue, couples can build a solid relationship and avoid damaging financial missteps. ING DIRECT offers the following tips to help couples continue those conversations and set them on a path of financial fidelity:
- Be honest. You don’t necessarily have to agree on or divulge the cost of every purchase, but discuss significant budget impacts to maintain trust. Many couples find it better to leave most personal expenses up to each partner while setting a dollar threshold to trigger the money talk. Bottom line, don’t hide and lie.
- Nominate a Chief Financial Officer. Determine who will pay the bills, how you will pay them and who will keep track of the finances. Make sure both of you are involved and informed but keep it organized.
- Get organized: Break in that new filing cabinet and finally master Excel by keeping all important financially-related documents in a central location that is equally accessible to both partners and decide what kind of system you’ll use to keep things organized. Create the system that works best for the two of you and keep it simple.
- In case of emergency, dip into account. Life has a way of throwing some unexpected things our way. Be prepared with an emergency fund that will keep you afloat should times get tough. Most experts suggest a 3- to 6-month cushion but the key is to have something set aside.
The national phone survey was conducted within the United States by TNS on behalf of ING DIRECT USA September 7 through 11, 2011 among 1,000 adults age 18+, 670 of whom were married or in a relationship. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.