If you and your spouse or partner sometimes find yourself bickering about finances, you’re not alone. Around 65 percent of respondents say they argue about money with their partner, according to new data from account management service Manilla.com.
But should they be worried?
“Not at all,” said Sam Burgoon, personal finance expert from credit website CreditSeason.com. “I think that finances are actually one of the major issues in a couple because it’s a very delicate subject.”
It’s touchy, Burgoon said, because it’s likely that two people will never be in complete agreeance on how they should be spending their money. Most of the time, two people in a relationship will have to have a discussion about expenses when one of them wants to make a big purchase.
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The February survey also found that women are more likely to be dishonest when sharing balances with their partner. Nearly one in 10 women said they have a credit card or bank account that her partner is not aware of. Why? The most common reason indicated by respondents was that they’re their own “boss” when it comes to their finances.
Burgoon, who’s been with his fiancee for 11 years and is getting married this March, said that it’s important to be honest and to communicate as much as possible to avoid unnecessary money arguments.
“We do try to be as transparent as possible, unless I’m buying something specifically to surprise her,” Burgoon said. “She knows what I earn, I know what she earns. It’s really worked well.”
The survey showed that younger couples are most likely to argue about money daily, and they are also more likely to lie about money. Around 54 percent of respondents from age 18 to 23 said they always or sometimes lie about their account balances.
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“It’s just an issue of maturity,” Burgoon said, adding that when couples, married or not, are really young, they’re still in a phase where they feel there are things they haven’t experienced. They want to individually spend their money however they want to, and they sometimes don’t take their responsibilities or their partner’s needs into consideration.
But reducing money arguments may be as simple as finding the right tool. Around 81 percent of survey respondents said that automated financial organization services, like those facilitated by Manilla, help minimize money arguments with their partner by increasing visibility and maximizing the sharing of finances.
It’s also helpful to have multiple bank accounts, said psychology expert Patrick McGrath, director of the Alexian Brothers Center for Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorders. “The couples I have seen who have been very successful have a joint account for the household stuff and then they have their own accounts so they can get the things they want for themselves.”
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These couples put a percentage of their paychecks into the joint account and then keep a percentage for themselves. “It may not be a huge amount, but it allows for that autonomy,” McGrath said.
In addition to being honest about finances, another way to keep financial fights to a minimum is to keep a budget, Burgoon said. Being organized with your bills and knowing when you have to pay everything is extremely important and useful, which he knows from his experience in his own relationship.
“Yes, we argue and we have our differences, but we always come to an agreement on what we need to do,” Burgoon said, “because that’s what it’s all about, when it comes to finances or anything else.”
More from Manilla.com:
- Banking & Budgeting
- Personal Budgeting