Love may change everything, but according to a new Citi study, so does money. The survey looked at how couples in committed relationships dealt with money and finances and found that for most people (82%) it changed their financial habits for the better.
Financial savvy is more important than looks, according to the report, with 78% of respondents saying that they would rather have a partner who is financially fit than attractive. But money is a complicated issue. Some couples aren’t talking enough about their finances and at least a quarter have a secret stash of money, all of which may actually cause problems down the line.
For the love of money
Being in a relationship can be good for your financial health and promote better habits. Sixty percent of respondents said they think twice when it comes to discretionary spending. Also, half are now more focused on planning for their financial future. Setting goals and strategies has become a part of their lives too, including having an emergency fund (39%), setting a monthly saving goal (24%), and setting budgets for gift giving (24%).
Sharing is caring when it comes to money, with 82% of respondents indicating that they share their financial information, which may include debts, personal spending, salary, and their credit report, with their partner. Most respondents (88%) have access to at least one of their significant other’s accounts. Yet one-quarter of folks surveyed said they would never share certain kinds of information with their partner, including their account balance, how much they spend each month and their PIN.
Rx for some couples: Talk more
One out of four want their partner to talk more about their finances, but doing that can mean taking a risk some aren’t willing to take, with 69% indicating that in the past they’ve avoided talking about money to keep from having an argument.
While many will set aside time to have a conversation about their finances, more than a third (38%) haven’t in the past year. The other 62% are on it, sitting down together for financial check-ins at least eight times over the last year.
Having a secret stash is also in style, with one in four people, admitting to having a private account they keep from their partner. They may feel more secure, but it may not be good for their relationship. The research shows that more than half of those hiding cash have had a financially-motivated fight with their partner over the past year.
The Citi “It Takes Two” survey was conducted in December/January via an online survey of 1,000 adults in the U.S who are in a committed relationship.