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Division of Money Among Couples
When two people meet and fall in love, they may end up getting married. It usually starts off wonderful until they move in together, and the bills come in. Many years ago, most households were a single income, with the man being the primary breadwinner. The majority of households survived on a single household income.
Fast-forward to the present day and the majority of households are surviving on a double-income with two working partners in the marriage, dividing their income to pay the bills. Money is often the reason for many fights among households and couples. These arguments are often caused by not discussing how money is spent, overspending, or accumulation of debt. Married couples may choose to start joint accounts. Other married couples may decide to keep their own individual savings accounts as well.
As much as love may play a huge role in bringing couples together, it is love that keeps couples together, but money is what ensures couples both have somewhere to sleep at night, after they’re done fighting… Kidding! Many people may marry for love, but a good majority of people do marry for financial stability and security. Both partners may have similar educational backgrounds and may make a comparable amount, binding each other to feel secure. If one loses a job and is unable to regain a position earning the same amount, the true test of love may begin.
The truth is, a couple that knows how to save money and spend money wisely is a couple that is more secure in their relationship than any other couple. The couple may take vacations together, wine and dine several nights a week, are happy with where they live, and feel overall satisfied with their lives and their relationship.
This infographic shows how couples divide their money.
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How Do Couples Divide Their Money?
More young professional couples (48%) separate monthly expenses than affluent couples (37%) with an annual household income of $100,000 or more, and both of these groups do so more than the general population (34% of couples)
Household income $100k+
Under 30, college educated, household income $50k+ 66% of couples pool their resources and expenses, while the other 34% divide their bills equally each month.
Savings for Retirement
77% of married couples rate their communication about finances with their spouse as excellent or good, and 68% say they trust their spouse to make investment decisions. Couples who don’t have a financial plan have different feelings about communication and trust than those who do.
YOUNG PROFESSIONALS | General Population | AFFLUENTS
Discussions on household finances lead to arguments 72% | 45% | 44%
Average threshold price at which couples need to consult with their partner before making purchases $249 | $275 | $395
Each partner has individual checking account 25% | 15% | 15%
Each partner has individual savings account 28% | 17% | 15%
Each partner has individual retirement account 50% | 35% | 49%
Keep some or all of their debt separate from their spouse or significant other 43% | 20% | 22%
Do not know how much debt they carry as a couple 5% | 31% | 20%
General Public | Affluent | Young Professionals | Gen Y | Baby Boomers Hide Purchases 30% | 35% | 38% | 40% | 30%
Misrepresent amount of purchases 28% | 30% | 40% | 45% | 20%
Do not disclose debt 20% | 20% | 22% | 22% | 20%
Secret account or card 20% | 21% | 25% | 25% | 21%
Not forthcoming about credit score 10% | 9% | 12% | 18% | 9%
Buy something partner doesn’t agree with 50% | 51% | 52% | 60% | 47%
Couples Advice for Newlyweds
Fidelity investments asked married couples the best piece of advice they would give to newly-weds about how to manage finances as a married couple.
This is the most important advice couples came up with and the percentage of couples where both spouses agreed on the topic.
Make all financial decisions together 57%
Make a budget and stick to it 34%
Make sure you have an emergency fund to cover at least 6 months of expenses 29%
Don’t hide expenditures from each other 16%
Disclose your income, debts, and assets to each other before getting married 14%
Watch your pennies and the dollars will flow 4%
Designate the most financially knowledgable spouse as the financial decision-maker 3%
Matthew Gates is a freelance web designer and currently runs Confessions of the Professions.