Money management is one of the most challenging aspects of being married. Should you open a joint bank account? How do you save for retirement? While there isn't a definitive right or wrong answer to these questions, the fact that some married couples are happier with their finances is a constant topic of exploration.
To understand how incomes affect marriages, Mint.com conducted a survey comparing how young professionals (under 30, college-educated, household income of over $50k), affluents (household income of over $100k), and the general populace divide their money. There are a lot of numbers involved, so we've summarized the most interesting data for you:
Separate versus shared expenses: About half of young professional couples tend to separate their monthly expenses, compared to 37 percent of affluent couples. Couples in the general populace are highly likely to share their monthly expenses. Step-By-Step Guide To Having The Money Talk
Asking permission: If you'd like to avoid a fight, consult your partner before making an expensive purchase. For the general populace, $275 was the average threshold price for consultation. For young professionals, it was $249, and for affluents, $395. 4 Ways To Avoid Fighting About Money
Conflict: Speaking of fights, nearly 75 percent of young professionals get into arguments while discussing household finances. Compare that to 45 percent of the general population and affluents.
We have a couple of theories on why that might be the case. The young professionals surveyed could be less skilled at avoiding arguments because of their age or the new-ness of their marriage. It's also possible that the affluent subjects managed to evade arguments because they were less stressed overall. Money can't buy you happiness, but it can certainly make life a lot easier.
Bank accounts: Again, young professionals are about 10 percent more likely than the general populace and affluents to keep individual savings and checkings accounts. We understand; trusting someone with a shared bank account after you've supported yourself financially for a years can be a little unnerving.
Debt: Here's where the biggest disparity comes in. Only 5 percent of young professionals are unaware of how much debt they carry as a couple. Compare that to 31 percent of the general populace and 20 percent of affluents.
Secrets: Overall, Generation Y-ers are more secretive than Baby Boomers. About 60 percent of Gen Y-ers buy things their partners don't agree with, compared to 40 percent of Baby Boomers. Moreover, Baby Boomers are 5–10 percent less likely to hide their purchases, lie about the amount they bought or use a secret card to make purchases.
What do you make of this information? How do you and your spouse divide money?