Love Is Blind, Even with Dollar Signs
May 21, 2013
COUNTRY Survey: Couples Are Eager to Trust, But Hesitant to Discuss Debt, Joint Finances
Bloomington, Ill., May 21, 2013 – Can you have trust without communication in a marriage? Perhaps when it comes to finances. According to the latest COUNTRY Financial Security Index® survey, 63 percent of married Americans completely trust their spouse’s money management skills. Yet, 42 percent say they did not discuss how they would handle their joint finances before marriage.
A majority of married Americans don’t seem to openly discuss their finances during marriage either. Perhaps because of their trusting nature, 52 percent of them do not feel the need to ask spousal permission to make purchases outside of their usual household expenses. However, men are more inclined to seek permission (47 percent) than women (35 percent).
“It’s important to have open communication about your finances both before and during marriage,” says Joe Buhrmann, manager of financial security support at COUNTRY Financial. “Love may be blind, but your financial plan shouldn’t be. Couples should be upfront about their spending and savings habits, their financial history and their personal financial goals.”
Children at Home? Parents Plan Ahead
When it comes to marriage and finances, how do couples with children differ from those without?
- Sixty-eight percent with children at home completely trust their spouse’s money management skills, compared to 60 percent of those without.
- Couples with children are more likely to manage their finances as completely joint (75 percent) than those without children (63 percent).
- Couples with children are also more likely to have discussed how they would handle their joint finances before marriage than those without children (62 percent vs. 45 percent).
Who Shoulders the Debt?
In a time of mounting debt - from credit cards to student loans – many couples discuss their pre-existing debt, but not a plan to repay it.
- Forty-four percent say one or both parties had pre-existing debt and it factored into their discussions about joining their finances.
- Another 17 percent had pre-existing debt, but it was not a factor in their discussions.
Despite a majority of couples having debt, half did not have a plan for who was responsible for paying it down.
Younger married Americans are more likely to discuss money management before marriage and to factor pre-existing debt into those discussions.
18-29 Year Olds
30-39 Year Olds
40-49 Year Olds
50-64 Year Olds
65+ Year Olds
Discussed managing joint finances before marriage
Pre-existing debt was a factor in discussions about joining finances
Had a plan for who would pay down pre-existing debt
“Even though younger married Americans - particularly those in Gen Y - have more debt, they seem to be a generation of planners,” adds Buhrmann. “With a focus on communication and planning, Gen Y is well-positioned to build lasting financial security in the new economic reality.”
The COUNTRY Financial Security Index®
Since 2007, the COUNTRY Financial Security Index has measured Americans’ sentiments of their personal financial security. The COUNTRY Index also delves deeper into individual personal finance topics to better inform Americans about the issues impacting their finances. Survey data, videos and analysis are available at www.countryfinancialsecurityblog.com and on Twitter at @FinanceSecure .
The COUNTRY Index was created by COUNTRY Financial and is compiled by Rasmussen Reports, LLC , an independent research firm, based on a national telephone and online survey of at least 3,000 Americans.
The margin of sampling error for a survey based on this many interviews is approximately +/- 2 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.
COUNTRY Financial (http://www.countryfinancial.com) serves about one million households and businesses throughout the United States. It offers a full range of financial products and services from auto, home and life insurance to retirement planning services, investment management and annuities.