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COUNTRY Financial Security Index

Money Matters: When to Talk Money with your Valentine

Feb. 9, 2015

In time for Valentine’s Day, the latest COUNTRY Financial Security Index survey reveals about half of Americans prefer the “sooner-is-better” approach and talk money immediately (7 percent) or at least no later than within the first six months of dating (41 percent).

Generation Gap

There is a notable difference between generations when it comes to talking money in the early stages of dating. Younger generations discuss finances later in their relationships, with just 12 percent of those under 30 talking about money immediately or within the first few weeks of a relationship. In contrast, for daters over 50, there’s at least a 21 percent chance there will be talk of finances within the first few weeks of a relationship.

For married couples or those in a relationship, 30 percent of Americans said they discussed finances immediately or within the first few weeks of their relationship. That number jumped to 39 percent for those age 65 and older.

Date vs. Debt

Among those surveyed, 77 percent of Americans feel debt is an important factor for singles to consider when dating. A smaller, but still significant percent of Americans (48 percent), think singles should be concerned if their romantic interest has bad credit.

“Finding the right time to talk to your valentine about financial matters may seem daunting, but waiting too long can have consequences,” said Joe Buhrmann, manager of Financial Security Field Support at COUNTRY Financial. “Make the discussion conversational and compare debt, credit scores, and spending habits together. It’s important to have an understanding of each other’s financial matters before taking the next step in a relationship, like co-signing a lease or making large joint purchases.”

Sharing Is Caring

Americans are united in their sentiments about combining their finances. Sixty four percent of Americans think combining finances is important, and that number increases to 73 percent for those aged 65+.

Married couples are more likely to think combining finances is essential. Seventy percent viewed the combination as important and a third of married respondents feel it is “very important.” Among the top percent of earners, combining finances is less of a priority, with the importance dropping to 52 percent.

Trouble In Paradise

Perhaps unsurprisingly, outside of the top income producing households, money matters can spur arguments between married couples, and spending habits might be to blame.

  • Among American couples that report arguing about money, nearly a quarter (24 percent) say the context is about spending too much rather than not making enough (6 percent). An unfortunate quarter (25 percent) of the population said both issues are a common argument.
  • Although a financial planner probably isn’t the key to marital bliss, more than half (56 percent) of those who work with a planner report not fighting about their finances.

“Whether you choose to combine your finances or manage them separately, communication is essential,” says Buhrmann. “Having a financial plan you create together can help unite everyone on the same page about spending and savings goals.”

The COUNTRY Financial Security Index®

Since 2007, the COUNTRY Financial Security Index has measured Americans’ sentiments of their personal financial security. The 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 Financial Security Index was created by COUNTRY Financial and is compiled by GfK, an independent research firm. Surveys were conducted using GfK’s KnowledgePanel TM, a national, probability-based panel designed to be representative of the general population and includes responses from approximately 1,000 U.S. adults for national surveys. The margin of sampling error for a survey based on this many interviews is approximately +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

 

About COUNTRY Financial

The COUNTRY Financial group (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, business and life insurance to retirement planning services, investment management and annuities.