| February 13, 2015

Research of the Week: Finding Your Financial Match

Two surveys find finance is becoming increasingly important in your search for a soulmate.

Each week, Consolidated Credit searches for unreported financial research that can help you deal with your debt and budget. This week…

The interesting study

Do you share financial goals with your partner

This week in honor of Valentine’s Day tomorrow, we’re actually focusing on two separate studies by two different banks that both deal with love and money. The first Love & Money study comes from Ally Bank. Then there’s the similarly titled Love and Money survey from SunTrust.

The big result

Both of these studies focus on different aspects of the financial side of your relationship. The headline from the Ally bank study is that 76 percent of respondents believe having a similar financial philosophy as your partner is important in a successful and healthy relationship. On the other hand, the SunTrust survey finds opposites actually attract, as 47 percent of their survey respondents report having different spending habits from their spouse or partner.

The fascinating details

These two findings aren’t exactly at odd with each other when you look at the details of each survey. It seems like you can have different habits, while your overall philosophy is on the same page with your partner.

From the SunTrust survey when asked about which partner is the spender and which is the saver:

  • 34% said they save while their partner spends
  • 13% said they’re the spender and their partner is the saver
  • But a greater 37% reported they’re both savers, while 15% said they’re both spenders

And while the SunTrust survey also reports 36 percent of people don’t seek their partner’s input on purchase decisions, that’s not necessarily at odd with being on the same financial page either. If you’re both in sync overall, you may not need to consult your better half on every little purchase.

The Ally Bank survey reached some encouraging conclusions when they asked respondents what the most important financial trait was to have in a partner:

  • 55% of people believe good budgeting and saving skills are the most important financial factor
  • 21% like a partner who pays-as-they-go to avoid problems with debt
  • 18% want a thrifty bargain hunter
  • Only 3% look for a lover with a high credit limit

What you can do

Financial stability can be hard enough to achieve in your household without you and your partner pulling in different directions. Although different daily spending habits are fine, you really need to be on the same page when it comes to your overall financial philosophy. That way, you can see eye-to-eye when issues arise and you’re both working to achieve the same goals at the same time.

So what does it take to establish this kind of financial cohesiveness as a couple?

One word: Communication

To add a few words to that: Open, honest and consistent communication

Start by having a frank, open discussion about your perspective on money and your financial lives. During the discussion, both of you should answer key questions, like:

  • What are your short-term and long-term financial goals?
  • What financial milestones do you want to achieve – for instance, do you both want to work towards owning a home or upgrading from the one you have?
  • How do you feel about ongoing financial support for your children?
  • What level and types of debt are you comfortable carrying?
  • How do you think the household budget should be handled and maintained?

Once you’ve had this initial discussion, the job isn’t over and done with. You should talk about your finances together regularly and always discuss any issues you see with your partner the minute you identify a problem. Then you can work together to find the right solution.

And while you may not need to discuss every little purchase you make with your partner, you should discuss major purchases with them before you buy – especially if that purchase requires credit or some other kind of financing. By keeping the lines of communication open, you avoid problems.

For more information on how to start the financial conversation with your spouse or partner and avoid debt in your relationship, Consolidated Credit has the following helpful resources:

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