If you and your partner have ever argued about finances, you are definitely not alone. Study after study have confirmed that when it comes to the topic that gets couples most heated, it’s always money. A new study by LearnVest, a personal finance company that helps people understand their finances and get them order, confirms this. It also confirms that a lot of couples would rather talk about almost anything else than money. Which, with money being such a touchy subject, makes a lot of sense.
LearnVest’s Money Habits & Confessions Survey, which looked at 1,000 adults, 18+, across the country, found that overall, finances really take a toll on relationships, with 24 percent of Americans calling it quits over financial issues with their partner. The survey also found that Millennials, too, are putting a lot of emphasis on finances.
“As Millennials stay single for longer, they also wind up delaying most major financial decisions, like buying a home or having a child,” says Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest and author of the New York Times Bestseller, Financially Fearless, tells Bustle. “With the average undergrad owing over $30,000 in loans, it’s not surprising that these other milestones are taking a back seat (Source: CNNMoney, October 2016). The costs of an engagement ring, a ceremony, and a honeymoon can feel really insurmountable at this point, so Millennials are hesitant to deepen their already serious financial obligations."
But it may be a smart move. "So they’re actually being quite responsible in this regard: According to 2013 research from the National Marriage Project, Millennials tend to view settling down as a beginning rather than as an end goal," she says. "They believe they need to have all their ducks in a row before embarking on traditional paths like marriage and starting a family—and that includes getting debt-free… And when they do settle down, Millennials take their partner’s finances very seriously.”
Here are seven findings from the study.
1The Majority Of People Would Rather Be Alone Than With Someone Who's Bad With Money
According to the study, 53 percent of men and 62 percent of women, would rather be single forever — yes, forever — than be with someone who's financially irresponsible. Wow. When the survey focused on Millennials and their feelings on this topic, 53 percent said they'd prefer to be single, too, than be with someone who has a mess of a financial situation.
I mean, I guess you could always lie about your credit score, should it come up, although I don't recommend it. This also might explain dating sites that are specifically for people with good credit scores who are financially responsible.
2Most Millennials Say Their Finances Are More Stressful Than Their Sex Life
Although a September 2016 study found that Millennials are awesome at balancing finances and love, LearnVest's survey found that 77 percent of them report that their finances with their partner are a "greater source of tension" between them than their sex life.
"Talking about money can also be a challenge because it’s symbolic of so much more," says von Tobel. "Rather than just being about dollars and cents, an honest money chat is a much more intimate reveal of beliefs and values, expressed through how you spend. The discussion can and should eventually lead to your biggest dreams, hopes, and fears, so young couples can feel vulnerable when discussing those topics with each other —especially if it’s the first time they’ve broached them in a romantic relationship."
3More Men Than Women Will Talk About Their Finances With Their Friends
Sure, turning to your friends to talk about your finances or even venting about how buying that $2,600 TV might have been a bad idea is great! That's why we have friends. But talking to your friends about this topic instead of your partner, isn't exactly cool. The study found that 45 percent of men and 37 percent of women, would rather talk about money with their friends than their partners.
4Over A Third Of Millennials Have Said "Adieu" Because of Finances
According to the survey, 37 percent of Millennials have ended at least one relationship in their life because of irreconcilable differences over finances. Which, goes to show, it's really important to be on the same page when it comes to money and love.
5Women Would Rather Talk About Their Weight Than Their Finances
I don't know if this is a testament to just how body-positive we've become as a society or the fact that talking finances is really that dreadful, but the survey found that 62 percent of women would rather talk about their weight than their credit score. I, frankly, am one of those women.
"There’s a tremendous amount of anxiety when it comes to money, because most people simply don’t know whether they’re making the right financial choices or the wrong ones," says von Tobel. "Most of us weren’t taught this stuff in school, so planning for a secure financial future can be a bit like feeling around in the dark — which is exactly why I started LearnVest. Maybe topics are hard…but money can be even worse! Add to that the massive amount of debt most Millennials face and it’s understandable that this topic isn’t the easiest thing for them to talk about it."
6Men Are More Likely To Hide Purchases
I have to say this one made me laugh out loud. Although the study didn't break it down into percentages, it did say that more men than women have hidden things they've bought in the last year. I would really love to know what they're hiding. If a woman drops $10,000 on a pair of Louboutin boots, you can hide those easy peasy, but what are these men buying that they're hiding? Their own pair of Louboutin boots? (I certainly hope so.)
7The Majority Of Millennials Have Some Pretty Hefty Financial Goals
When the Millennials of the survey were asked about financial priorities and goals for this year, 61 percent said they want their S.O. to put setting up an emergency fund at the top of the list. Rounding out the top three priorities were paying down debt and focusing on a long-term financial plan for the future, at 56 percent and 54 percent, respectively.
No matter how serious you are in your relationship, money is always going to affect it, to some degree or another. While there's nothing wrong with splurging occasionally, realistically, having a nest egg — whether you're single or in a relationship — is never a bad idea. You never know when sh*t is going to hit the fan and you'll end up with some unexpected expenses.