Money troubles silence a quarter of couples, says new data

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A quarter of couples don’t feel comfortable talking about money with their other half.

A survey of 2,000 adults in a relationship found just 17 per cent regularly talk about finances with their partner.

More than one in 10 are apprehensive about discussing debts with their other half, while 18 per cent never discussed money they owe one another.

It also emerged 10 per cent haven’t shared how much they earn with their significant other, and an equal percentage don’t know what their partner earns.

A little embarrassed

Commissioned by M&S Bank, the study also revealed never finding a good time, feeling a little embarrassed and wondering how their other half might respond are among the reasons people avoid the subject of money in their relationships.

In fact, people will typically utter the words “I love you” five months before broaching the topic of money – which they won’t talk about until nine months into their relationship.

Looking for love

Psychologist Emma Kenny said: “At this time of year, a lot of people are looking for love or taking relationships to the next level, perhaps even with a romantic Valentine’s proposal.

“It’s interesting to see that people would say ‘I love you’ five months into a relationship, but wouldn’t talk about money until nine months – and many are simply uncomfortable talking about money with their other half.”

The research also found 18 per cent are more likely to move in together before they talk about money.

As many as one in 10 even expect to get married before they bring up the topic of finances with their significant other.

However, a handful those polled – five per cent – will discuss finances within less than two weeks of knowing each other.

Life goals

The research revealed being good with your finances is a more attractive attribute than being a good cook and is also more appealing than being outgoing or sociable, or successful in their career.

Four in five say it is important for their partner to have the same financial goals as they do.

And nine in 10 discuss the aspirational side of finances with one another.

Although more than half of those who don’t currently have a joint bank account together said they would rather not open one with their significant other.

A fifth of these said they’d prefer not to because they enjoy managing their own finances independently.

If they did choose to open a joint bank account with one another, this is most likely to occur one year and two months into a relationship.

Of the couples that do have a joint bank account, they find it most useful to pay for bills, the rent or mortgage and saving money together.

Here are Emma Kenny’s top tips for discussing tricky money worries with a partner:

Open communication from the off

Great relationships are often transparent ones.

When you do start to discuss your financial health – and I would argue the sooner the better – it is important that you both understand the good, the bad and the ugly regarding your financial affairs, so that you can communicate openly and work towards a common goal and help each other.

History matters

While you are likely to know which school your other half attended, what their favourite food is, and details of their relationship history, chances are you won’t have the low down on their credit history.

Knowing about your partner’s financial history – and present situation – is important, because if affects you too.

And if you’re planning to embark on a financial relationship, it’s worth looking at something like a free credit score site, so you can both understand the way lenders see you as a couple.

Get practical

Money needs to be dealt with using more of a practical mindset.

So sit down with your partner and arrange an almost ‘business-like’ meeting – by that I mean be planned and agree what financial matters you need to discuss and make sure you cover them.

Remember, it’s important to leave your emotions at the door and the earlier these types of conversations happen, the better!

Make a financial connection

When you are in a committed relationship, joint accounts can be a great tool to help you save, spend and budget together.

But it’s also worth taking a little time to understand the implications of connecting your finances before committing.

For example, did you know that both parties on a joint account are liable for any debt on the account.

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