First comes love, and then comes marriage. But what’s the cost of shared financial bliss? Salient question from TD Ameritrade, and one they (sort of) answer. With money a central factor in divorce, business is good for lawyers and certified divorce financial analysts, but few others.
A recent survey conducted by the clearing and custody firm revealed that the average couple discusses money less than two times a month and fights over money, on average, five times a year.
“With the median age for first-time marriages approaching 30, combining finances is not as simple as it once was,” Carrie Braxdale, managing director of investor services at TD Ameritrade, notes in the report’s release. “Couples are bringing more financial baggage into the relationship than ever before. They have 401(k)s, student loan debt, investments and even mortgages. So, it’s more important than ever for couples to talk about their finances and work together to develop a plan.”
The Dating Game
When it comes to choosing the perfect partner, personality (20%), character (18%) and looks (17%) topped the list. Things like money (5%) and potential earnings (3%) were less important.
However, the survey found that certain poor financial habits are undesirable in a potential partner. Lack of motivation to get ahead (66%), relying on parents for financial support (65%), having significant credit card debt (65%) and poor money management skills (64%) were the most common financial deal-breakers in selecting a potential mate.
The survey also revealed some financial trust and transparency issues among couples:
• Forty percent of respondents said they did not completely trust their partner to manage their combined finances
• More than one in three (38%) said they were only somewhat, slightly or not at all aware of their significant other’s debts
• One-fifth (21%) said they sometimes hid their spending from their significant other