Although financial issues often create mountains of problems within a marriage, most engaged couples and newlyweds aren’t talking about money on a regular basis, according to the findings of a new survey by Northwestern Mutual and wedding planning and registry specialist The Knot.
Only 37% of newlyweds and engaged couples are talking about their finances monthly, the companies said in an announcement about the study’s findings. “While being on the same page financially is critical to a happy, long-lasting marriage, nearly 3 in 4 (72%) of those surveyed do not have a clear plan when it comes to saving for their passions, which can make the difference between domestic bliss and domestic discord,” according to the companies, who were collaborating for the first time.
The Moneymates survey also found that financial stability was the largest long-term worry among survey respondents, with 40% of them citing that concern — ahead of raising kids (30%) and maintaining intimacy in their relationships (24%).
A whopping 82% of the 1,834 respondents also said they felt closer to their partners when they agreed about money, but only 52% of them were talking weekly with their partner about their finances. In addition, about one in four (22%) of respondents said they had monthly disagreements with their partner about budgets.
It was especially “surprising to see that although 82% of couples feel closer to their partners when they’re in agreement about money, 40% feel anxious when they think about financial planning as a couple and 20% admit to hiding purchases and cash from their partners,” Kristen Maxwell Cooper, The Knot editor in chief, told ThinkAdvisor on Friday. She added: “Planning a wedding can be a big financial commitment for some couples, and tends to bring up discussions about money maybe earlier than some couples want to discuss.”
Other findings of the survey: Just 13% of engaged and married couples had actually met with a financial planner, and 80% of those surveyed reported having pre-existing or combined debt. Engaged and married respondents also listed paying down student debt, buying a first home and establishing emergency savings as the top three priorities in their financial planning process, the companies said.
Survey respondents were randomly selected to receive The Knot-branded electronic invitations to participate in the 7-10 minute survey, and all data was collected using standard online research methods June 7-12, the companies said. In conjunction with the study and the current wedding season, Northwestern Mutual said it was launching a new campaign, Moneymates, to help engaged couples and newlyweds understand how a customized financial plan could “help them do the things they love, with the one they love, now and down the road.”
The collaboration between Northwestern Mutual and The Knot, which operates a wedding planning and registry app and website, also includes the introduction throughout July of custom content from experts in the financial and wedding industries aimed at educating couples on how financial planning is key to a successful life together, the companies said. Northwestern Mutual clients and clients-to-be will have free access to “first-of-its kind” content, tools and resources on Lasting, a marriage counseling app affiliated with The Knot, the companies said.
“Money is one of the greatest sources of tension and stress in a marriage, but financial planning is often not on the radar,” Lee Hurley, vice president of marketing at Northwestern Mutual, said in a statement. “Together, with The Knot, we’re showing couples how planning with Northwestern Mutual helps couples balance their current and future priorities by helping them make the right decisions for their wedding and beyond.”
— Check out Do People Save More in Their 401(k)s After They Marry? on ThinkAdvisor.