Should You Talk Finances with Your Valentine?

Among American couples that report arguing about money, nearly one-quarter (24%) say the context is about spending too much rather than not making enough (6%).

One-quarter of the population surveyed by COUNTRY Financial said both issues are a common argument.

However, more than half (56%) of those who work with a financial planner report not fighting about their finances.

The latest COUNTRY Financial Security Index survey shows nearly half of Americans think it’s better to address finances sooner in a relationship, with 7% saying it is best to talk money immediately, and 41% saying should talk money no later than within the first six months of dating. But, there is a difference between generations when it comes to talking money in the early stages of dating. Younger generations discuss finances later in their relationships, with just 12% of those younger than 30 talking about money immediately or within the first few weeks of a relationship. In contrast, for daters older than 50, there is at least a 21% chance there will be talk of finances within the first few weeks of a relationship.

Thirty percent of married couples or those in a relationship reported they discussed finances immediately or within the first few weeks of their relationship. That number jumped to 39% for those ages 65 and older.

Seventy-seven percent of respondents said they feel debt is an important factor for singles to consider when dating. Nearly half (48%) think singles should be concerned if their romantic interest has bad credit.

“Finding the right time to talk to your valentine about financial matters may seem daunting, but waiting too long can have consequences,” says Joe Buhrmann, manager of Financial Security Field Support at COUNTRY Financial. “Make the discussion conversational and compare debt, credit scores, and spending habits together. It’s important to have an understanding of each other’s financial matters before taking the next step in a relationship, like co-signing a lease or making large joint purchases.”

The survey also found 64% of respondents think combining finances is important for couples, and that number increases to 73% for those ages 65 and older. Married couples are more likely to think combining finances is essential. Seventy percent viewed the combination as important, and one-third of married respondents feel it is “very important.” Among the top percent of earners, combining finances is less of a priority, with the importance dropping to 52%.