Financial pressures are hitting relationships hard, with one in three (31%) couples admitting that money is the most common cause of domestic disputes, according to new uSwitch research.
A further third (34%) of couples confess to conversations over finances taking place in the bedroom.
With food, fuel, energy and now even water bills on the rise, money worries have become one of the biggest causes of arguments between couples, more so than arguing over time spent together (27%), children (23%), in-laws (13%) and ex-partners (9%).
Despite these disagreements, couples appear to be surprisingly open and honest about the state of their finances. Nine in ten (91%) people know how much their partner earns, while 70% are comfortable discussing their debt with their other half.
Couples hiding money truths
While 41% of couples believe that financial secrets shouldn’t be shared until you move in together, 23% believe that it is acceptable to reveal your financial hand just a few months into a new relationship.
However, some partners might think twice about sharing so much if they knew what their partners got up to. While six in ten couples (61%) choose to pool their finances into a joint bank account, one in five (21%) people admit to using the account to pay off their own personal debt. Over a quarter (27%) use their joint account as their sole account to manage all their finances.
The research also suggests that men are the bill payers at home – 35% of men claim to be the sole contributors to the joint bank account, compared to just 6% of women. Only 28% of couples agree to an even split, while 27% fund the joint account proportional to their salary.
Joint accounts: sharing the ‘love’
• 78% of married couples have a joint bank account but 33% of unmarried couples also pool their finances
• 22% of married couples keep their finances separate to stay independent
• 34% of accounts are funded by the main breadwinner
• Unmarried couples place more restrictions on their joint account, with 35% banning using it to pay for clothes shopping
• 75% of married couples are content enough not to have discussed restrictions
Time and place for talking money
Michael Ossei, personal finance expert at uSwitch, says: “It’s a sign of the times that money talk has made its way into the bedroom. With living expenses on the rise and salaries struggling to keep up, financial pressures are a huge weight on our shoulders – it’s no wonder that couples need to let off steam and share their worries with their other half rather than bury their heads in the sand.
“Letting someone close to you advise you on your finances can help you tackle an issue head on and stop you worrying. But there’s a time a time and a place to discuss money worries – leaving it until bedtime does not make for romantic pillow talk and is more often than not likely to lead to a late night argument.”