Money may not be the issue it once was for couples. New research has found the average couple fights about money just five times a year.
However, that number may be a byproduct of the fact that couples are simply not talking about their finances. It was found that the average couple discusses their finances just twice a month.
Furthermore, just 43 percent of couples say they follow a budget for their financial needs. The researchers also found that some couples are not being honest with one another when it comes to their finances. Twenty-one percent of respondents say they sometimes hide financial information from their partner.
Researchers say there are a few reasons why couples may be trending away from being open about finances.
"With the median age for first-time marriages approaching 30, combining finances is not as simple as it once was," said Carrie Braxdale, managing director, investor services at TD Ameritrade, who conducted the research. "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."
Fifty percent of couples say that they share financial responsibilities, but 40 percent of respondents say that they do not trust their partner to manage their combined finances. Under that split arrangement, women were more likely to deal with groceries, day-to-day expenses and the household budget, while men are responsible for investing decisions, retirement savings and tax returns, researchers found.
Though money may not be a cause of stress for couples, finances can be a deal breaker for relationships before they start. Personality, character and looks were more important in a partner than money, the researchers found. However, a lack of motivation to get ahead, credit card debt and poor money management skills were found to be undesirable in a partner.
"While discussing money may not be the most romantic of gestures, it is important to not only have those financial discussions early in a relationship, but to continue having them throughout your marriage to help avoid financial surprises and minimize financial arguments," Braxdale said.
The research was based on the responses of 2,135 respondents across multiple generations.