Do you and your partner find yourselves bickering over money? If you’re a Gen Xer, you might be more likely to.
Generation X couples experience the most tension around their finances, according to a new CompareCards poll. Only 17% of millennials and 9% of baby boomers said they’d argued about money in the last month, compared to 20% of Gen Xers.
That could be because financial pressures are highest around middle age: Mortgages, soccer camp, saving for college and retirement likely weigh heavily on people’s minds during this time of life. Gen Xers are also entering the sandwich generation, which means they have to juggle family demands with those of their aging parents.
Overall, more than a third of all couples admitted to hiding purchases from their partners, and one in 10 had a secret credit card. Gen X women were the most likely to hide a purchase, with 42% saying they’d done so, though women were more open with their spending: 35% of women said they ask their partner before they spend $100 or less, while only 23% of men do the same.
The big picture? Communicating about money is still a sore spot in many marriages, and fixing that could help make a partnership that much happier. In fact, 82% of respondents who didn’t fight about money over the past month said they were extremely satisfied in their relationships, versus just 59% of those who had. Here are some tips that can help keep the money peace with your significant other.
Agree on a spending amount that you both can live with. It’s important to make big purchase decisions together — but what constitutes a big purchase? Maybe you’re OK with your partner spending up to $100 without telling you, but want to discuss anything beyond that. Whatever number you agree upon, stick with your end of the bargain. These secret purchases can’t be good for a relationship.
Establish money roles. If you’re great with the everyday bills and your partner is better at saving for long-term goals, then set up roles on who does what. Just be sure that you both agree on what the ultimate goals are for your money, whether that’s buying a home in the next five years or retiring to a tropical island in the next 30 years. How you approach the big stuff will affect how you manage the small stuff.
Set a money date periodically to make sure you’re on the same page. Even if everything’s going smoothly, it’s important to regroup to decide if you need to change things up with your finances to help reach your goals. Maybe baby is on the way, or perhaps one of you is thinking of grad school. What will now need to change? A monthly, quarterly or even annual meeting of the minds (perhaps over wine) can help you get on the same page.