Money is among the top ten reasons for divorce, experts say. But it's not the lack of money that's the problem, it's the lack of agreement about how to deal with it. Financial incompatibility is more likely to sink a marriage than sexual infidelity. So paying close attention to how you and your partner handle money is essential if you want a strong relationship that will last for many years.
To help you achieve that goal, the personal finance site GOBankingRates has compiled a list of finance-related habits that can quickly lead to a breakup, based on a recent survey of more than 1,900 respondents in relationships conducted by TD Bank. If you're doing any of these things, and you want a healthy relationship, it's time to rethink your approach. These are some of the worst money habits for relationships. You can find the full list here.
1. Keeping financial secrets.
Ninety percent of respondents in the survey who described themselves as happy in their relationships said they were not keeping any secrets about money. And 11 percent said that keeping a secret about money was the biggest money mistake they'd ever made. One in 10 respondents said they'd consider splitting up with their significant other if they learned that person was keeping a financial secret. Among Millennials, one in five said they would consider doing so.
There are lots of money secrets people keep--overspending, not telling your partner about all your assets, not telling your partner about all your debts, or spending money on a third party, such as an ex or a child. All of them can severely damage your relationship because in each case, you've broken trust with your partner. So don't do it. And if you are keeping a financial secret right now, make an appointment with yourself to sit down with your partner and come clean.
2. Maintaining separate bank accounts.
Keeping your money separate might seem like a healthy and responsible thing to do, but statistics suggest it's not the best thing for your partnership. Among survey respondents, 86 percent who described themselves as happy in their relationships said they shared at least some of their money. Even sharing one bank account seemed to make a big difference to how happy respondents were in their relationships. The same goes for credit cards. About half of all couples share at least one credit card, and those who do say they're happier than those who don't.
If you've never shared a bank account or credit card with your partner, now is the time to start. You can start small if you prefer. But you will learn important lessons about how each of you deal with money that will help you face big financial decisions together later on.
3. Not saving up for vacations.
You probably already know that skipping vacations is bad for your productivity and health. But did you also know that it's hard on your relationship? When it comes to paying for vacations, you're a lot better off saving up the money for your time away. Couples who didn't budget for vacations reported a lower level of happiness. And only 18 percent of couples who said they were happy paid for their vacations with credit card debt.
4. Not talking about money.
This is the biggest money mistake of all. If you and your partner aren't regularly talking about money, getting in that habit is the best money move you can make to secure a healthy relationship. In the survey, 78 percent of respondents who say they talk about money at least once a week reported that they were happy in their relationships. Of those who discuss money only once every few months, only 50 percent said they were happy.
The sooner you start talking about financial matters, the better. Twenty-four percent of all survey respondents, as well as 20 percent of those who described their relationships as happy, said putting off talking about financial matters was the biggest money mistake they'd ever made.