A study has found that a quarter of couples don’t feel comfortable discussing their finances with each other.
Research polling 2,000 adults in a relationship found just 17 per cent regularly talk about finances with their beloved.
More than one in 10 are apprehensive about discussing debts with their other half, while 18 per cent have never discussed money they owe one another.
It also emerged 10 per cent haven’t shared how much they earn with their significant other, and an equal percentage don’t know what their partner earns.
Commissioned by M&S Bank, the study also revealed never finding a good time, feeling a little embarrassed and wondering how their other half might respond are among the reasons people avoid the subject of money in their relationships.
In fact, people will typically utter the words “I love you” five months before broaching the topic of money – which they won’t talk about until nine months into their relationship.
“The findings show that money can be a taboo subject in some relationships,” said psychologist Emma Kenny.
“However, it’s healthy for couples to discuss their finances and it’s important that they engage in open and honest conversations about financial goals and ambitions from the start.
“In fact, this is often the key to a successful relationship”.
The research also found 18 per cent are more likely to move in together before they talk about money.
As many as one in 10 even expect to get married before they bring up the topic of finances with their significant other.
However, a handful those polled – five per cent – will choose to discuss finances within less than two weeks of knowing each other.
Want to try and open up to your partner? Expert Emma shared her top tips for discussing finances with your other half.
1. COMMUNICATE OPENLY, FROM THE GET GO
Great relationships are often transparent ones.
When you do start to discuss your financial health – and I would argue the sooner the better – it is important that you both understand the good, the bad and the ugly regarding your financial affairs, so that you can communicate openly and work towards a common goal and help each other.
2. HISTORY MATTERS
While you are likely to know which school your other half attended, what their favourite food is, and details of their relationship history, chances are you won’t have the low down on their credit history.
Knowing about your partner’s financial history – and present situation – is important, because if affects you too.
3. GET PRACTICAL
Money needs to be dealt with using more of a practical mindset.
So sit down with your partner and arrange an almost ‘business-like’ meeting – by that I mean be planned and agree what financial matters you need to discuss and make sure you cover them.
4. TALK ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS TO MAKE A FINANCIAL CONNECTION
When you are in a committed relationship, joint accounts can be a great tool to help you save, spend and budget together.
But it’s also worth taking a little time to understand the implications of connecting your finances before committing.
5. REAL TALK
Have a money armistice where you bring all your financial facts and figures together so that you can both take an honest view of what’s working, what you’d like to change, and how you can each support one another on your financial journey
6. MONEY M.O.T.
Just as you visit your dentist regularly, your finances would benefit from regular check-ups too.
Agree to sit down – perhaps once a month – to review your finances, as a couple.
7. SEPARATE, BUT TOGETHER
Even if you both want to retain financial independence, many couples find it beneficial to keep some of your finances in one place so that you can both contribute towards things like holidays, spontaneous weekend breaks and the more fun parts of your relationship.
This means that you can both contribute to saving and ensure that you have a happy and harmonious financial life.
8. SET GOALS
Research evidences that people who set themselves goals are happier and healthier than those who do not.
As a couple, agree on some activities or purchases that you want to work towards as these will act as a motivator, and will also mean you both feel rewarded when you achieve your target.
9. HAVE FUN
While saving together is a positive exercise, you should also make sure that you get to enjoy your hard work.
When you achieve any financial milestones, agree on how you’ll celebrate the effort you have both made.
10. DON’T PLAY THE BLAME GAME
If you, or your partner have made some bad choices that have affected your finances, try not to be judgemental.