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One in five couples are ‘financially incompatible’

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13/02/2018
Financial incompatibility is a key cause of marital strife, according to a report from Scottish Widows.

One in five said a lack of shared financial goals and attitudes towards money has put a strain on their relationship, while one in ten don’t trust their partner with finances. More than a third (34%) of divorcees cited persistent financial worries as a reason they broke up.

This is in spite of 60% of people believing financial compatibility is important to a successful relationship. Almost a fifth (17%) wish they had discussed finances earlier in a relationship. ‘Financial incompatibility’, including a lack of shared financial aspirations and different attitudes to spending and saving, is causing friction in people’s relationships.

One in five (20%) said they wish their partner would save more for their future, more than a quarter (27%) said their partner’s spending is impacting their ability to save.

Money remains the last taboo for many couples – one in ten (11%) people do not share salary details with their partner and more than half (57%) don’t know how much their partner has in their separate personal bank account. Also, 25% of married Brits have a separate bank to keep a separate stash of cash for themselves.

Older generations are more open. Asked at what stage they feel happy discussing finances with their partner, around one in ten (8%) millennials said they are immediately comfortable talking about money compared to 34% among the over 55s.

Catherine Stewart, retirement expert at Scottish Widows, said: “It’s important for couples – at any age – to have open and honest conversations about their finances to make sure they have an understanding of their individual longer term financial goals.

“Some people may be more inclined to focus financial conversations on big life events like buying a house, having a family, or taking time out from work to travel together. Life after retirement should also be on this list; having a good understanding – early on – of each other’s retirement goals will help to ensure couples can work towards a realistic joint financial plan.”

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