Millennials share everything on social media, but when it comes to their spouses, they are doing a poor job of discussing their finances, which is creating stress and strain in their relationships.
This is just one of the findings from Fidelity Investments’ Couples & Money study, which found that, while the majority of survey respondents said they are communicating about finances, one-third don’t even know how much the other half of the couple makes, while one-seventh aren’t even sure if their spouse is employed.
Life is busy, and millennial newlyweds have to juggle their careers, their marriage and debt. That may be one of the reasons many don’t know the basic passwords to access financial documents or when their spouse wants to retire. Fidelity found that more than four in ten couples aren’t in agreement about the age they want to retire. Meanwhile, 54% of survey respondents can’t agree on how much they should save by the time they reach retirement age.
As for their financial documents, the survey revealed that, while a slight majority said they know their spouse’s passwords to bank, credit card, social media and investment accounts, about three in ten couples disagree on whether they provided the information to their spouse. Boomers are the most likely generation to share the information, while millennials are the least likely to know where everything can be found. What’s more, the survey showed that women are more likely to know their spouse’s password than men.
Debt Adds Stress to Relationships
At the same time that millennial couples are forgoing those important financial discussions with each other, they are dealing with record debt thanks in part to student loans. At last count, the nation collectively owes $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. Fidelity found in its latest survey of 1,662 couples with household income of $75,000 or more or at least $100,000 in investable assets that more than half of the couples said they carried debt into their marriage. For those that did, four in ten said it has had a negative impact.
Among those that said they were concerned about debt, close to half of the respondents said that money is the biggest challenge in their relationship. Underscoring the importance of communication, Fidelity found that, of the couples that brought debt into the relationship, 49% contradict each other as to who has to pay off the debt, while 55% think they are responsible for taking on the debt of their spouse and 33% expect their partner to pay it off. Meanwhile, 67% of survey respondents said they fight about money, while 33% said they have difficulty talking about budgeting and spending.