EP17 – Financial Pressures On a Relationship With Trinity Taylor (PT1)

With reference to stress in any relationship, money tends to be a significant contributing factor. The reason is that money issues tend to be a stress problem in and of itself, and when looked at in combination with the fact that its not an openly discussed topic, particularly in the UK, situations tend to get awkward and frustrating.

It is imperative that couples make an effort to determine and work out their financial arrangement and philosophy, in addition to as individuals too.

In concept it seems as though everyone would be able to carry this out, but the reality is something very different unfortunately. Evidenced by a national survey that was carried out by Experian which focused on 500 adults who has recently gone through a divorce within recent years (5). the survey discovered that money played a significant role in the ending of their marriages and it leading to a divorce. Even more concerning, 71 percent of women and 60 percent of men said that their former spouses spending habits ended up being different than they thought they would be before they were married, showing a serious lack of open communication.

What is the legal status of prenups and postnups?

In England, Wales or Northern Ireland, prenups and postnups are not fully legally binding, but they’re taken into account by the courts if you divorce or dissolve your civil partnership.

https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/your-financial-position-in-a-new-relationship

Government legislation according to gov.uk states that

“You and your ex-partner can choose how to work out money and property issues if you divorce or end a civil partnership. You can usually avoid going to court hearings if you agree how to split your money and property. You can use a solicitor to make your agreement legally binding. You can agree on child maintenance at the same time or separately.”

So essentially assuming both parties come to an amicable agreement then a separation (should it happen) can be as pain-free and simple as both parties are willing to make it.

Statisitcs

Statistics quotes from the Money advice services

  • One in ten married UK adults has an ‘escape fund’ in case they want to leave
  • 13% have a ‘secret stash of cash’ their spouse doesn’t know about
  • The average couple has 39 arguments about money per year

In many cases, UK adults are suffering the effects of poor financial decisions made by their partner. Twenty-two per cent of those who have been in a relationship for at least a year say that they have been impacted by their partner’s financial decisions. One in eight (12%) pointed to the fact that their credit rating had been damaged by the actions of a partner – rising to one in five (19%) for those aged 25-34.

This following statistics and points are based on american study, but the underlying points still hold true for the UK.

These following statistics cover financial attitudes and behaviours. This includes money and marriage statistics, spending habits, financial infidelity and financial planning statistics. This page is designed as a resource for reporters and other members of the media seeking financial behaviour statistics. It is also made available for those writing grants for marriage and money programs, asset building initiatives, etc.

Ameriprise study on couples and money (June/July 2016)

  • So the study was created by Ameriprise Financial, Inc. and conducted online by Artemis Strategy Group. 3,028 interviews were completed online among U.S. adults between June 14 and July 14, 2016. The respondents are between the ages of 25 to 70 and have at least $25,000 in investable assets. The margin of error is +/- 1.8 percent at the 95% confidence level.
  • Approximately 31% of all couples — even the happiest ones — clash over their finances at least once a month. The most common points of disagreement:Major purchases (34%),Decisions about finance and children (24% of respondents with kids), A partner’s spending habits (23%),Important investment decisions (14%).

TD Bank Love & Money Study (June 2015)

  • A poll of Americans that are either married, engaged or in relationships to explore the impact finances have on relationships. The total sample includes 1339 respondents who are in a relationship (not single). The National sample size of 1339 has a margin of error of +/- 2.9%. Data has been weighted by age, gender and region to reflect the population. The survey was fielded May 28th – June 3rd, 2015
  • Couples who regularly talk about money are happier in their relationships than those who discuss finances less frequently: Among respondents who said they talk about money at least once per week, 42 percent described their relationship as “extremely happy,” compared with 27 percent of those who talk about money less than once per month and 38 percent of all respondents.
  • Nearly three quarters (73 percent) of millennials (ages 18-34) in relationships talk about money with their significant other at least once per week, compared with only 61 percent of all survey respondents

http://www.moneyhabitudes.com/financial-statistics/

The following is a quite as well as some realistic and practical guidance steps that couples can take to get the ball rolling and prevent money form becoming an issue within the relationship.

 Corinne Sweet, Psychologist and Psychotherapist, and author of Stop Fighting About Money:

“Talking about money is often still a taboo for couples as it evokes feelings of vulnerability and dependency. Many couples hide their true money status as they need to control the power in the relationship. Having money secrets, or a secret escape stash, is likely a way of showing that you have doubts about the relationship.”

Five Tops Tips from Corrine Sweet on talking money with your partner

  • Strive to voice your beliefs about money as early on in the relationship as you can, to avoid misunderstandings building up.
  • If you are secretive about money, ask yourself why? Are you protecting yourself? What is it you don’t trust in your partner?
  • Relationships need some mutually agreed ground rules about money – these can be re-negotiated as you go along.
  • If you have unequal incomes or assets, try and work out ways of paying for things that reflect this: for example a 70/30 or a 60/40 split.
  • If you have debts, try and be honest about it (at least with yourself). Take full responsibility for clearing them and keep on top of them.

Other points to consider with respect to finances within relationships:

Set boundaries and be clear on independence

Make sure you are equal partners

Talk to your spouse or partner about money

Share, divide, pay an allowance or keep your money separate?

Keeping your money totally separate

Sharing everything in a joint account

https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/should-we-manage-money-jointly-or-separately

Hopefully all the aforementioned tips and pointers will go a long way to helping all couples to sort out their financial situations and prevent breakup – from the financial aspect at least. Just to also reiterate this is part 1 of a two part series. so look out for part two next week.

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EP17 – Financial Pressures on a Relationship
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