More than a third (34 percent) of U.S. consumers reported living paycheck-to-paycheck is the biggest barrier when it comes to meeting financial goals, according to the TD Bank‘s Love and Money Survey.
The survey, which polled 1,749 people across all age groups and relationship statuses, showed that financial stress causes nearly one in five couples (19 percent) to delay buying a house. It’s especially prominent in the millennial generation, which is leading the pack at 42 percent.
Survey respondents in committed relationships (60 percent) reported talking about finances with their significant other at least once a week. Millennials show more transparency when it comes to finances, with 97 percent saying they talk about money at least once a month, compared to 88 percent of couples across all age groups.
TD said there may be a correlation between talking about money and a lasting relationship, with one-third of married couples reporting arguing about money at least once a month, compared with 44 percent of divorced couples who argued about money at least once a month while married.
However, 42 percent of divorcees reported improved financial well-being after a divorce.
“Having a conversation about money early on is important,” said Jason Thacker, head of consumer deposits and payments at TD Bank. “Every relationship is different — different goals, challenges and steps needed to take in order to get where you want to be. That’s why being open, honest and understanding each other’s priorities when it comes to money is crucial to your overall financial health and success as a couple.”
With finances comes fear and stress, TD said, with anxiety around retirement topping the list at 18 percent, not being able to provide for their families at 14 percent and inability to pay off debt at 12 percent. It’s interesting to note 55 percent of respondents have never met with a financial advisor and less than one in three couples (30 percent) meet with one on an annual basis.
With dating comes technology, and 16 percent of respondents said they met their partner on an online dating site — up 2 percent when compared to last year. Among this group, 27 percent said they discussed money before meeting their match in person.
Despite the era of online dating, traditional roles continue, with 84 percent of committed men saying they picked up the bill on the first date; 63 percent of committed men saying they pay for all meals and drinks; 49 percent of committed men saying they primarily manage all the bills; and 32 percent of couples split the bill regularly.
With that, today’s couples increasingly share financial assets and responsibilities, including 55 percent combine their money (up 4 percent from last year); 70 percent decide together on large purchases; and 61 percent of women report being the primary decision-maker for everyday purchases.
“The financial foundation of your life and the goals you’ve set for yourself and your relationship are so important,” said Jane Greer, a relationship expert, psychotherapist and author. “Couples need to decide what their objectives are and each person’s role in achieving them. The ability to work toward those goals as a team is vital to building a successful future together.”