CHERRY HILL, New Jersey – Millennials value financial openness in their relationships, with 31 percent saying they would consider breaking up with their partner if they discovered hidden debt or a bad credit score, according to the fifth annual Love and Money Survey by TD Bank, America’s most convenient bank.
The survey polled 1,753 US individuals who are married, in a committed relationship or divorced to learn more about how they approach money.
The survey revealed that more than one-in-four (27 percent) millennials currently keep a financial secret from their partner – more than any other generation. The biggest financial secret is significant credit card debt, with 43 percent of all respondents hiding debt, and millennials leading the pack at 48 percent.
Baby boomers and the silent generation (ages 73 and older) have their secrets, too. When it comes to hiding bank accounts, 46 percent and 52 percent of these older generations, respectively, conceal money secrets from their partners. In fact, these generations have no plans to tell their financial secrets (81 percent and 82 percent, respectively), whereas more than half (55 percent) of millennials plan to disclose their secret within the next year.
Additionally, despite the threat of financial instability, most Americans (59 percent) admit to making impulsive money decisions, even when they know it’s irrational. The survey revealed that 72 percent of millennial respondents in relationships knew a money decision was irrational but acted on it anyway.
“It’s important that couples are honest and open about their money challenges. Often times a partner will hide a credit card bill or low score due to guilt or embarrassment, yet when the debt comes to light it’s often not the debt that creates the conflict – it’s the secrecy,” said Rachel DeAlto, relationship expert, coach and television personality. “If you want to maintain trust with your partner, own it and create a plan to improve your financial situation.”
Five years later: More talk, more problems?
Since 2015, communication between millennials talking about finances with their partners is up 21 percent, more than other generations. Now, almost all millennial couples (94 percent) discuss the subject together at least once per week. However, the survey found millennials are still more likely than other generations to argue with their significant others about money. Nearly 40 percent of those ages 23 to 38 admit to fighting about finances at least once a week, up four percent from 2015, while 14 percent of Gen Xers and five percent of baby boomers say they argue about money.
Bending boundaries for love
The survey also uncovered how far couples may be willing to go to advance their child’s education. The survey found that nearly one-in-two parents (48 percent) would consider offering a monetary incentive to an educational institution to accept their child. But there is some disconnect between couples, as men (60 percent) are more likely to take this action than women (35 percent).
When couples were asked whether they would pay for answers to a standardized test to help get their child into a good school, fathers (68 percent) again were more likely to bend the rules than mothers (32 percent). Overall, sixty percent of millennials would be inclined to pay to improve their child’s chance of success, more than any other generation.
The study also showed that while men (70 percent) are more likely than women (48 percent) to reward their child with money, women are twice as likely to say that their love for their child would sway their money decisions (23 percent of women versus 12 percent of men). Meanwhile, men (16 percent) were more likely to say their spouse would influence their money choices.
“It’s easy to get carried away with spending on our loved ones in the moment but knowing when to draw the line and setting boundaries for spending is critical to staying on track and building your financial health together,” said Jason Thacker, head of consumer deposits, products and payments at TD Bank. “The most important thing to consider when making money decisions as a couple is to establish a financial plan that reflects unified goals and a system for managing your money.”