Most couples, whether they are married or just dating, will fight with each other at some point about money matters, but how many couples can say they’ve buried a purchase in the backyard just to hide their spending? According to the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, the answer is more than you think.
American Express surveyed more than 2,000 people and found that 27% have “misrepresented” how much they spent on a purchase and an astounding 30% actually admitted to hiding a purchase from their significant other. Of those surveyed, some admitted to concealing their guilty purchases in grocery bags in order to sneak them into the house, or ripping off the price tag and telling their partner that it came from Goodwill. Some Americans will go to such great lengths to buy things their partner disagrees with that they will sneak out in the middle of the night to do so and even, yes, bury it in the backyard.
While these tactics are extreme, they are a symptom of a larger truth for the American couple: money matters often make or break relationships. When we talk about long-term relationships, we may focus on issues like intimacy and children, but according to the study, money is the primary worry in our heads. According to the study, 30% of couples said finances were the biggest stress on their relationship, followed distantly by the 11% who cited intimacy as their main stress. This confirms other reports that list money as one of the leading factors, if not the leading factor, of divorce.
Yet, rather than take extra efforts to have a more open and healthy dialogue about money matters, the average American couple seems to be hiding from “the talk.” More than 90% of those surveyed admitted they latch onto reasons to avoid having conversations about money with their partner, and what’s more, as American Express points out, there is actually a greater chance that a person will know their partner’s weight than their salary.
Clearly, something needs to change.
“Understanding what each person brings to the table, both income and debt, can help maintain financial responsibility and better enable the couple to manage their finances, hopefully helping avoid the stress and arguments consumers say finances can cause,” said Pamela Codispoti, the senior VP for American Express’s Consumer Card Products.
We couldn’t agree more. If you allow money to be the elephant in the room, then there is a better chance it could wreck your household in the long run.
Check out this MainStreet article about the key financial factors that can ruin a relationship and start addressing these issues with your significant other sooner rather than later.