Money & Marriage - How Finances Relate To Your Relationship (Graphic: TD Ameritrade)

First comes love, then comes marriage. But, what’s the cost of shared financial bliss? A recent survey conducted by TD Ameritrade, Inc. (“TD Ameritrade”), a broker-dealer subsidiary of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation (NYSE: AMTD) and LearnVest revealed that the average couple discusses money less than two times a month and fights over money, on average, five times a year.

“With the median age for first-time marriages approaching 30*, combining finances is not as simple as it once was,” said Carrie Braxdale, managing director, investor services at TD Ameritrade. “Couples are bringing more financial baggage into the relationship than ever before. They have 401(k)s, student loan debt, investments and even mortgages. So, it’s more important than ever for couples to talk about their finances and work together to develop a plan.”

The Dating Game

When it comes to choosing the perfect partner, personality (20%), character (18%) and looks (17%) topped the list. Things like money (5%) and potential earnings (3%) were less important.

However, the survey found that certain poor financial habits are undesirable in a potential partner. Lack of motivation to get ahead (66%), relying on parents for financial support (65%), having significant credit card debt (65%) and poor money management skills (64%) were the most common financial deal-breakers when it comes to selecting a potential mate.

The survey also revealed some financial trust and transparency issues among couples:
  • Forty percent (40%) of respondents said they do not completely trust their partner to manage their combined finances
  • More than one in three (38%) said they were only somewhat, slightly or not at all aware of their significant other’s debts
  • And one-fifth (21%) said they sometimes hide their spending from their significant other

Wedding Bells

According to the survey, nearly 60 percent of couples are paying for their own wedding, at an average cost of $28,000 for Gen Y. What’s more, that price tag doesn’t include the honeymoon costs, which adds another $3,400 on average. But, these young couples think it’s worth every penny – 82 percent say they don’t regret how much they spent on their wedding, and 89 percent don’t regret what they paid for their honeymoon.

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