American Express: Finances Top Stress Factor for Couples

Household financesAn American Express survey found that nearly one in three couples believe finances cause more stress in their relationship then intimacy, their children and their in-laws.
Communicating about finances is not a priority, which may contribute to the stress, the survey found. Overall, 91 percent of Americans surveyed find reasons to avoid talks about money with the partners, according to the most recent American Express Spending & Saving Tracker.
Some indicated they are more likely to know their partner’s weight than their salary.
While only 43 percent of the general population talked about money before marriage, that number jumps to 57 percent for affluent couples and to 81 percent for young professionals.
American Express surveyed 2,008 adults for the survey on finance and relationships.
Most couples pay their monthly bills jointly and keep joint ownership of household accounts. Two-thirds – 66 percent – of those surveyed share all monthly expenses. The remaining 34 percent divide their bills each month, “with methods ranging from paying certain bills individually to splitting household expenses based on income ratio,” AmEx said.
Of those surveyed, $275 is the average threshold at which couples need to consult with their partner before making a purchase –  $395 among affluents and $249 among young professionals.
More than half, or 56 percent, of couples said they have made a financial mistake, ranging from spending too much on their wedding to buying a house at the top of the market. The majority said they would do something differently to manage their financial situation if they could fix mistakes of the past. Those fixes include: 

  • Putting more into savings and investments (32 percent)
  • Spending more responsibly (27 percent)
  • Discussing financial goals and expectations earlier (17 percent)

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