Morning my fiscally sexy peoples! Got forwarded some pretty wild research dug up by the folks at Haven Life recently, and thought we’d break it all down here and spit some truth. Both literally and figuratively – I chopped up the infographic! :)
Y’all know my stance on this stuff already (A.G.B.T.T.Y.L.A.M baby! Always Gotta Be Talking To Your Lover About $$$!) but it’s a helpful reminder to all of us. Especially those new to the money scene and trying to get it all worked out. As the infamous Suze Orman says: People first, then money, then things. Gotta keep those relationship on lock!
Here’s what their research showed, along with my uninvited commentary…
70% of married couples would think twice about their relationship if their partner confessed to more than $5,000 in secret debt
Of course! And I’d be one of them!! It’s not even about the $$ more so than the secrecy of it all. Not only was the money covered up until the sleuth that I am uncovered it (hah), but I’d be more curious as to what the hell was bought/used by it all? I’d have to imagine it was for stuff outside of the house or else I’d notice it coming in, right? Which means fancy dinners, entertainment, sneaky hotel rooms – OMG my wife is cheating on me!!! How could I be so oblivious??? Haha…
More than one in four (27%) Americans with financial secrets are hiding a secret checking account
That’s pretty freaky. And again, warrants the question of “why?” What are you so afraid of hiding from your significant other? Or is it more of a control/independence type thing? Cuz that I totally get, and which is why both the wife and I have our own “do as we please” accounts. Though we rarely use them anymore… It feels good knowing we have something of our own though since everything’s merged and shared these days – especially with kids now in the picture. No shame in keeping a little independence! But not sure why it needs to be kept a secret…
Devil’s Advocate: D’uh guys, the accounts are secret because they’re for gifts for their sexy lovers! They have to hide them so they don’t ruin the surprise when they go over their accounts and see 1-800-Flowers and Scandalous Lingerie Party as line items. It’s all for their significant others! :)
One in five Americans have secret debt their partner doesn’t know about
Also a VERY scary number… I think I much prefer the secret savings than I do the debt ;) A much nicer surprise than “Honey! I’m home!…. with $8,352 of debt I forgot to tell you about,” Ugh… My only hope is that they had this going INTO the relationship and was too afraid to say something rather than accumulating it while IN the relationship. Not that it makes things that much better, but it still softens the blow a bit. And makes it a lot more easy to understand too.
Devil’s Advocate: It’s not that they’re hiding any debt on purpose, it’s just that they don’t KNOW about it! I bet a majority of people can’t tell you how much debt they have, or where it’s all hiding. Ignorance is bliss, right? ;)
For women who report financial secrets, top of the list are secret personal purchases (34%)
Okay, well I can’t comment here since I’m not of the beautiful female species, but I will say I’d much prefer my wife spending it on herself than on someone else, *ahem*. And considering she rarely spends anything on herself as it is, I’d actually welcome it! She never thinks of herself first! Haha…
21% percent have either a secret savings stash or checking account
The secret stash reminds me of my father who had one while in the military, only it wasn’t a secret and more of just “a stash.” Growing up I always asked him why he was allowed to buy fancy $100 Nike running shoes and I was not. He told me foremost that it was because he was “Dad” and dad’s can do whatever they want (touché), but more importantly because he saved the money throughout the year to be able to buy such things that Mom wouldn’t necessarily approve. And by now you all know my mother well enough to agree :)
When I asked her about this during our interview, she said that dad would save all the leftover money from travel and food stipends while in the military instead of blowing it all on fancy dinners and hotels like his counterparts. This would accumulate into the hundreds every year, thus giving my father plenty of “free money” he could do with as he pleases outside of household responsibilities. Smart man!
Now onto relationships and money…
One in three (32%) Americans will only discuss financial matters with a partner when the relationship has become exclusive
I’m pretty sure most of us here will spill it on the first date ;) For the general public it sounds about right… I don’t really care *when* you talk to your significant other about money and goals/life/babies/etc, so long as you actually DO IT. Let’s get those #’s higher! And from what I hear, you scare away less fish after at least date #5 than on the first, but what do I know… I haven’t dated in 10 years. I hear you can meet online now?? :)
More than one in five (22%) will wait until after getting engaged
I probably wouldn’t wait that long to bring it up, but still better than once the knot is tied! Or keeping it a secret like people are apparently doing…. I still can’t believe people get away with that for so long. I have the worst poker face, and give me a few beers and it’ll all slip out anyways even if I didn’t want it to, haha… People never surprise me though.
20% of Massachusetts women believe the best time to discuss financial matters with a significant other is after moving in together
I would say that definitely warrants “the talk,” yes, but wouldn’t it be smarter to do so BEFORE moving in? Or before getting married and moving in, since my mom said you’re only allowed to cohabit with a woman once you’re married? ;) 80% of them are doing good though, so I’ll give it up to Mass. And if you’re wondering why they’re singled out like that, it’s because Haven Life currently only offers term life insurance online to them right now. They’re about to start hitting up all the other states too though soon, so don’t laugh until they find out how many people wait to discuss $$$ in YOUR state! ;)
What does all this mean? Why should we care??
Well, the short answer is we shouldn’t care about what others are doing, but we SHOULD very much pay attention to our own loving relationships. I’m no marriage counselor, but you can never go wrong doing the following:
- Talking about $$$ sooner than later. I don’t care if you have to get naked and whip out a bottle of wine (or two) – just do it before you feel ridiculous waiting too long to bring up! I’m sure both of you have issues you wish you didn’t have, but better to release ’em into the world now before they add up and cause even more of a scene later. No secrets!
- Love the $hit out of each other. You won’t be able to do this every day of course – we all get on each others’ nerves – but as cheesy as it sounds love really does conquer all. Especially money problems. Money can be fixed no matter what position you’re in, but love ain’t something to be messed with. Communicate as much as you can, and money – and everything else! – should be much smoother over time.
- Communicate the $hit out of each other. Loving is the first step, but almost equally as important is communicating in a relationship. It saves sooooo much trouble, even though it’s sooooo freakin’ hard to do sometimes. Very much like saving or buying insurance when you’d rather blow it all on a guy’s (or girl’s!) weekend – hah. But just like with the principles of money, you gotta keep a solid (and trusting!) foundation with love too.
Start with trying a weekly “money talk” where you literally spend 5 minutes going over the state of affairs with everything. The good, the bad – all of it. Once that gets repetitive/boring, move it to every other week or even once a month. 5 minutes is nothing from your life, but can make all the difference in your relationship. And feel free to slip in “goals” or “career” or even “sex” in those 5 minute chats too!
Imagine if every week you and your partner were focused on all your goals and missions with life?? How could you NOT improve?
*Makes note to set up weekly chats himself… Self knows it’s smart to do, but he’d be lying if he says he does them right now. Also an important reminder: make sure *someone* is in charge of these chats! If you don’t appoint a chat-master (new word, coined here) you’ll never stay on top of her. I mean, them.
And that’s a wrap! Any other tips you’d like to add? Any of you hiding secrets from your significant other? If so, why? (Anonymous time!)
Remember, A.G.B.T.T.Y.L.A.M — Always Gotta Be Talking To Your Lover About $$$.
Problems are always scarier in your mind building up over time than they are when released into the wild. They’re never fun, and your significant other could very well be pissed off for quite some time learning of them (and rightfully so), but better to put it out there now and start cleaning it up! You owe it to your relationship, if not yourself.
PS: You can see the entire infographic here. And since Haven Life – a provider of term life insurance (my fave!) – compensated me to mention them on my blog, I’d be remissed not to include a link to their killer insurance calculator. No pun intended ;) My wife and I both love and have term life insurance ourselves because it’s simple, easy, straightforward and necessary for many of us. You pay X amt a month, and if you die your beneficiary gets the money you insured for – no weird gray areas or hoops to jump through. And it’s cheap as hell too! Especially if you get on it while young and nubile ;)