It’s finally here! Thanks to everyone who took the survey about relationships and money way back in (gulp!) August. It was fascinating to put these results together and discover how different — and alike! — we are when it comes to fellow couples and their finances. I gotta admit, there were as many things that surprised me as didn’t surprise me! Without further ado, you can click through below to browse the results.
Be sure to check out the end of the post, where I’ve written a brief wrap-up with my own thoughts/experiences about the data (and love + finances), and also shared some resources with you.
I hope you enjoyed reading through all that (and hopefully also understand why it took me a little while to put together!). Here are a couple notes I wanted to share with you about the survey:
+ While there were well over 450 surveys started, I ended up having to throw many out, as some individuals started the survey but didn’t answer the biggest question: how they shared or split finances with their significant other. So long as the participant answered that question, I kept their data as part of the survey, though some people didn’t complete the whole thing. This is why I’ve included “No Response” percentages with some of the data. The total number of participants included in the survey is 382. Not bad!
+ This thing is definitely not scientific. I probably made the mistake of leaving too many questions as qualitative (i.e., people could write answers in), so I had to do some manual tabulation for things like how people were approaching money (the whole percentages, 50/50 thing, etc). In these cases though, I tried to interpret each answer individually based on the patterns I was seeing, and most of the time, responses were pretty clear cut (i.e., the person would write “we break it down by a percentage of income” or “we split everything half and half).
+ So, what are my takeaways, having spent A LOT of time reading everyone’s stories? I would say that by and large, it’s common for couples to share the burden of basic household expenses, and that many couples also take advantage of individual bank accounts/credit cards to pay for items they don’t jointly enjoy — whether that’s clothing, nights out with friends, travel, etc. Is this a hard and fast rule? Absolutely not — there were also many couples who viewed all money made as one collective pot, and still others who kept things totally separate (even after marriage). So scratch that — my biggest takeaway is that there’s no one way or right answer, and the most important thing is to keep communication about money open and honest.
+ One of the biggest surprises for me was that over 26% of respondents said they never argue about money! Does this surprise you, too? The source of my surprise probably isn’t shocking — even after such a long time together, Joe and I are not immune to “discussions” about money. I found it interesting to read about everyone’s perspectives about money from early relationship stages, well on into marriage. I think it’s something that can evolve over time, and as it’s evolved in my own relationship, there can certainly be growing pains. When we started dating, Joe and I were college freshmen…obviously, we have a whole different set of expectations around money from that time, through our 20s, and into our 30s as a married couple!
+ I’m so grateful that so many of you felt compelled to share your stories, histories, worries, anxieties, methodologies, and genius ideas around money. There were far, far more short-answer responses than I could have possibly have included here, so I tried to create a sampling within specific categories to showcase the diversity, as well as interesting insights. With that being said, if you’d like to contribute more to a specific question (even if you didn’t take the survey!) I encourage you to do so in the comments below. While comments require an email address, this won’t be published, so you can be anonymous if you’d like. It goes without saying, but please keep all comments respectful and open-minded — every person and couple is different! Here are some of the questions I asked survey participants:
- Do you and your significant other combine all finances, keep everything separate, or are things partially combined/partially separate?
- If you combine finances, even only partially, when did you choose to do so, and why?
- Do you share bank accounts, credit cards, and/or retirement accounts with your significant other?
- If you combine your finances, do you also still keep your own individual bank accounts/credit cards?
- What types of things do you purchase out of shared and individual accounts?
- How do you determine who pays for what within your relationship? Does one person end up paying more? How do you ensure it’s equitable (or do you)?
- Do you have a household budget? If so, do you use any special software for it?
- How did you discuss sharing finances? Was it an easy conversation, or difficult?
- What’s the #1 thing financial related thing you argue about?
- Do you have any advice, resources, or rules to share when it comes to love + money?
Splitwise · iBank · Home Budget · You Need a Budget · Mint · Google Sheets · Quicken Square · VenMo · LearnVest · Personal Capitol
(Excel and Paper/Pen/Calculator round out the 12th and 13th items people used to create budgets!)