Cost of living crisis fuels rise in couples’ arguments about money, survey says

One in eight couples say they’ve seen a significant increase in money-related arguments

Kate Ng
Tuesday 14 February 2023 06:00 GMT
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

If you’ve found yourself disagreeing with your partner about finances more than usual in recent months, you’re not alone.

Around a quarter (26 per cent) of couples argue about money at least once a week, according to a survey.

One in eight (12 per cent) said there has been a significant increase in the number of money-related arguments they are having since the cost-of-living crisis started, Aviva found.

Across the survey, one in 20 couples said they argue with their partner about money on a daily basis.

Some 27 per cent of couples argue about bills and nearly a fifth (18 per cent) quarrel about having too much debt, according to the research, released on Valentine’s Day.

Nearly two-fifths (38 per cent) of people who have a partner or spouse said they have some money put aside that their other half does not know about.

When asked why, nearly a third (32 per cent) of these people said that they want to keep some financial independence, a quarter (25 per cent) want to be able to treat themselves without their partner knowing and 24 per cent said they are saving up to help their children.

Just over a fifth (21 per cent) of those with secret savings said the money is being saved as a precaution in case their relationship breaks down.

Around one in six (15 per cent) with money discreetly put away said they need to pay off debt that they have concealed from their partner.

Alistair McQueen, head of savings and retirement at Aviva said: “Hiding savings or concealing debts from your partner can be a huge source of tension, and it can also seriously impede longer-term financial goals and ambitions.

“Being upfront, honest, and transparent about your finances with your partner can help avoid problems in the future.

“Having a general view of how much is being spent each month, along with overall debts or savings across the household can be important when it comes to making decisions about longer term financial objectives like when you can afford to retire, or whether to downsize your home to release some capital to help your children.”

Censuswide surveyed nearly 1,300 people who were in a couple in January 2023.

Here are Aviva’s tips for navigating money issues as a couple:

Set joint goals.

Look at short-term expenses such as holidays and paying off debts as well as well as longer-term goals such as retirement planning.

Discuss how your household income and spending should be split.

Aviva found 16 per cent of arguments between couples are about how much each person should contribute to bills.

Having a clear idea of who is paying for what may help to alleviate some of the tension.

Consider having a contingency fund in case of illness, redundancy, or any unexpected expenses.

Try to be honest about any debts you may have.

Organisations such as StepChange, the Money Advice Service and Christians Against Poverty could help with debt problems.

Have regular conversations about your finances so you manage your budgets together.

Prepare for the worst, whether it is updating a will, or making sure your pension, health and life insurance policy beneficiaries are up to date.

Reporting by PA

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