Couples need to talk more about financial planning, analysts say

Seeing eye to eye financially with one’s partner may be harder than many couples realize, regardless of their relationship status, according to new research by Midland National Life Insurance Co. 

New relationships move through precise phases, from the first date to courtship, sharing living space and committing to partnership with marriage. Midland’s analysis revealed that one in three individuals found that a partner’s spending habits differed from expectations; a third did not even know the partner’s income.

“[Each] step of a relationship demands a different approach to money, as well as ways to approach potentially thorny issues,” Midland analysts said.

Midland recommended focusing on needs specific to the stage of a relationship. Dating is the time to learn about each other’s spending habits, observe how costs are shared and talk about money.

Each step of a relationship demands a different approach to money and financial planning.   File photo

Moving in together brings new practicality, requiring evaluation of how well matched a pair’s values are. Midland advised scheduling conversations about savings, investment and long-term goals before making a commitment.

Stakes increase with marriage; topics like income, credit, debt and decisions about children arise. Partners should ensure financial compatibility before saying, “I do,” and plan regular financial talks, airing differences of opinion.

Additionally, certain age groups, such as millennials and Gen-Xers are susceptible to generational issues, according to a recent Sammons Financial Group survey.

Talking about money can be difficult; no couple is immune to tension. Consulting with a third party, such as a financial adviser, can be helpful, according to Midland, whose agents can assist with important decisions impacting couples’ futures.

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