As we head into the holiday season and people take time off to enjoy time with their families, we're republishing our Top 8 stories from the year. Why 8? Because like everything else that continued to change throughout 2021, we too changed and decided against a Top 5 or 10 and landed on 8. We hope you enjoy.
This story was originally published on February 5, 2021.
Tiffany "The Budgetnista" Aliche is an award-winning teacher of financial education. She has made it her mission to empower women and provide them with access to the tools and resources needed to create a better life for themselves and their families.
With 2020 a thing of the past (thank goodness!), many couples have taken the extra time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic to have more honest conversations about budgeting and finances.
And guess what? It's working!
TD Bank's sixth annual Love and Money survey revealed some surprising yet inspiring statistics about couples and money conversations. One big takeaway is that having the all-important money conversation early and often might be the way to save your relationship.
Another 'lovely' stat is that according to the survey, more than two-thirds of Americans say they are very or extremely happy in their relationships. (Awww... sweet!)
Here are some other helpful takeaways so that you can LOVE the one you're with even more in 2021.
1. The More the Merrier
Talk about money, budgeting and finances more than once every few months.
In fact, the Love and Money survey found that 85% of current couples talk about money at least monthly, whereas just 51% of divorced couples did so. Not discussing money often enough clearly plays a role in the breakdown of a relationship.
What's more, arguing decreased as couples went from talking about money once a month to once a week.
Talk, talk, talk! It'll 'pay' off.
2. Secrets Are No Fun
DO. NOT... I repeat, do not keep financial secrets.
The good news is that more than half of the survey respondents now find it easier to talk about money with their partner because of the pandemic and spending more time at home.
Also, financial secrets were down from 13% the year before to just 11% last year.
So, start being more honest with your partner, and above all else, please use caution. Of those who admitted to keeping financial secrets from their partner, as many as 18% said that secret was a hidden bank account.
That could easily be a relationship killer, especially given that 25% of millennials said they would consider breaking up with their partner over a financial secret.
Are you and your partner on the same page about finances? We teamed up with @TheBudgetnista to provide some helpful tips on having a happier relationship through money talks. Learn more: https://t.co/g8PNPpckoR pic.twitter.com/hiAbB0GVd2— TD Bank News (@TDNews_US) February 15, 2021
3. Define Needs vs. Wants
According to the survey, almost half (44%) of American couples argued regularly about what is a "need" versus a "want."
This tells me that these couples aren't sitting down and having the hard conversations about what they absolutely need as a couple, for themselves individually, and what they can possibly do without.
Remember, when you enter into a good relationship, you are becoming one and some of your habits in the past might need to change a little.
So, sit down and possibly write down your expenditures each month and identify areas where you can possibly eliminate a want or keep a need!
4. What is Essential vs Nonessential
The survey also revealed that more than half of respondents adjusted their spending during COVID-19, due to stay-at-home orders and financial uncertainty.
I've seen it time and again, couples can be carefree and joyous during good times and this can easily change when things are uncertain.
The Love and Money survey delved deeper and showed that 58% of respondents reduced spending on nonessential items, while 43% cancelled travel plans and 36% delayed bigger purchases like a new home.
As a couple, don't wait for a crisis to budget and figure out what the two of you, as a unit, absolutely need from week-to-week and month-to-month.
Then, look at how the times have changed and how you can adjust. Figure out where you can reroute money you're not using and save in case of an emergency.
During unprecedented times, the best thing to be is prepared.
5. Who's the Boss
Last but not least, is to figure out how much each person wants to be involved in the finances.
According to the survey, 62% of men say the financial duties and decision-making was split between the two in the household, while 61% of women said they themselves were the ones making the financial calls.
This shows a lack of harmony and alignment.
Don't let this happen and get into unnecessary arguments over a cell phone bill or something that could have easily been planned out in advance.
Decide who wants to and should handle what and be equal partners when possible.
This could lead to deeper conversations about managing the household finances together and build more positive relationships in the near and long-term.