If you close your eyes and think of a word to describe 2020, many will probably come to mind: COVID-19, pandemic, shutdowns, healthcare, heroes, frontline, finances, and of course, home.
If you dig deeper and think about how we as people were able to adapt to a world where we could no longer see each other face-to-face on a regular basis, yet still found new ways to connect and be with one another, even digitally, another word comes to mind - relationships.
In the midst of economic shutdowns, millions working from home and a 2020 that no one could have ever predicted because of COVID-19, we conducted our sixth annual Love and Money survey to better understand how couples discuss and handle finances.
As you can imagine, the survey showed that the pandemic had major impacts on American couples, their finances, and how they handled these challenges in their lives.
Plans on Pause
With record unemployment rates and many not quite sure about the future of global and local economies here in the states, many couples revealed delayed plans for major financial milestones.
These included 32% of millennials concerned about repaying student loan debt, while 52% said they are holding off on milestone purchases like buying their first home or car.
Because of COVID-19, more than half of respondents reevaluated their spending habits with 43% of this group cancelling travel plans and 30% saying they reduced spending on or put their spending on pause when it came to buying a home.
The balancing effect of this and the psyche of being home most of the time can lead to frivolous spending. As many as 25% of millennials admitted to this behavior during 2020 and the pandemic.
Could Money Talks Save Your Marriage?
In short – yes!
While 86% of couples said they talk about money once a month, a third also said they argue about money once a month.
The percentage of American couples who talk about money once a week dipped to 56%, but those respondents reported being happier in their relationship, with only 10% saying they argue about money once a week.
And for couples who didn't talk about money early and often in their relationship, they reported regretting it later.
Not talking about money on a regular basis is the biggest financial mistake people say they make within relationships (18%), followed by waiting too long to discuss money (13%).
Another telling stat came for divorced couples, where 51% of respondents claim to only have discussed money with their partners on a monthly basis.
The Secrets that you Keep
Possibly the biggest relationship killer, involving finances or not, is deception and keeping secrets.
Of the survey respondents, 10% admitted to keeping a financial secret.
Among those who do have financial secrets from their partner, credit card debt remains the most common (42%) followed by a secret bank account (18%). That's almost 1 in 5 that are hiding an account from their partner!
Secrets can quickly end any relationship. Don't take our word for it – 25% of millennials said they would consider breaking up with their partner over a financial secret.
The silver lining? More than half of respondents say that COVID-19 has made talking about money easier in their relationship, while just 4% say it has become more difficult.
To learn more about the survey, head over to COVID-19 Delays Financial Goals, Reduces Money Talk 'Stigma' for American Couples, According to TD Bank's Sixth Annual Love and Money Survey.