Money the top cause of arguments for Aussie couples
13 February 2024
Westpac is encouraging Aussies to talk about their financial goals this Valentine’s Day as research from the bank reveals chocolate and teddy bears are out and open money discussions are in for those wanting to maintain a healthy relationship.
According to the research money-related issues cause arguments for 91 per cent of couples, with frivolous purchases (62%) the top catalyst for a disagreement followed by financial challenges or concerns (56%). These outrank spats about social media or phone usage (55%), political views (51%) and even past relationships (38%).
While two thirds (65%) of Aussies agree that couples who regularly talk about money are more likely to be in a healthy relationship, more than one in five (22%) admit they rarely discuss finances with their partner.
Westpac’s Annabel Fribence is encouraging couples to have a healthy conversation about money with their partner this Valentine’s Day.
“Respectful, honest and open conversations are really important in relationships however it appears Aussies still have room to grow when it comes to building confidence around holding discussions about money,” Ms Fribence said.
“In healthy relationships, it’s important both parties know how much money they have and where it is going with an equal contribution to money decisions. This may help alleviate concerns, manage expectations with one another and better set yourselves up for success in achieving your individual and joint aspirations.
“After debating the latest Married at First Sight episode this Valentine’s Day, we encourage couples to also have an open conversation and agree on your budgets and financial goals.”
MONEY CONSIDERED TOP SOCIAL TABOO
The research also found Aussies are more open to discussing private details about their relationship and bedroom behaviours in social settings than they are about their finances, with 89 per cent agreeing they find the subject of money awkward.
When asked what topics they avoid discussing with friends and family, half (50%) said they’d rather talk about sex than how much debt they have, 45 per cent would rather reveal their intimate partner tally to a significant other than ask a friend to pick up their share of the bill, and two in five (42%) would rather confront a friend about an argument than reveal their salary.
With the highly anticipated 11th season of ‘Married at First Sight’ (MAFS) hitting screens, Westpac has teamed up with certified Clinical Sexologist Alessandra Rampolla and season 10 golden couple Duncan and Evelyn to share their views on how they approach money and relationships.
MAFS’ Duncan James and Evelyn Ellis said: “Being on the same page when it comes to our finances has become increasingly important, particularly after moving in together last year.
“While talking about money isn’t the most romantic topic of conversation, as our relationship has grown, so too have our discussions around our spending habits and financial goals.
“Understanding each other's attitudes towards money when we first started dating has set us up for more open conversations around our finances in the long-term,” the couple said.
Westpac has a range of tools available to help couples navigate financial conversations, including a shared finance quiz designed to help couples look at how they can work together to achieve their financial goals. More information and resources are available at www.westpac.com.au/moneytalks.
Customers can also access a range of helpful money management features in the Westpac app. This includes an expense splitter for managing shared purchases, tailored insights to better understand your monthly spending habits, and the ability to set up and track joint savings goals.
In some relationships, talking about money can be unsafe. Customers can access resources via Westpac’s Love and Money pages or 1800 Respect for tools and tips to help you be prepared on how to have safe, respectful and secure conversations. If you are in immediate danger, call 000. To speak with a specialist team at Westpac who can help you manage your finances during difficult circumstances call Priority Assist on 1800 063 509.
About the research:
The research was commissioned by Westpac and conducted by Fifth Dimension. Fifth Dimension surveyed 2,094 Australians aged 18+ between 12 and 22 November 2023. Surveys were conducted online amongst members of a permission-based panel from Australian capital and non-capital cities.