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Don’t let money mess with your marital bliss

08:00am February 14 2024

Money-related issues cause arguments for nine out of ten Australian couples, according to a Westpac survey. (Getty)

Money can be a source of friction for many couples, and in most cases the root cause is a lack of communication on the topic. 

Research commissioned by Westpac shows that many Australians feel more comfortable talking about what they get up to with their partner in the bedroom than about their shared finances, with 89 per cent of survey respondents agreeing that they find the subject of money awkward. 

“Being on the same page when it comes to our finances has become increasingly important, particularly after moving in together last year,” say Duncan James and Evelyn Ellis, who became a couple after featuring on season 10 of Channel 9’s Married at First Sight. 

“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,” they add. 

As brand sponsor of the hit show, Westpac is keen to encourage couples to talk more openly about their finances. 

According to the research money-related issues cause arguments for 91 per cent of couples. Frivolous purchases were the top cause of disagreement followed by financial challenges or concerns. 

While two thirds of Aussies agree that couples who regularly talk about money are more likely to be in a healthy relationship, more than one in five admit they rarely discuss finances with their partner.

“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,” says Westpac’s Annabel Fribence. 

“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,” Fribence says. 

Westpac has a range of tools available to help couples tackle conversations about their finances, including a shared finance quiz to help them work together to reach their financial goals. More information and resources are available at 

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.

James Thornhill was appointed as editor of Westpac Wire in May 2022. Prior to joining the bank, he was a business and financial journalist with more than two decades of experience with international newswires. Most recently, he was a resources correspondent for Bloomberg, covering the mining and energy sectors, and previously reported on a broad range of topics from economics and politics to currency and bond markets. Originally from the UK, he’s had stints working in London, New York and Singapore, but is now happily settled in Sydney.

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