Millennial Couples Talk About Money More Than Gen X And Boomers
When it comes to money, Millennials are pretty chatty with their partners. The vast majority of Millennials in committed relationships say they talk about finances with their significant others at least once a month—more than either Gen X or Baby Boomer couples, according to research from TD Bank.
And that’s a good thing, experts suggest. “Having a conversation about money early on is important,” said Jason Thacker, Head of Consumer Deposits and Payments at TD Bank, in the press release. “Being open, honest and understanding each other’s priorities when it comes to money is crucial to your overall financial health and success as a couple.”
Tiffany Welka, a wealth management advisor in Livonia, Michigan, has seen the tide turn among the clients she sees for premarital counseling in recent years. It used to be, she says, that couples would come to her who hadn’t discussed their current financial situation.
“But more recently, with Millennials especially, I feel like they’re actually talking to each other about what they have,” says Welka, who is vice president of VFG Associates in Livonia, MI. “I think one of the reasons might be because student loans seem to be a big issue, and without talking about that before marriage, things are definitely going to be rocky.”
Malorie Thompson, 22, and her boyfriend discuss money at least once a week. “We discuss where we’re at financially, any new bills or expenses that may have come up, savings, new income sources, and things of that nature,” says Thompson, who works as a blogger, water safety instructor and nutrition coach in Ukiah, CA. “I think because we both have moms who taught us how important it is to be diligent with our money, we discuss more often than not.”
It’s also a regular conversation for Lauren Crain, 26, who lives in Houston, Texas with her significant other. “I talk to him when I’m stressing about paying bills for my credit card or my student loan, and he talks to me about his stressors as well,” says Craig, who is a digital marketer. “Ever since we moved in together, it’s been much more of a joint venture with our finances. We both pay rent, bills and services we share.”
Crain feels that they talk about money about the same amount as their other friends who live together. “But honestly, I talk to my significant other about any and everything, which I think is a real change from generations past,” she says. “There’s not a topic that I’m afraid to discuss with him.”
For Thomas Minter, 33, money chats are his favorite way to improve his and his partner’s financial situation. “We’ve found that the most effective way to reduce costs and get a hold of finances is to have weekly conversations about the top three spending areas—housing, transportation and food,” says Minter, who lives in Oakland, California, and writes for CityForMillennials.com.
By asking and answering regular questions about their spending priorities and decisions, Minter says, a “couple money mindset” starts to develop. “We get on the same page,” he says.
A money conversation probably isn’t strictly necessary until you and your partner are starting to share some expenses. After that, if you’re interested in having a financial chat with your partner, here are some tips:
- Raise the idea first. Your significant other might not be as crazy about the idea of frank money talks as you are, so give them a chance to get used to it. “Plant the seed that it’s something you want to discuss,” Welka says.
- Get your stuff together. If your partner agrees to a money tête-à-tête, don’t get caught with your wallet down. Make sure you have an idea of what accounts you have and what debts are in your balance book. “Have all of that together and in order so you’re ready to discuss it,” Welka says.
- Make it a date. About once a month, schedule a day and time with your significant other to go over things—and don’t make it a grind. “Have dinner, or watch a movie and spend half an hour talking about it,” Welka says. “Sharing what you’ve got with each other, so that you’re both prepared for how to create a future together is really important.”