Dishonesty around money could be a relationship killer, couples say. Here’s what successful partners do differently

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It’s no secret that money issues can add stress to a relationship.

But a new survey from The Knot, a wedding planning website, finds couples say certain moves are deal breakers in their relationships.

The top unforgiveable move, with 43% of respondents, is acting secretive or dishonest about finances.

That is followed by the inability to share financial responsibilities, with 31%; overspending or not saving, 29%; having high debt, 26%; acting condescending about money, 26%; disagreement about what to spend money on, 22%; having unstable or irregular income, 22%; and having different views around saving versus spending, 22%.

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The survey included 1,000 adults who are either in a serious relationship, engaged or married.

The key to eliminating that “financial furtiveness” from relationships comes down to communication, according to Esther Lee, deputy editor at The Knot.

“It’s okay to have separate accounts,” Lee said.  “It’s just being open about it and having conversations about the why and building trust in your partner.”

Which couples communicate most

When it comes to talking about money, about 7 in 10 couples are discussing finance-related topics at least on a weekly basis, The Knot’s survey found.

Some couples — 32% — are talking about money at least a few times a week.

Couples who are either dating or engaged were more likely to say they talk about financial issues at least weekly versus those who are married.

LGBTQ+ couples also are more likely to discuss money at least weekly, with 77%, versus 65% of non-LGBTQ+ partners.

“The couples who talk about money more, the ones who are intentional about sitting down and having these discussions about finances, they are so much better equipped to grow in their relationship, versus those who did not have conversations at all,” Lee said.

How women can build confidence

While the survey found 48% of men said they are very confident their partner will make smart financial decisions, just 41% of women said they believe in themselves to do the same.

That financial confidence gap between partners in heterosexual couples also showed up in other areas.

While 38% of men surveyed reported feeling “very knowledgeable” about handling taxes, 31% of women said the same.

The gap between genders was wider in other areas, with 36% of men indicating they feel very knowledgeable about the stock market compared to 25% of women, and 36% of men expressing confidence about new technologies like cryptocurrency and NFTs versus just 21% of women.

To help close that gap, women can first start by recognizing many of those insecurities come from gender stereotypes, rather than valid conclusions about their abilities.

“It’s perception,” Lee said. “It’s not reality.”

To strengthen their financial confidence, women may want to use budgeting and investing apps, and start having more conversations around money with financial advisors and their peers.

“You have to build that confidence,” Lee said. “The only way to build it is by actually by taking action and building knowledge.”

Sophie Tremblay

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