Nearly seven in ten couples say they have good communication around finance and money, but many disagree over spending limits and major purchases
Minneapolis(September 21, 2016) Money tops the list as the most important and frequent topic of conversation between couples, according to new research released by Ameriprise Financial (NYSE: AMP). Yet, while the majority of couples claim to be on the same page about their finances, there are many areas in which the duos don’t always see eye to eye. The Ameriprise study on couples and money surveyed more than 1,500 couples between the ages of 25-70, asking questions to both members in the relationship to determine if their perspectives on money were aligned. While three-quarters (77%) of couples say they agree on most financial matters, more than a third also recognize there is room for improvement.
Living in Financial Harmony
The study found an overwhelming 88% of couples are happy with how they’ve divvied up financial responsibilities in their relationship and 68% say they communicate well about their financial situation. Both individuals in the pair weren’t shy about rating themselves as engaged, responsible and confident when it comes to managing their money.
Couples Reveal the Top 5 Secrets to a Successful Financial Relationship
  1. They make money a priority.
  1. Most talk about and agree on financial goals.
  1. They set spending limits ($400 on average); any purchases over this amount need to be discussed.
  1. The majority have joint banking accounts.
  1. They share the responsibility for retirement planning and investment decisions.

“Conversations about money are critical to successful relationships. We know couples who talk openly and often about their finances ultimately feel more confident about reaching their future goals,” says Marcy Keckler, vice president of financial advice strategy at Ameriprise. “Money doesn’t have to be a deal breaker for couples. Instead, it provides them with the opportunity to work as a team to create a strong financial foundation built on communication, planning and shared responsibilities.”
The Evolution of Success; Opposites Attract
Couples say their unified front toward financial decisions didn’t happen overnight. Instead, the majority (66%) evolved into their current roles over time. And, when it comes to managing money—most couples (73%) will agree…they approach financial decisions differently than their significant other or spouse. For example, many who characterize themselves as spenders have partners who self-identify as savers. But, no matter their differences, more than half of couples say they’ve become more financially responsible and their relationship has improved over time.
Couples Say Its Complicated
Even though couples connect on a variety of financial issues, there is no shortage of disagreements. Many couples admit they could work to improve their communication skills. Around three in ten confess they argue about money at least once a month—most often about making a major purchase, and spending habits. And, the majority of people (68%) acknowledge they are prone to shop without telling their partner, but say it’s mostly because they don’t think the purchase is big enough to warrant their attention. Many couples are also out of sync with each other when it comes to how much they’ve saved for retirement (23%) and spending limits (54%)—and a small percentage (5%) confess they are hiding an account from their partner.
Key Strategies to Help Couples Improve Communication
  • Discuss financial issues prior to marriage or moving in together
  • Come to a mutual understanding of financial roles and responsibilities
  • Make investment decisions and retirement goals a priority in the relationship
  • Work with a financial professional on a tailored approach to manage your finances
“Talking about money can be tough for couples, but they don’t have to figure out their finances on their own. Working with a financial advisor can help them develop a comprehensive plan that fits their needs both today and tomorrow,” says Marcy Keckler.
For more information about the study, please visit our research page at ameriprise.com/couplesandmoneystudy

About the survey
The Ameriprise study on couples and money was created by Ameriprise Financial, Inc. and conducted online June 14 to July 14, 2016 by Artemis Strategy Group among 1,514 U.S. opposite and same sex couples (married or living together for at least six months with shared financial responsibility) between the ages of 25-70 with at least $25,000 in investable assets.
About Artemis Strategy Group
Artemis Strategy Group (www.Artemissg.com) is a communications strategy research firm specializing in brand positioning, thought leadership and policy issues.
About Ameriprise Financial
At Ameriprise Financial, we have been helping people feel confident about their financial future for more than120 years. With extensive asset management, advisory and insurance capabilities and a nationwide network of approximately 10,000 financial advisors, we have the strength and expertise to serve the full range of individual and institutional investors' financial needs. For more information, or to find an Ameriprise financial advisor, visit ameriprise.com.
For further information and detail about the study including verification of data that may not be published as part of this report, please contact Ameriprise Financial.
Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC.
© 2016 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved.