ATLANTA, Jan. 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The holidays are one of the most popular times for engagements. As newly engaged couples begin planning for their big day and the rest of their lives together, many are avoiding a topic they know is important – their finances. A new SunTrust survey conducted by The Harris Poll found that 88 percent of Americans believe it is important to have financial conversations before saying "I do," yet only 51 percent actually discussed how they would handle finances before getting married. In fact, less than half of married couples disclosed their annual salaries (41 percent) and debt (36 percent) before walking down the aisle.
"The gap between those who believe it is an important discussion and those who actually have the discussion is sizeable and can negatively impact their financial confidence," said Joe Sicchitano, head of Wealth Planning and Advice Delivery at SunTrust. "Some may be hesitant to reveal poor past decisions or may be concerned that financial details could change the landscape of the relationship. Whatever the root cause, avoiding the conversation doesn't change reality. Regardless of the past, couples need to discuss the financial reality of the present in order to plan successfully for the future."
Financial conversations remain difficult for all generations, but there may be hope that financial discussions are becoming less taboo. According to SunTrust, millennial couples are more willing than other generations to break down the barriers and discuss their finances:
- Debt: Forty-four percent of millennials disclosed their debt compared to 39 percent of Gen X and 33 percent of Boomers.
- Retirement: Millennials are more willing to discuss the amount of money they have saved for retirement (28 percent) than Gen X (18 percent) or Boomers (14 percent).
- Home Buying: Before getting married, 56 percent of millennial couples discussed whether they would rent or buy a home together compared to only 38 and 39 percent of Gen X and Baby Boomers, respectively.
"Millennials are marrying later in life than previous generations," said Sicchitano. "Many of them have accumulated assets and experience managing their finances before marriage, so they bring maturity to discussions that they may not have had at a younger age. Millennials have also come of age with social media and are more accustomed to sharing details about their lives. It's not surprising that this generation is more likely to discuss their finances than prior generations."
SunTrust offers the following tips to help couples engage in the money talk before walking down the aisle:
- Make a "financial registry:" Successfully managing your combined finances starts by conducting a full inventory. Documenting your assets, including checking, savings and retirement accounts, as well as your liabilities, such as student loans, credit card debt and car loans, allows a couple to see where they stand today so they can start to plan for tomorrow. Do the same with your incomes and expenses, asking questions like: What will our combined picture look like? How do we want to make decisions together moving forward?
- Discuss your money goals and challenges: Decide on your agreed-upon priorities before the big day. These can be difficult conversations, but they are important in shaping your financial future. Working with an advisor can often ease the discussion, serving as a neutral party on topics where you may disagree.
- Take baby steps: You don't have to make every financial decision right away. Agreeing on a few financial decisions can start a couple on a path to good financial habits. Whether it's agreeing on annual retirement contributions or saving for a home, planning together allows you to start the marriage with financial confidence.
- Regularly renew your "financial vows:" Make financial discussions a regular part of your lives. Use the time to see how you are tracking against your goals, review priorities and uncover any concerns with your money habits. Schedule these dates as often as you need to stay on track, but at least twice a year.
SunTrust is a purpose-driven company committed to Lighting the Way to Financial Well-Being for the clients and communities it serves.
About SunTrust Banks, Inc.
SunTrust Banks, Inc. (NYSE: STI) is a purpose-driven company dedicated to Lighting the Way to Financial Well-Being for the people, businesses, and communities it serves. SunTrust leads onUp, a national movement inspiring Americans to build financial confidence. Headquartered in Atlanta, the Company has two business segments: Consumer and Wholesale. Its flagship subsidiary, SunTrust Bank, operates an extensive branch and ATM network throughout the high-growth Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states, along with 24-hour digital access. Certain business lines serve consumer, commercial, corporate, and institutional clients nationally. As of September 30, 2018, SunTrust had total assets of $211 billion and total deposits of $160 billion. The Company provides deposit, credit, trust, investment, mortgage, asset management, securities brokerage, and capital market services. Learn more at suntrust.com.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of SunTrust in the fourth quarter of 2018 among 2,018 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,392 have been married, and 1,509 currently have a spouse or partner. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
Joe Sicchitano, Registered Representative, SunTrust Investment Services, Inc. Investment Adviser Representative, SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc.
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SunTrust Private Wealth Management is a marketing name used by SunTrust Bank, SunTrust Delaware Trust Company, SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc., and GFO Advisory Services, LLC which are each affiliates of SunTrust Banks, Inc. Banking and trust products and services, including investment management products and services, are provided by SunTrust Bank and SunTrust Delaware Trust Company. Securities and insurance (including annuities) are offered by SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., a SEC registered broker-dealer, member FINRA, SIPC, and a licensed insurance agency. Investment advisory services are offered by SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc., a SEC registered investment adviser. GFO Advisory Services, LLC is a SEC registered investment adviser that provides investment advisory services to a group of private investment funds and other non-investment advisory services to affiliates. SunTrust personnel are not permitted to give legal or tax advice.
SOURCE SunTrust Banks, Inc.