Personal Capital Survey Reveals Love Trumps Money, Money Creates Stress, and Browser Histories are Off Limits in Romantic Relationships
78% of Americans say finding love is more important than being wealthy, yet money is the #1 source of relationship stress
Six in 10 Americans would rather share financial statements with their partners than their browser history
Apr 10, 2018, 09:00 ET
SILICON VALLEY, Calif., April 10, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- A new survey from Personal Capital explores Americans' attitudes about the intersection of love and money, as well as how the sexes think they stack up when it comes to finances. The survey of more than 2,000 Americans revealed that love is vastly more important than money, despite money ultimately being the biggest source of stress in a relationship. While there is a clear consensus that love comes first, the devil is in the details and there are stark differences in perspective between genders and generations.
Love, Money & Browser Histories
Americans overwhelmingly agree that finding love is more important than being wealthy (78 percent versus 22 percent). In fact, finances are barely on the radar when it comes to important traits in a significant other.
Only 9 percent of respondents said they consider financial security among the most important qualities in a potential partner, while 57 percent cite honesty as an important quality. But honesty only goes so far. Most Americans (60 percent) would rather share their financial statements with their romantic partner than their browser history (40 percent).
While both men and women selected love over money, men didn't feel quite as strongly about it:
- Men are significantly more likely than women to say they would rather be wealthy than find true love (26 percent versus 17 percent)
- Sixty-five percent of men would rather share financial statements than internet browser history, compared with 55 percent of women
- However, women are twice as likely as men to say financial security is among the top qualities they look for in a significant other (12 percent versus 6 percent)
While the focus is seemingly elsewhere in the early stages of a relationship, money takes center stage when it comes to sources of stress in more established relationships. In fact, 54 percent of respondents said money is the biggest relationship stressor, followed by communication (26 percent), work (7 percent), in-laws (7 percent) and children (6 percent). Millennials are far less likely to name money as the primary sticking point in relationships than Gen Xers and Boomers (45 percent, 56 percent and 62 percent, respectively).
"Love should be about the heart, not the wallet, but even the strongest romantic bond will sometimes be tested by financial realities," said Michelle Brownstein, CFP(R), Vice President of Private Client Services at Personal Capital. "When it comes to money, men and women often have vastly different attitudes, so couples should have those conversations early in a relationship to build a foundation of trust and honesty. A good first step is to talk about your financial expectations and priorities: Find out if your partner is a spender or a saver, and think about where each of you hope to be in 5, 10 and 20 years."
Breadwinners & Spenders
Traditional gender roles are melting away, as more than half of Americans (54 percent) say they are indifferent about who brings home a bigger paycheck. They also agree that the breadwinner should not have more say in financial decisions (49 percent) than their lower-earning partner. Nearly nine out of ten (89 percent) respondents believe they should consult with their partner before making a financial decision.
Additional findings related to earning and spending money include:
- Millennials are far more likely than Boomers to want their partner to make more than them (32 percent versus 17 percent) and more likely to believe the breadwinner should have more say in financial decisions (33 percent versus 13 percent)
- Millennials are generally more collaborative on purchasing decisions than their older counterparts, with 92 percent saying they should consult with their partner before making a decision
- However, they are less likely than older generations to consult on purchases of $500 or less (56 percent versus 60 percent of Gen X and 58 percent of Boomers)
"Differences between genders and generations underscore the importance of working with an advisor to create a personalized financial plan that changes as your life changes," continued Brownstein. "As couples get older, money becomes a bigger source of stress on the relationship. A good advisor can help people work through their differences and make sure they stay on track through the ups and downs that are part of any relationship."
Battle of the Sexes
Most people say there's no gender advantage when it comes to making good investment decisions. However, a notable minority of men and women were ready to assert their superiority over the other when it comes to money.
- While 71 percent of respondents believe men and women make equally good investment decisions, 23 percent of men and 21 percent of women said people of their own gender are superior investors
- Men and women agree that females are the superior sex when it comes to budgeting, though women think they are more skilled at it than men do (73 percent versus 54 percent)
- The top skill for men was more evenly split, with both sexes agreeing that negotiating (43 percent), making large-scale purchases (35 percent) and investing (34 percent) top the list for men. Only 10 percent of women said budgeting was a top skill for men, while 21 percent of men claimed it as a top skill
- A quarter of men said they prefer to work with a male financial advisor and only 14 percent said they'd prefer to work with a female advisor; while 19 percent of women prefer to work with a female advisor over a male advisor (14 percent). Sixty-four percent of respondents had no preference
For more insights from Personal Capital and to view past surveys, please see here.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by ORC International on behalf of Personal Capital from March 1-7, 2018 among 2,008 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact [email protected].
About Personal Capital
Personal Capital transforms financial lives through technology and people. Free online tools create total clarity with all your accounts in one place. Expert advisors provide unconflicted advice you can easily understand. The result is complete confidence in how you plan for and achieve your financial goals. For more information and to open an account, visit https://www.personalcapital.com/.
SOURCE Personal Capital
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