The OZ

Article - source: The OZ - Ellie Dudley

Who loses when we don't talk about money openly?

14 November 2022

A shocking number of Australians don't regularly discuss their finances with their partner leading to excessive financial stress, new research has revealed.

Half of Australian couples don’t sit down regularly to talk about their finances, and one in three say that money is a source of conflict in their relationship, new research has revealed, as experts sternly encourage couples to have more conversations about their money at home to help ease monetary pressures.

Young women (62%) and full time students (65%) are the groups most stressed about their financial situations, the new research from NAB also reported.

“Money at that age is often the means to an ends,” Mark Baylis, Executive Direct, Personal Banking at NAB told The Oz. “They might be putting yourself through university or starting up a new career which are challenging things to begin with.”

But the research also showed that while young Australians are the most stressed about their money, they are amongst the least willing to talk about it with their partners.

“At that age, you’re coming off that platform of being an individual within your family, to building a new relationship with a partner,” Baylis said. “That’s part of the reason that some of the conversations not happening. Because it’s a new conversation to have.”

One in two men aged 18-29 (53%) said money was a source of stress in their relationship.

Leading Australian psychotherapist Lissy Abrahams said spending time discussing money with a partner is an important and practical way to improve financial health, encouraging Australian couples to spend 45 minutes a month discussing their finances.

“While money is one of the hardest topics to talk about, particularly when in a relationship, it is one of the most important,” Abrahams said.  

“The more we understand where our money beliefs and behaviours have come from, and our partner’s, the better our relationship with money and each other will be.

“We often don’t think twice about spending 45 minutes watching TV or scrolling on social media. Finding that time, be it on a weekend or after work, and putting it in your diary is key.  

“It can be daunting to take the first step, but it’s really beneficial long term for your financial wellbeing and the wellbeing of your relationships.” 

The research also revealed that around 30% of couples had one person who solely looked after the finances without any involvement from their partner. Additionally, 36% said they had very different financial goals from their partner.  

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