The Financial Dark Secrets of Today’s Newlyweds

The Financial Dark Secrets of Today’s Newlyweds

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Newlyweds have money secrets, and lots of them. Well this is creepy news.

By Nicole Buckler

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You have to love it when big, rich techy-type companies do surveys just because they are rich and have enough money to find out stuff that shocks us. Well this is one of those surveys. And it should shock us.

It seems newlyweds are being very cavalier about their financial future.

New research from Experian reveals that many newlyweds are surprised when they find out exactly what their new spouse’s financial situation actually is. Ew.

The survey on behalf of Experian questioned adults who have been newly married within the past year. Experian are a global information services company, with their headquarters in Dublin. In 2015, they were named by Forbes magazine as one of the “World’s Most Innovative Companies.” They employ approximately 17,000 people in 37 countries and their corporate headquarters are in Dublin. Total revenue for 2015 was €4 billion.

Holy Toledo. If a company has this much cash coming in, they may know a thing or two about what to do with money in general.

So Experian wandered around asking newlyweds about the role that credit and finances play in establishing a life together. They also questioned newlyweds about achieving long-term financial goals, such as buying a home.

The results suggest that financial discussions should take place before saying “I do.” In fact, let’s put out a press release about it. It will have the title: HELL NO YOU CAN’T MARRY SOMEONE UNTIL YOU KNOW ABOUT THEIR MONEY STUFF. ALL OF IT.

Because once you are married, their debt is your debt.

Back in the day, both beaus started out with nothing, unless they were royalty marrying to keep their kingdoms in peace and their riches intact. But now, things are waaaay different. Students have access to ridiculous levels of credit, they have wild student debt, and some people have secretly gone on a spending bender and don’t have to pay it back for years. Then, there’s the young go-getter who bought a house at the peak and then found themselves in horrible negative equity 2 years later and still can’t shake off the debt. And this stuff can stay secret for years. It’s like an episode of Post-Boom Fair City – Bankers’ Edition.

“Newlyweds were surprisingly unaware of their spouse’s financial situation before walking down the aisle,” said Rod Griffin, Director of Public Education at Experian. For example, 40 percent of all respondents said they did not even know their spouse’s credit situation before getting married. “In addition, one in three newlyweds reported that their spouse’s spending habits are different than what they expected.” Like when they spend half of their income on stripper shoes, or on having a flutter on the Eurovision outcome, ten times over.

Experian say that many newlyweds are “surprised” by their spouse’s financial situation. Surprise is a nice word, I think they mean ENTIRELY HORRIFIED. The newlyweds surveyed also said that their new spouse’s credit situation was having an impact on the couple’s financial goals. Like eating this week.

The surprises do not stop there. On average, newlywed respondents say they would spend more than €700 without telling their spouse, with men spending significantly more (over €1000), while wives average only around €300 before telling their spouse. In addition, 16 percent of respondents report having a secret financial account that their spouse does not know about (more men than women hide accounts, those dirty butter-fingered bad boys. It’s all a bit gangster-chic for me).

While it seems conversations were not taking place prior to tying the knot, 80 percent of respondents insist that their partner’s credit situation was important. There’s a lot of assuming that “the money situ is okay” going on. When asked what attributes were important in a spouse, 92 percent of survey respondents said financial responsibility. I’m going to interpret this thusly: EVERYONE EXPECTS THE OTHER BEAU TO BE FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE. You are both a feckin mess. Fiancés need to talk finances. Get a bottle of tequila, a large lemon, and get that dirty laundry in the air. RIGHT NOW WHILE THE SUN IS OUT AND IT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO DRY.

According to the findings, the biggest financial goal for newlyweds is saving to buy a home. But 32 percent say their spouse’s credit situation has impacted the ability to secure a home loan. As a result, many couples may have to ask parents to help them out in order to qualify. In fact, 19 percent of respondents already have required a co-signer for a major purchase, such as a home, since getting married.

Says Griffin, “We recommend initiating ‘Finance Fridays’ with your spouse, setting aside time one Friday each month to check your bank accounts and credit cards – together.”

Other key findings:
Before getting married, many respondents also did not know:

  • Their spouse’s annual income (25 percent)
  • Their spouse’s long-term financial goals (31 percent)
  • The amount of their spouse’s student loan debt (31 percent)

Newlyweds’ major concerns about their finances:

  • More than half (56 percent) considered the impact of a spouse’s credit situation before marriage
  • 39 percent say the credit situation is a source of stress in their marriage.
  • Almost a quarter say developing a shared budget is a concern
  • 19 percent say not being able to pay off debt is a concern

Engaged? It’s time to have the talk. Unless you are in such a level of debt that it makes you unmarryable. Then hide it like your life depends on it. Keep that stuff in the dark until you are at least 3 to 4 kids in.

Want to know how credit compatible you and your partner are? Take the credit compatibility quiz.

 

 

 

 

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