Americans in a relationship are talking openly about their finances before saying “I love you.”
According to a new study by Life Happens, the national nonprofit educating consumers about the importance of life insurance in a sound financial plan, 74% of respondents said it took them between one and eight months to be comfortable talking about their finances with their partner, while in that same period, only 42% would say “I love you.” This may indicate that the traits Americans prioritize in a partner are changing.
The survey “For Love and Money” also revealed that financial security (42%) is one of the top three most attractive traits in a partner, along with a sense of humor (44%) and intelligence (44%).
For Life Happens’ annual Insure Your Love campaign this February, the survey asked 2,000 Americans in a relationship how finances factor into their relationship. Results showed that 77% of respondents agreed that relationships no longer need to have one “breadwinner,” and eight in 10 Americans agreed it has become more socially acceptable for women to earn more than their male partners.
Falling head over heels
Perhaps it’s because of the pandemic, but Americans seem to be moving more quickly in their relationships. This is evidenced by individuals having serious conversations early on. According to the survey, 70% said they discussed or are planning to discuss getting married less than a year into a relationship. While the future is on their mind, 64% agree that they are more comfortable talking about finances than talking about children.
Money before marriage
Before tying the knot, those in a relationship feel it’s acceptable to talk about debt (68%) and joint bank accounts (68%). They are also looking to the future, with half of people saying that it’s also the right time to talk about life insurance (51%) and wills/end-of-life planning (50%). “Over the past two decades, we’ve seen a shift with a growing number of Americans, particularly younger generations, being more comfortable discussing finances,” said Faisa Stafford, President and CEO of Life Happens. “These conversations are often the first step for people to feel secure both in their relationship and financially. In fact, 59% of people would feel more secure if they discussed getting life insurance with their partner.”
Splitting the bill
In the initial stages of a relationship, 38% of those surveyed say they should split everything evenly – with this being particularly true among the Millennial (41%) and Gen Z (41%) generations. However, 31% believe that the partner making more money should pay for most things in a relationship. Males, in particular, agree with this statement (39%) compared to females (25%).
Put your money where your mouth is
Despite the expedited timelines around financial-focused conversations in relationships, Americans are still hesitant to talk about certain topics. The survey found that the most taboo topics to talk about with your partner were prenups (31%), joint bank accounts (21%) and taking on each other’s debt (18%). The least taboo financial topic was life insurance (2%), with 65% of respondents saying they were comfortable speaking with their current partner about it.
Show (rather than tell) your love
So much about Americans’ lives have changed over the last two years, including how we show our love. When asked about the ways they show their love to their partners, the top responses were listening (39%) and making time to be with them (35%). Additionally, when asked what financial decisions would describe or demonstrate their love to someone, responses included:
- Saving for a home (44%)
- Paying down mutual debt (41%)
- Saving for a child’s/children’s college fund (40%)
- Saving your partner money (39%)
- Purchasing a life insurance policy (36%)
- Making end-of-life plans (35%)
“I encourage Americans to show their love beyond words,” continued Stafford. “One way of doing this is by taking control of your finances, and this includes purchasing a life insurance policy to ensure your loved ones are protected financially if anything ever happens to you.”
In support of this message, Life Happens has launched its annual Insure Your Love campaign focused on motivating people to purchase life insurance to protect their loved ones financially. To take action for loved ones, Life Happens has a free Life Insurance Needs Calculator to help people evaluate their own life insurance needs.