Sharing the Purse Strings: The new dynamics of joining finances in relationships

Credit Karma survey finds the new dynamics of joining finances in relationships

October 7, 2015

San Francisco -

In July 2015, along with research company Qualtrics, Credit Karma surveyed 500 Millennials (ages 18-34) and 500 Baby Boomers (ages 50-65) in America to compare their beliefs and behaviors towards building a future and sharing their finances with another person.

As Millennial couples move in together and join finances before tying the knot, marriage no longer represents as much of a lifestyle change

  • Millennials are more likely to have lived together to their wedding day than Baby Boomers. Over 80 percent of Millennial couples say they lived together before marriage, compared to 57 percent of Baby Boomers.
  • Among the couples of both generations that had lived together before marriage, Millennial couples had cohabitated for a much longer time than Baby Boomers. Millennial couples were nearly twice as likely to have lived together for over a year before marriage.
  • Half of Millennials had joined their finances prior to exchanging wedding vows, either combining their accounts entirely or sharing at least one bank account, while two-thirds of Baby Boomers had no joint account prior to marriage.
  • Before saying “I do,” Millennials were 50 percent more likely than Baby Boomers to split all of their finances evenly. Furthermore, getting married had little impact on how Millennials divided their bills
  • Couples of both generations were less likely to share a credit card than a bank account, both before and after marriage. Sixty-four percent of Millennials and 83 percent of Baby Boomers had no shared cards prior to their wedding day. About one third of married couples in each generation still don’t share a credit card.

Financial Skeletons: Married couples are sharing finances but keeping secrets

  • The majority of couples from both generations said that they felt the need to check in with their spouse before making major purchases. More than 50 percent of all couples said they would check in with their spouse before spending $100 or more.
  • Yet, 15 percent of Baby Boomers and 17 percent of Millennials said they hid purchases from their spouse.
  • More than 10 percent of Millennials said they had a bank account or credit card their spouse wasn’t aware of.

Credit Score Shyness: Married couples are revealing a lot of other information with each other before sharing their credit score

  • Millennials were more likely to know how many sexual partners their spouse has had than what their credit score was.
  • In contrast, Baby Boomers were more likely to know their spouse’s credit score than how many notches their spouse has in their bedpost.
  • Despite the massive impact of credit scores on a person’s financial life, married couples from both generations were more likely to know their spouse’s salary, weight and how they liked their eggs than their credit score.

Not That Different After All: Millennial and Baby Boomer couples have more in common than some would guess

  • Millennials and Baby Boomers had nearly identical attitudes toward managing finances as a couple. Over 80 percent of both Millennials and Baby Boomers discussed finances before tying the knot and over 80 percent of both groups discuss finances regularly.
  • More than 70 percent of Millennials and Baby Boomers surveyed felt that buying a home was a marker of financial success.
  • Eighteen percent of Millennial couples and Baby Boomer couples confessed to finding it difficult to talk about finances with their spouse.


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