May 20, 2011 9:19 am
RISMEDIA, May 20, 2011-With wedding season upon us, many couples will focus on the transition from the single to married life, but not everyone is focusing on the financial aspect of that change. According to a new COUNTRY Financial survey, only half (51 percent) of couples addressed how they would manage their collective finances before marriage. Despite this, 86 percent of all married Americans reported being honest with their spouses about their financial state during their engagement.
When deciding on a money management style, 71 percent of couples elect to manage their finances completely joint. Another 21 percent take a partially joint approach. Eight percent keep their money completely separate. Just 26 percent say the transition from handling money matters alone to handling them together was difficult.
"Finances can cause friction in a marriage. It's important to maintain open communication and be on the same page before and during marriage, especially in uncertain economic times," says Keith Brannan, vice president of Financial Security planning. "Couples should determine who will be paying the bills and what type of accounts they will have. They should also outline a budget of their combined income and expenses."
Marriage timing affects financial transition
Couples married prior to the recession are more united in their financial matters and find joint money management less challenging than those married during or after the recession.
Seventy-three percent of couples married before December 2007 have completely joint finances compared to just 56 percent of those married after.
Those married prior to the recession found it significantly less difficult to transition to handling finances together than those married during or after (24 percent vs. 38 percent).
Despite having a more challenging transition, 66 percent of couples married during or after the recession discussed how they would manage their money before marriage. That is 17 percent higher than those married before the economic downturn.
Recession puts a strain on many couples' marriages
Nearly one in three (31 percent) couples say the recent economic downturn put a strain on their marriage.
Just 24 percent of those who worked with a financial planner say the recession put a strain on their marriage, compared to 35 percent of those who did not consult a planner.
Younger age groups were more likely to feel the strain of recent economic conditions. Forty-three percent of those 18- to 29-years-old say they felt a strain from the recession. That number is at least five points higher than any other age group.
To access video interviews about the latest COUNTRY Index data please visit www.countryfinancialsecurityindex.com.
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