- Married millennials and Gen Xers are keeping their finances separate from their partner much more often than married baby boomers, and it shows that younger generations are thinking about marriage and finances differently.
- About 37% of millennials and 36% of Gen Xers are keeping their finances separate, while just 27% of baby boomers say the same.
- Combining finances is a choice that’s different for every couple. Experts say staying on the same page as your partner about money is essential, no matter whether you share accounts.
- Read more personal finance coverage.
Marriage doesn’t always mean a joint checking account these days. In fact, many Americans are choosing to keep finances separate after tying the knot.
In an Insider and Morning Consult survey of about 2,000 Americans on their financial habits for the State of Our Money series, one question asked married people whether they kept separate or combined accounts. It was not specified whether respondents were in same or different-sex marriages.
The data found that money in marriage might be changing when when compared to older generations. Overall, 64% of all married people had combined their finances. About 37% of married millennials kept their finances separate from their partner’s, as did about 36% of Gen Xers.
However, only 27% of baby boomers did the same.
The increase in the number of younger Americans who are keeping finances separate hints at just one of the ways marriage and money have changed since the boomers’ generation.
Deciding whether to combine finances is a personal choice
For some couples, keeping finances separate just means that there’s one less source of stress in the relationship. Brandon of the Mad Fientist, 37, and his wife Jill told Business Insider’s Tanza Loudenback that they kept their finances separate for exactly this reason. Jill said, “I think our marriage would have been doomed if we had everything in a joint account. I think that would have caused a lot of arguments.”
Millennials and Gen Xers are already stressed about money within their relationships – about 62% of millennials and 56% of Gen Xers report that money adds stress to their relationship. Sixty-four per cent of boomers say that money isn’t a source of stress in their marriage or relationship.
However, joint accounts make it easy to keep on top of shared financial goals, share in responsibility, and maintain transparency.
Financial therapist Amanda Clayman told Business Insider contributor Caroline Lupini that while separate accounts limit vulnerability, it requires extra work. “With everything separate, there is no structural requirement that you communicate and coordinate,” she said. “You’re less flexible as a team to deal with changes.”
No matter which setup works for your household, you’ll want to be on the same page about money. Financial planner Christine Centeno previously told Business Insider that her favourite sign of couples who are financially in sync is a simple spreadsheet.
“They have both gone through this spreadsheet,” she said. “They have all the numbers and they’re like, ‘here’s what we want to do.'”
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