Magazine article ADWEEK

Fighting over Finances

Magazine article ADWEEK

Fighting over Finances

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Sure, two can live as cheaply as one--but only if one of the two isn't stupid about money. American Express/Echo Research polling finds many couples differing about how to manage their household finances, and suffering considerable stress in the process.

Conducted last month among adults who are married or living with a partner, the survey found 48 percent of respondents saying they argue with their mate about financial matters. The leading topic of such arguments is the partner's "frivolous spending" (13 percent)--a far more common bone of contention, of course, than "my frivolous spending" (5 percent).

That skew is reflected in the findings when respondents were asked to say which member of the couple" (if either) deserves to be labeled as the "spender" (leaving aside joint household expenditures). Forty percent said their partner is the spender in the family, vs. 22 percent pointing to themselves (with the rest saying the two don't differ in this respect). Likewise, 50 percent identified themselves as the better of the two when it comes to "managing household finances," vs. 19 percent crediting their partner with that status.

How much money must be involved in a purchase before it merits a consultation between the partners? On average, a $275 price tag triggers discussion. But that's assuming one member of the couple isn't buying something on the sly. Thirty percent of respondents confessed to having hidden a purchase from their significant other; 27 percent have "misrepresented" the price of something they bought; 16 percent maintain a secret account or credit card. …

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