New Survey: Money and Relationships -- It's Complicated

Aspiration recently surveyed Americans on their attitudes towards money and relationships. Income is a relatively uncomfortable topic for many, although there's a sizable group of people who think money is something that just has to be part of that early relationship chemistry.

While 92% of American adults with significant others talk to them about finances, there's a lot less sharing happening in some areas.

  • Only half of men (52%) tell their partner how much money they make, compared to 60% of women
  • 1 in 5 (19%) American adults do not tell anyone how much money they make
  • Men are slightly more likely to be secretive about their income, with 21% of them saying they do not tell anyone versus 18% of women
  • 14% of American adults tell their parents
  • Millennials (ages 18 - 34) are more likely than average to share their income information with their parents -- 23% say they do
  • 1 in 10 (9%) American adults tell their best friend
  • Men are more likely to discuss their income with their best friends, with 12% of men saying they do (compared to 8% of women)
  • Only 1% of American adults tell their coworkers

The most common time when American adults think it’s appropriate to discuss how much money they make with their significant other is when they move in together (41% of respondents said that’s the best time).

  • Women feel more strongly about this being the best time, with 45% of them saying it’s best versus 34% of men
  • Millennials are more likely than average to say moving in is the best time to discuss incomes, with 53% saying it’s best
  • One-third (31%) of American adults think couples should discuss income in the first few months of the relationship
  • More men feel this way than women -- 35% of men said this was the best time versus 29% of women
  • 15% of American adults think couples should wait until they get engaged to discuss income
  • 12% of American adults think couples should wait until they get married to discuss income
  • 2% of American adults think couples should never discuss income with their significant others

Most people seemed inclined to think rationally about splitting expenses:

  • Half (50%) of American adults think married or cohabiting couples should split expenses based on percentage of income
  • 45% think couples should split expenses equally
    Millennials are more likely than average to be in favor of an equal split, with 50% of them saying expenses should be split equally and 45% saying they should be divided according to income
  • 5% think the partner who makes more money should pay for everything

Earning disparities did seem to be a big factor with some people.

  • 12% of American adults said it would change their opinion of their significant other if they found out their partner made significantly more or less money than they did
  • Millennials are more likely to care about this, with 17% of them saying it would change their opinion

Survey was run February 5th, 2018, with a sample size of 725 with estimated error of +/- 3.5%.

Andrei Cherny