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Money and relationships

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Money and relationships

How Kiwi relationships are affected by money

If you’ve ever been in a long-term relationship, then it’s likely that at some point in that relationship you’ve disagreed about money.

Even minor money issues, like paying bills, can lead to conflict in a household. Recently we conducted some research into this, which found that household finances were a source of tension for just over half (52%) of New Zealanders in a relationship.

Hamish McKegg, head of RaboDirect, says this tension can come about due to a lack of planning around a couple’s shared finances. “Often people fail to recognise that money carries huge emotional weight, and planning and communicating about it in relationships is key” he says.

Finding a happy medium with money
Money management can get tricky in any relationship, particularly if partners have vastly different priorities or spending habits. Our survey showed that 38 per cent of Kiwi women and 28 per cent of Kiwi men in relationships have hidden spending from their partner.

While there’s nothing wrong with having some different spending desires, whether your wish list includes a new car, shoes, sports gear or even a night on the town, discussing major spending decisions openly and honestly helps mitigate conflict.

On the flipside, hiding spending, even minor purchases, is a lost opportunity to learn how each partner values money, their savings habits, and the things they want to use it for.

Many couples can find it difficult to talk about their financial differences in a calm and open- manner, which leads to increased stress and anxiety. In fact, 22 per cent of Kiwis confessed that their financial situation keeps them up at night, with this rising to 29 per cent amongst those who thought their financial position may get worse in the coming year.

There are differences in values in every relationship. But honesty is always the best policy to helping overcome these – and money matters are no different.

Some tips for effective money management in a relationship:

  1. Understand - have a firm understanding of how your partner values money
  2. Plan together - create a clear plan showing your joint and separate purchasing habits, and formulate a means for saving for financial goals (both shared and separate)
  3. Communicate – honesty is the best policy when it comes to discussing money matters and can help to build financial stability and trust within a relationship 

To learn more about the other findings of our research, click here.