[Study] 50% of couples share their debt


No matter how old you are or what your romantic life looks like, financial issues are likely to impact your relationship in both large and small ways. Money can be an uncomfortable conversation topic to broach with a partner, especially early on in a relationship, but getting on the same page as your significant other about key financial issues is crucial to your financial health and well-being for the long term.

Today, many couples are waiting longer to tie the knot and engaging in different types of relationships than they did in the past. Today’s couples are more likely to live together before getting married and to spend more time getting to know romantic prospects before settling down.

No matter what your relationship status is, if you are sharing your day-to-day life with someone it’s crucial to get on the same page about how you’ll manage both daily spending and big-picture financial issues. We surveyed 1,500 Americans and found that:

  • 1 in 4 couples split their finances evenly with their partner, and 1 in 2 share their account completely.
  • Half would split their debt with their partners, and half would share their bank accounts with their partner.
  • 40 percent of couples talk about finances weekly, and up to 30 percent discuss finances daily.

When asked how respondents and their significant others split finances, our results showed that “what’s mine is yours” rings true for most people when it comes to splitting your day-to-day finances with your romantic partner. 55 percent of survey respondents said they share everything with their partner, which is somewhat surprising given respondents were both married and unmarried. 25 percent of respondents stated that they follow an even split approach, showing that a quarter of Americans take a truly egalitarian approach to the financing decisions that they make with their partners.

We found that those ages 65+ are the most likely to share everything with their significant other at 46 percent, while those ages 18–24 are the least likely at 22 percent. This finding is likely due to the fact that younger people are less likely to be in serious relationships in which they feel comfortable sharing all assets. Younger individuals are also much less likely to be married, an additional factor that likely lowers the number of millennials who choose to split their finances evenly with a partner.

When asked whether they share a bank account with their significant other, there was a fairly even split among survey respondents. Slightly more people answered “yes” at 53 percent versus 47 percent of respondents who answered “no.” We found that people ages 65+ are the most likely of any age to have a joint bank account at 45 percent. Those ages 18–24 are the most likely to say that they do not have a joint bank account, a finding that is understandable given that even married Millennials are choosing to keep separate bank accounts, often due to a desire to maintain greater independence than previous generations.

Those 45 and older are more likely to share their bank account with their significant other than younger demographics. This finding is likely due to the fact that those with more life experience feel more comfortable with their financial life and are therefore more open to sharing their finances with their life partner. This decision is also likely based on generational factors, as studies show that Millennials are often more cautious with their money in general which likely impacts their desire to pool funds with their partner.

When asked if they shared debts with their significant other, we found an even 50-50 split in response. While we can’t be certain of the exact reasons why this split exists, the data was likely impacted by the fact that some survey respondents were married, while others were not. Those that are married are much more likely to share both debts and assets, while those that live with their partner or are dating more casually are likely to be more cautious before agreeing to take on the financial burden of shared debts.

We found that those most likely to share debts with their partner are typically ages 45–55. This finding makes sense, as those in this age group are the most likely to be married or in another form of stable life partnership. On the flip side, those younger than 44 were much less likely to share debts with a partner. As the average marriage age continues to rise, it’s likely that people will continue putting off sharing debts with a significant other to avoid unwanted financial risks, especially given that the average Millennial has $30,000 of debt from student loans.

Regardless of how exactly they split their finances, we found that most couples talk about money together weekly, at 40 percent. Though there was a fairly even split of ages who said that they talk about finances weekly, those ages 35–44 were the most likely to answer this way at 29 percent. Those ages 45–54 are the most likely to talk about their finances daily at 22 percent, which makes sense given this demographic is also the most likely to share debt and assets, resulting in greater need to check in about spending habits.

Our study found that overall age made the largest impact on how a couple shares and views their collective finances. Those that are older and more established are much more likely to have joint accounts and share debts and assets, while younger Millennials are much more likely to keep their financial lives fairly separate from their significant others.

Additionally, we found that older demographics are much more likely to talk about money with their partners more frequently, which makes sense given that financial issues seem to more directly impact their partnership than in other age groups. Regardless of how you choose to manage your money within your partnership, sharing your spending habits and financial goals with your significant other will help you maintain a strong financial life, no matter what your relationship status looks like.