You’ve heard time and again that money is the main source of strain in romantic relationships, but just how problematic are finances for couples?
A 2013 study by TD Ameritrade found that couples fight about money five times per year, on average. Interestingly, 40 percent of survey respondents said they do not trust their partners to manage their combined finances fully, yet only 5 percent stated money was an important factor when choosing a partner.
There’s an apparent disconnect between what couples expect from each other financially and how those expectations are communicated. Undoubtedly, much of this arguing and distrust could be eliminated if couples would test their financial compatibility during the early stages of their relationships, rather than ignoring the subject of money until it becomes a source of tension.
That’s why we put together this simple financial compatibility test for couples. Find out if you and your partner are a financial match made in heaven — or a money mess waiting to happen.
Money Quiz: Financial Compatibility Test for Couples
Answer the questions below and keep track of which numbers you select for each. The answer key on the next page will explain what your choices say about your financial compatibility.
How often do the two of you talk about your finances?
- Never – Only one of us is in charge of the household finances so we don’t need to talk about them.
- Rarely – We only talk about money if there’s a problem — and so far, so good.
- Regularly – We maintain a budget and check in to keep each other accountable for sticking to it.
- Constantly – Money is either tight or one of us is not sticking to our budget — either way, finances are a constant topic of conversation.
- Not applicable – We maintain separate finances, so there’s nothing to discuss.
I’m comfortable with how much money my partner spends.
- True, I think – My partner has ups and downs that can mess up our budget every now and then, but overall I think my partner’s spending is okay.
- False – I’d like it if my partner spent less on non-essentials.
- True – When reviewing our finances, it’s clear that my partner is responsible with money.
- False – My partner is a shopaholic and spends way too much!
- Not applicable – It is my partner’s money to spend, I stay out of it.
Do you have financial goals for the future and work as a team to reach them?
- Yes, maybe – We have goals to save for and I’m on track; hopefully, my partner is, too.
- Not really – We set a few goals together, the only problem is one of us is holding us back from reaching them due to overspending or excessive debt.
- Yes, definitely – We decided as a couple what we want to work jointly toward accomplishing financially, and are contributing and tracking progress together.
- No – We never have any money leftover to save, so we haven’t bothered setting any goals yet.
- Not applicable – We spend and save our own money as we see fit — my partner and I don’t share any financial goals.
Do you have any financial secrets that you’re hiding from your partner?
- No – I don’t have any secrets — it’s my partner I’m worried about.
- Yes – Sometimes I hide receipts or lie about how much something cost, but nothing huge.
- No – We talk openly and honestly about money, and consult each other before making any big decisions that could affect us both.
- Yes – I have a load of debt I’m hoping my partner never finds out about.
- Yes – I have my own bank accounts that my partner doesn’t know about — and my partner doesn’t need to know.
Have you saved an emergency fund together?
- I’m not really sure what an emergency fund is — I hope we have one though!
- Yes – We’re working on saving up the first $1,000.
- Yes – We have about three months’ worth of expenses saved in case of a financial emergency.
- No - Between overspending and debt payments, we haven’t come close to starting an emergency fund.
- No – I have plenty of savings in case I need it, but it’s up to my partner to save for his own emergencies.
Overall, I trust my partner to make smart financial decisions.
- Yes – As far as I know, my partner has made good decisions so far.
- Not really – I don’t think I’d be comfortable handing over the finances 100 percent.
- Yes, definitely – We are on the same page when it comes to our money, so I trust my partner’s judgement.
- No way – My partner is a disaster when it comes to managing money.
- No – We keep our finances separate so we don’t have to worry about these things in the first place.
And my partner trusts me, too.
- I’m not sure – I’ve never asked.
- For the most part – I’m pretty good with our money and we rarely argue, so I assume my partner trusts me.
- Yes – Our open communication lets me know my partner trusts me as much as I trust him.
- Probably not – Considering how much we argue about money, I doubt my partner would trust me with the finances.
- Doesn’t matter – It’s not my partner’s concern what I do with my money.