Love, Money and the Generational Divide

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BeFrugal’s Valentine’s Day Survey reveals new insights into couples and finances

A new survey by BeFrugal explores the role of finances in romantic relationships. By the time a couple has gotten married, almost all (94% of Americans) have become comfortable sharing their financial status with their partner. However, the path towards marriage is filled with milestones and when it comes to money, varying degrees of openness. Interestingly, those paths look quite different for millennials vs. baby boomers.

Money talks, but do couples?

At the beginning of a relationship, survey data suggests baby boomers are less likely than millennials to talk money. On a first date, more millennials are comfortable sharing financial status than baby boomers (9% vs. 1%). At the two year mark, those numbers only increase slightly (12% vs. 7%).

First comes love…

As a relationship gets serious, millennials may turn a blind eye to finances. When looking for clues about the spending and saving habits of someone they’re dating, three in five (58%) baby boomers consider a date’s vehicle as a clue to saving and spending habits, compared to only 41% of millennials. Similarly, 55% of baby boomers see a partner’s home as a clue to habits, versus only 38% of millennials. These trends continued for other indicators, such as a person’s clothing or number of credit cards.

Upon getting engaged, nearly a quarter (23%) of baby boomers would feel comfortable disclosing details on finance, but only 9% of millennials agree. In terms of sharing significant financial information, 53% of baby boomers want extensive details before marriage – including revealing each other’s spending habits, income, retirement plans, net worth, savings, investments and debt. Only 33% of millennials want that same level of disclosure.

‘Till Debt Do Us Part

Financial transparency might make for a happier relationship down the road. Millennials (28%) are more worried than baby boomers (17%) that their significant other may not have the same spending or saving habits. In fact, 27 % of millennials have either hidden an expensive purchase from a partner, looked at a partner’s financial information without permission or broken up due to different spending habits. Only 14% of baby boomers admitted to having one of those concerns.

With age comes wisdom, or a societal shift?

Where baby boomers conduct due diligence early on and offer financial transparency as a relationship gets serious, millennials are less likely to look for full financial disclosure before marriage. Do Americans treat relationships differently as they get older, or is the data indicative of a shift in how society is viewing love and money?

For more information about BeFrugal’s Valentine’s Day Survey or to learn how you can save money and earn cash back, visit

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About the Survey
The BeFrugal Valentine's Day 2016 Survey was conducted by Kelton Global between January 25th and February 1st, 2016 among 1,017 nationally representative Americans 18+, using an e-mail invitation and an online survey. Quotas are set to ensure a reliable representation of the U.S. population 18 and over.

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Alicia DeMartini
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