Marriage is still a preferred choice for couples in the U.S., but when it comes to what can fray a relationship, a new survey from Ally Bank – the unit of Ally Financial Inc. (ALLY), which also operates Ally Invest – found that money was mostly to blame.
Ally polled 1,400 Americans 18 and older who are married or in a serious relationship and found that 36% cited money as the cause of stress in their relationships. Those between the ages of 18 and 54 were twice as likely to name money as the main stressor than those over the age of 55. Americans who are in a serious relationship but not married cited money as the leading cause of stress slightly more than married couples, coming in at 38% compared with 36% for the latter group. Health came in second place, with 17% citing it as the main cause of stress in their relationships. Family was also a culprit for stress, with 13% of couples blaming that for any strife.
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"Marriage is a joyous event, but like any important milestone in life, planning is the key to success, especially when it comes to personal finances," said Diane Morais, president of Consumer and Commercial Banking Products for Ally Bank, in a press release announcing the results of its survey. "Open communication between the partners about how to spend and save money together can help establish a solid financial footing. It also is important to choose the right banking partner to achieve both short- and long-term financial goals."
According to Ally, for newly married people or those in serious relationships, one of the ways to alleviate any money stress is to decide in the beginning how to split the bills, come up with a budget and handle the finances. Another survey conducted by Ally found that four in ten married couples share all income and expenses, while one in four split household bills and one in five keep all income and expenses separate.
For younger couples, managing money within the relationship isn't the only thing that's worrying them. A survey conducted by the fintech in November found many Americans are intimidated by the thought of investing in the stock market. The survey found that three in five Americans said that they know they need to be more financially secure but don't know how to get there. When adding those aged 18 to 39 into the mix, that number increased to 70%.
Ally Invest also found that 61% of adults in the U.S. said that investing in the stock market is "scary or intimidating." Millennials were the most likely to feel intimidated by stock market investing when compared with the older Gen Xers and baby boomers. The firm also found that more than half of survey respondents, or 52%, said they will begin to invest or invest more in the stock market but not at the current time.