Nearly four-in-ten of survey respondents reported that their spouse or partner makes them feel guilty about their monthly spending.
Money is one of the primary sources of friction between couples, but when do disagreements over personal finance and conflicting attitudes toward money become financial bullying? A new Credit Karma survey identifies signs of financial bullying and its impact.
Credit Karma defines financial bullying as one who “intimidates and manipulates their partners by controlling all of the household finances” Does your partner allow you to shop on your own? Does he or she allow you to have credit cards? Does your partner make you feel guilty about your spending habits? These are just a few of the behaviors that identify a financial bully.
The Credit Karma survey found that on average, committed American adults are on good financial terms with their spouse or partner, but one-in-ten classified their significant other as a “financial bully:” Who is most likely to be a victim?
· Millennials are three times as likely to say they are fincnailly bullied than Baby Boomers (19 percent vs. 6 percent)
· Those with children under the age of 18 in the household are more likely to classify their spouse or partner as a bully than those who do not live with their children (18 perent vs. 7 percent)
· Nearly one-fourth (22 percent) of married Millennials said they would get a divorce “if money were no object.”
Gender is not a factor in who is a financial bully, the Credit Karma survey found, but Milennial men were most likely to report being financially bullied than their female counterparts. How were respondents financially bullied?:
· Makes me feel guilty about my shopping habits (37 percent)
· Limits my monthly spending (34 percent)
· Makes me show receipts for all purchases (20 percent)
· Gives me an allowance/limits my spending (18 percent)
· Keep sme from having credit cards (17 percent)
· Doesn’t let me shop by myself (11 percent)
· Forces me to use coupons (8 percent)
“Financial bullying is an indicator of a lack of trust,” observes Rachel Sussman, a relationship expert and therapist working with Credit Karma. “Open communication and honesty need to be the foundation of all healthy relationships.”
A financially healthy marriage begins with open communication, according to a 2012 survey of Millionaire households conducted by Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner. More than three-fourths (77 percent) recommended that before couples enter into a committed relationship they should have an open discussion about money in which they outline their financial goals, expectations and values.
Just over one-third (36 percent) said that partners should check each other’s credit score and debt level before entering into a committed relationship to determine whether a prospective life partner uses credit responsibly.
Millionaires surveyed differed over the issue of pooling financial resources. About 36 percent said it promoted a financially healthy marriage, while 19 percent said they would opt for keeping accounts separate.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.