If communicating openly about money is the cornerstone of a healthy marriage, how on earth do we explain these survey results?
In a study of over 1,000 couples, Fidelity Investments asked people how much their partner earns.
Surprisingly, more than 40 percent couldn’t answer correctly.
One in 10 were off the mark by more than $25,000, and that could be the sign of a big problem.
“If you don’t have a handle on how much your household earns, it can be hard to feel in control of your spending,” writes Ben Steverman of Bloomberg Business. That’s a critical issue since more than half of all people fear outliving their savings.
When asked in the Fidelity study how much they will need to save to maintain their current lifestyle in retirement, nearly half of those surveyed said they had “no idea”—and 47% were in disagreement about the amount needed.
“Without a clear picture of their finances now, it can be impossible for couples to plan well for the future,” adds Steverman.
And that financial picture is getting less clear over time. Just two years ago, 27% of couples misjudged their partner’s income. Now, that figure has climbed to 43%.
That could be because more American workers work multiple or freelance jobs, have variable income, or rely on discretionary bonuses to make ends meet. That makes for a more opaque – and potentially wobblier – financial foundation.
The Takeaway: Even if one partner handles the day-to-day finances, both should have a good idea of what they make, spend, save, and invest. Schedule time to review, as a couple, your financial picture and overall net worth to ensure you’re both on the same page.