You’ve heard time and again that money is the number one source of strain in romantic relationships, but just how problematic are finances for couples?
A 2013 study by TD Ameritrade found couples fight about money five times per year, on average.
Interestingly, 40 percent of survey respondents said they do not trust 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 (1-5) 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?
1. Never – Only one of us is in charge of the household finances so we don’t need to talk about them.
2. Rarely – We only talk about money if there’s a problem — and so far, so good.
3. Regularly – We maintain a budget and check in to keep each other accountable for sticking to it.
4. Constantly – Money is either tight, or one of us is not sticking to our budget — either way, finances are a constant topic of conversation.
5. Not applicable – We maintain separate finances, so there’s nothing to discuss.
I’m comfortable with how much money my partner spends.
1. True, I think – He/she has ups and downs that can mess up our budget every now and then, but overall I think my partner’s spending is okay.
2. False – I’d like it if my partner spent less on non-essentials.
3. True – When reviewing our finances, it’s clear he/she is responsible with money.
4. False – He/she is a shopaholic and spends way too much!
5. Not applicable – It is his/her money to spend — I stay out of it.
Have you set financial goals for the future and are working as a team to reach them?
1. Yes, maybe – We have goals to save for and I’m on track; hopefully, my partner is, too.
2. 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.
3. Yes, definitely – We decided as a couple what we want to work jointly toward accomplishing financially, and are contributing and tracking progress together.
4. No – We never have any money leftover to save, so we haven’t bothered setting any goals yet.
5. 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?
1. No – I don’t have any secrets — it’s my partner I’m worried about.
2. Yes – Sometimes I hide receipts or lie about how much something cost, but nothing huge.
3. No – We talk openly and honestly about money, and consult each other before making any big decisions that could affect us both.
4. Yes – I have a load of debt I’m hoping my partner won’t find out about.
5. Yes – I have my own bank accounts that my partner doesn’t know about — and they don’t need to know.
Have you saved an emergency fund together?
1. I’m not really sure what an emergency fund is — I hope we have one though!
2. Yes – We’re working on saving up the first $1,000.
3. Yes – We have about three months’ worth of expenses saved in case of a financial emergency.
4. No - Between overspending and debt payments, we haven’t come close to starting an emergency fund.
5. No – I have plenty of savings in case I need it, but it’s up to my partner to save for their own emergencies.
Overall, I trust my partner to make smart financial decisions.
1. Yes – As far as I know, he/she has been making good decisions so far.
2. Not Really – I don’t think I’d be comfortable handing over the finances 100 percent.
3. Yes, Definitely – We are on the same page when it comes to our money, so I trust my partner’s judgement.
4. No Way – My partner is a disaster when it comes to managing money.
5. 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.
1. I’m not sure – I’ve never asked.
2. For the most part – I’m pretty good with our money and we rarely argue, so I assume my partner trusts me.
3. Yes – Our open communication lets me know my partner trusts me as much as I trust him/her.
4. Probably not – Considering how much we argue about money, I doubt my partner would trust me with the finances.
5. Doesn’t matter – It’s not my partner’s concern what I do with my money.
Which number did you chose most often?
Mostly #1: Clueless
Are you financially compatible? Who knows!? You take the “ignorance is bliss” approach to your finances.
If you want to ensure you are a fit financially, it’s time to sit down and get on the same page about money. Discuss how you both approach money management, your strengths and weaknesses, your goals and concerns, then devise a budget and individual responsibilities.
Mostly #2: Room for Improvement
There aren’t any big, glaring money issues between the two of you, but there could be potential problems down the road.
Remember, conversations about money don’t have to happen only when something’s wrong; set aside time to review your financial situation with your partner on a regular basis.
This will ensure you are both happy with where the household finances stand, and give you the chance to talk about areas for improvement before they blow up into major issues.
Mostly #3: A Perfect Match
You two understand and share each other’s goals and values when it comes to money. Communication is open and you both take responsibility for your finances.
Mostly #4: Financial Disaster
Your financial situation is a mess, and you’re both responsible. Whether you’re the one with spending problems or simply don’t speak up when your partner’s actions upset you, things can only get worse from here.
Don’t let them — it may be a good idea to see a financial planner or marriage counselor who can help you two sort things out and get on the right track with your money.
Mostly #5: Financially Uncommitted
The two of you lead financially independent lives. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially for couples who are not married, though some married couples choose to keep separate finances as well.
However, it’s important to at least talk about money and understand each other’s financial habits and goals, just in case you someday choose get married or merge finances, or face a situation that requires a joint financial decision (such as a home purchase or medical emergency) and can handle it with ease.
“Take the Financial Compatibility Quiz for Couples: How Do You Match Up?” was provided by GoBankingRates.com.