How do financial conversations influence relationships?

How do financial conversations influence relationships?

According to the survey "Domestic budget of Polish couples” carried out at the request of the KRUK Group, one fifth of Poles have a very individual approach to spending money. They do not take into account the needs of their partner. However, we are aware that lack of communication about our joint finances can result in a serious relationship crisis. This is the opinion of 71 per cent of respondents.

As the survey of the KRUK Group shows, conflicts arise especially when our significant other spends beyond their means (this the opinion of 33 per cent of respondents). One in five respondents do not talk with their partner about their expenditure. Concealing information about incurred expenses resulted in a crisis in 38 per cent of marriages and 45 per cent of informal relationships. The third most common cause of relationship crisis is investing joint savings independently, without consulting it with your partner (13 per cent of respondents).

Discussing finances in relationship is not one of the most pleasant conversations, but avoiding this topic is definitely a worse solution. Financial misunderstandings may lead to arguments (opinion of 65 per cent of respondents), loss of trust (43 per cent of respondents) and even to a relationship breakdown (this was the opinion of 31 per cent of respondents).

Living with someone under one roof means you are both responsible for paying various bills on time, such as rent, electricity or gas bills. However, 60 per cent of respondents state that it is them, not their partner, who pay the monthly bills.

The survey of the KRUK Group also shows that Polish couples who live in marriage relationships decide to sign agreements for the telephone, TV and Internet together (61 per cent). Nearly 33 per cent of respondents decide for a joint consumer loan or credit facility, and nearly 19 per cent of couples take out a mortgage.

Respondents who are in informal relationships share household devices agreements more often than people in formal relationships (65 compared with 57 per cent) and have a joint consumer credit facility (35 compared with 30 per cent).

- As the results of our survey show, sincere conversation about finances and setting domestic financial rules together has a great impact on strengthening our relationships. The possibility of using individual bank accounts creates an opportunity to conceal your real income or keep your expenses secret from  your partner –  says Agnieszka from the KRUK Group.

Only 55 per cent of couples have a joint bank account with their partner, and more than 90 per cent of respondents also have an individual bank account apart from that.

Comment of Mateusz Ostrowski – a psychotherapist

As the survey ‘Domestic budget of Polish couples’ shows, one of the main problems in relationships is the feeling that our partner spends money beyond their means. In this case, it is worth trying to understand the point of view of the other, the fact that everyone has their needs. Sometimes our criticism of our partner’s expenditure is a voice of common sense, but sometimes it might be a question of different priorities. When running domestic finances, it is important to remember about partnership, and this must, of course, be independent of the amount of money each person contributes to the joint budget. There is no place here for distinction into the better and worse ones, the more and less important ones.

A lack of sincere conversation and leaving all decisions to only one partner may indicate certain problems – starting from economic violence, ending at giving up the responsibility for your own life and leaving it to the other person. Of course, assigning the responsibility for financial decision to one person might be a conscious choice, it does not always mean that we’re avoiding some kind of difficulty, but if this really is so, is a question that everyone has to honestly answer themselves.

Before a serious conversation takes place, let’s plan it well, let’s set the rules. Let’s think about the ways of discussing things that we do not agree to and about how we would like the difficult things to be said. Setting the rules of the games like that helps. When we’re moving on to the core of the problem, let’s think what emotional needs make us, say, buy another unnecessary thing. In the same way we should consider why we do not take our partner into account when taking financial decisions. Let’s answer ourselves to the question: how do we feel then? What are our needs? What do we really expect from our partner? Of course, we should not forget that, if we are to understand each other better, we need to listen to the other person and to what they say about their feelings. And we should relate to these feelings, not to our assumptions about them.

*Survey carried out by SW Research on the request of the KRUK Group, on a sample group of 1000 adult Poles (50 per cent in marriage relationships and 50 per cent in informal relationships), using mixed CATI and CAWI interviewing.

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