MCLEAN, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The holiday shopping, entertaining and travel season is nearly upon us, and for many couples, holiday expenses can trigger financial anxieties. According to a new survey from Capital One Financial Corporation (NYSE:COF) examining the financial habits of couples, most (55%) of those surveyed have not yet discussed a budget with their partner or spouse for holiday shopping and just over half (51%) report that they have not set aside money to spend on holiday gifts. While not discussing budgets or setting aside money for gifts could lead to squabbles, the majority (78%) of people surveyed say that they generally agree with their partner on how much to spend on holiday gifts. Of those who do not agree on holiday spending, a larger number of women admit they would like to spend more on gifts than their spouse.
“The holidays can be a hectic time, but it’s important that couples remember to talk to one another about their finances and set financial goals together during this season to prevent any added stress or disagreements,” said Shelley Solheim, Director of Financial Education, Capital One. “Holiday anxiety can take a toll on relationships, but there are steps couples can take together, such as deciding on a budget for gifts before going shopping, that will help ease financial tensions during the holidays and beyond.”
The survey also examined the everyday savings and financial practices of couples. Experts stress that it is critical for couples to discuss savings and financial goals regularly, and the vast majority (93%) of those surveyed believe that their partner or spouse is open to discussing money issues.
Though most couples report that they are having important conversations about savings and budgeting, disagreements do arise. One quarter (25%) of people surveyed say they disagree with their partner about money monthly or more. Nearly one-third (29%) of respondents also report that they have argued with their partner about money in the last year. The survey found that younger people (18-34) are more prone to conflicts with their partner about money: 36 percent disagree with their partner about money monthly or more often, while 65 percent of those between 18-24 and 41 percent of those between 25-34 report that they have argued about money during the last 12 months.
“It's not whether couples disagree about money that makes them happy together or not,” said Gregory A. Kuhlman, a New York City psychologist who runs stayhitched.com, a marriage success program, with his wife, social worker Patricia Kuhlman. “All couples have many important areas of difference, often including finances. It's how couples manage all their differences that will determine whether disagreements lead to trouble. Happier couples work together as a team to handle any financial tensions in ways that don't spill over to affect the overall emotional climate of their relationship.”
The survey also found that three-quarters (76%) of those surveyed believe they share the same philosophy as their partner when it comes to managing money, such as saving versus spending. However, younger couples are less likely to believe this is true, with only two-thirds (63%) of those between 25-34 and less than half (47%) of those between the ages of 18-24 feeling like they are on the same page as their partner financially. Where the respondents believed there were differences, many tend to think they are more of a saver than their spouse, perhaps reflecting different spending priorities.
“Money issues are seldom just about money,” notes Patricia Kuhlman. “Financial matters often activate deeper issues in a relationship, including power and control, dependence and independence and commitment and trust.”
Capital One offers the following tips to help couples together address important money management matters, such as budgeting and saving:
The findings reported in this release are from a telephone survey conducted by the opinion research firm, Braun Research of Princeton, NJ for Capital One Financial Corporation of McLean, Virginia. Braun Research completed 806 interviews with US resident adults age 18 and over who are in a marriage/relationship. All interviews were conducted by telephone with one household member only selected at random. The interviews were conducted from November 1st, 2009 thru November 8th, 2009. The margin of error for this survey 3.45 percentage points for each group at the 95% confidence level. Interviews were monitored at random. Sampling for this study was conducted using a national probability replicate sample. All interviews were conducted using a computer assisted telephone interviewing system. Statistical weights were designed from the United States Census Bureau statistics.
About Capital One
Capital One Financial Corporation (www.capitalone.com) is a financial holding company whose subsidiaries, which include Capital One, N.A. and Capital One Bank (USA), N.A., had $114.5 billion in deposits and $209.7 billion in total managed assets outstanding as of September 30, 2009. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Capital One offers a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients. Capital One, N.A. has approximately 1,000 branch locations primarily in New York, New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. A Fortune 500 company, Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "COF" and is included in the S&P 100 index.