The Biggest Cause of Stress for Couples

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More than two million couples get married annually in the United States. Besides wedding day jitters, chief among their concerns before and after they get married often is how to manage their finances. With the summer wedding season here, The Harris Poll conducted an online survey on behalf of Ally Bank, Member FDIC, of more than 1,400 Americans ages 18+ who are married or in a serious relationship. The survey found money (36 percent) caused the most stress on their relationship. Younger adults (age 18-54) were almost twice as likely (44 percent to 23 percent) to cite money as the top stressor than older adults (55+).

A slightly larger proportion of Americans in a serious relationship felt money was their biggest stressor compared to married Americans (38 percent vs. 36 percent). Closely following money as a top stressor for married Americans was health at 17 percent. The second biggest stressor for Americans in a serious relationship was family at 13 percent.

“Marriage is a joyous event, but like any important milestone in life, planning is the key to success, especially when it comes to personal finances,” said Diane Morais, president of Consumer and Commercial Banking Products for Ally Bank. “Open communication between the partners about how to spend and save money together can help establish a solid financial footing. It also is important to choose the right banking partner to achieve both short- and long-term financial goals.”

Save Early and Often
Additional studies have found that more than half of married couples pay for their wedding out of their own pockets. This means budget conscious couples are looking for unique ways to save for a wedding, that on average can cost more than $30,000, according to The Knot, a leading online wedding resource. In addition to the wedding costs, couples also need to consider their honeymoon. The Travel Industry Association of America indicates the average honeymoon budget could be close to $4,000.

For those couples financing their own wedding and honeymoon there are several factors to consider when it comes to saving for the big day. For example, Ally Bank allows customers to nickname an Online Savings Account for a dedicated purpose, such as “weddings” or “Europe” for that destination wedding or honeymoon. Features of the Ally Bank Online Savings Account that make customers’ money work harder include a competitive annual percentage yield that is up to 20-times the national average based on the savings account rates published in the FDIC Weekly National Rates and Rate Caps, accurate as of June 11, 2018. Plus, the interest compounds daily and has no minimum deposit requirement or monthly maintenance fee.

“It is important to establish a budget and set expectations early,” Morais said. “In addition, having a solid savings plan to cover the costs can relieve some of that stress.”

Better Than Cash
The Knot also suggests a unique way many couples can pay for their special day is to ask friends and family to contribute to a special account in lieu of wedding gifts. While gift cards are common, more and more couples are setting up special accounts guests can deposit money into directly. Ally Bank offers its customers Zelle®, the fast, safe and easy way people use to send money to friends and family in minutes. All the customer needs to send money directly is the person’s name and either a phone number or email address.

Yours, Mine, Ours
As the Harris poll indicated, the biggest stress for married and non-married couples is money. One aspect of money management couples must decide is how to divvy up bills, finances and budgeting. A recent Ally study of married couples under the same roof found that:

  • 4 in 10 share all income and expenses
  • 1 in 4 split household bills
  • 1 in 5 keep all income and expenses separate

Ally provides information and calculators to help couples budget and plan how to best cover household expenses.

Ally Bank makes it easy for couples to manage their finances no matter how they split the family expenses,” Morais said. “Couples can set up a joint account to pay bills and yet keep their own accounts for personal expenses and manage it all online or via their app. No matter how you manage your money, Ally has a solution for you.”

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