Unhappy Valentines? Three-quarters of couples argue about money

author-avatar By on February 12, 2021
Unhappy Valentines? Three-quarters of couples argue about money

As we approach Valentine's Day, new research shows nearly a quarter of Australians admit to disagreeing with their partner over money.

That's according to digital bank 86 400, which found the number of coupled Aussies arguing over money sat at 74%. 

The survey of more than 1,000 people about their shared money habits revealed money is a particularly sore point at the start of a relationship, with 82% of 18 to 24 year olds clashing with a partner over money. 

On the flipside, older Australians seem to care less: 42% of 65 to 74 year olds say they never disagree about money, while the number is slightly smaller (55%) for 35-44 year olds, who say they argue about it more than they'd like. 

This research comes right before another Valentine's Day where 73% of Australians still plan on matching or beating their spend from last year, despite everything that's been going on. 

See also: Aussies prioritise finances over romance in 2021 

Sharing money the source of arguments 

It would seem that shared bank accounts and money is one of the leading sources of friction in arguments when it comes to finances. 

86 400's research found 42% of Aussie couples choose to share their finances because “it's part of being in a relationship”, and 27% think their partner is either not trustworthy or "useless" with money. 

Two-thirds (66%) of respondents meanwhile said they use shared accounts to pay their bills, like mortgage repayments, rent, groceries and utilities. 

While that 66% say paying regular bills is the main use for shared accounts, almost half (48%) say it's helpful when saving for the fun parts like holidays or special occasions. 

These shared accounts were also more popular with older generations: 41% of 45-54 year olds preferred to use them, while 44% of 18-24 year olds choose to split bills 50/50 instead. 

86 400 has its own '30 second' shared bank accounts that can be opened quickly and easily, and CFO Belinda Hogan said sharing money is a key part of a relationship. 

"As we all know, adulting can be pretty complicated at times — and particularly when money is involved. It can be tough to balance spending, saving and regular expenses individually, but sharing your finances with another person or people adds a whole new layer of complexity," Ms Hogan said.

"The good news is this research shows there really isn’t a perfect way to share your finances with another person. It’s really down to what works best for you.

"The only crucial thing is talking openly with your partner-in-finance to ensure you’re both on the same page.

"Yes, you might need coffee before you can face the day each morning, but it’s nice to know you both agree before using a shared account for that caffeine hit.”

Another Valentine's Day means more romance scammers 

Love can not only hurt you emotionally but it can hurt you financially as well. 

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch website reported $37.2 million worth of dating and romance scams occured in 2020, a massive 30% increase from 2019. 

This increase was largely led by more Australians being driven inside during the pandemic, as scammers upped their online trickery during a time of crisis. 

February is the biggest time of the year for 'romance baiting', and involves scammers meeting people online or in dating apps and then moving the conversation to a point where they ask for money. 

Last year Scamwatch received over 400 reports of romance baiting scams with over $15.2 million lost.

“These scams prey on people seeking connection and can leave victims with significant financial losses and emotional distress,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“While traditional dating and romance scams tend to target older Australians, almost half of all losses to romance baiting scams come from people under the age of 35."

Director of Services and Financial Crimes for the Customer Owned Banking Association Leanne Vale, a former Federal Police Officer, gives the following tips to avoid being the victim of a love scam this Valentine's season: 

  • Don’t share personal information with someone you haven’t met. From banking details to the most intimate photos, which can be used for blackmail.
  • Check for catfishes by running an image search on your would-be suitor. Google or TinEye searches can often find the real alias.
  • Look for glitches in the detail like spelling mistakes, inconsistent stories, or never being available for a Zoom or Facetime call.
  • Do a little homework on their background and where they live. Ask questions which test their local knowledge.

“If you believe you have fallen victim to a scammer, cut off communications, talk to a trusted friend or relative, and check the resources on Scamwatch," Ms Vale said. 

"It’s all about gaining control of your life and finances and the sooner you can do this the better."


More information on scams is available on the Scamwatch website, including how to make a report and where to get help.



Photo by Sarah Kilian on Unsplash

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William Jolly joined Savings.com.au as a Financial Journalist in 2018, after spending two years at financial research firm Canstar. In William's articles, you're likely to find complex financial topics and products broken down into everyday language. He is deeply passionate about improving the financial literacy of Australians and providing them with resources on how to save money in their everyday lives.

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