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Banking

1 in 5 Regret Combining Finances With Spouse or Partner

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes a joint bank account?

Many couples choose to merge their finances, so MagnifyMoney commissioned a survey of over 1,000 Americans regarding their feelings about doing so with a spouse or partner. About half of those surveyed are married or living with a partner.

The survey revealed that some feel regret or tension over combining their finances. Before you run along and open a joint bank account, keep reading for more findings. These are helpful discoveries when you consider that MagnifyMoney in 2017 found that 21% cited money as the cause of their divorce.

Key findings

  • 1 in 5 regret combining finances with their spouse or partner, and those who earn more than their partner are more likely to regret it. Breaking that down, 29% of higher earners feel regret, compared with 16% who earn less and 11% who make about the same amount as their partner.
    • Members of Generation X (ages 39 to 54) are more likely to wish they had not combined financial accounts. 27% of that age group reported regretting doing so, versus 22% of millennials (ages 23 to 38) and 12% of baby boomers (ages 55 to 73).
  • Women are almost twice as likely to say they’re not satisfied with the way finances are managed in their relationship. Across both genders, less than two-thirds are completely satisfied with the handling of money in their relationship.
  • Nearly 4 in 10 are concerned their spouse or partner spends too much. The higher earner in the relationship is typically more concerned about their partner’s spending levels than those who either earn less or earn about the same.
  • 58% percent of men said they outearn their spouse or partner, while just 23% of women said the same.
  • Unmarried couples living together are more likely to have argued about money within the past month than married couples, despite being less likely to have shared financial accounts. This could have something to do with the fact that 44% of unmarried individuals living with their partner are concerned that the partner spends too much, compared with 34% of married couples who said the same.
  • Millennials argue about money more often than other generations. About 40% said they had a money-related argument with their spouse or partner within the past month, versus 31% of Gen Xers and 22% of baby boomers.
  • 78% of Americans check with their partner or spouse before making a purchase over $500. 60% would be angry if their partner or spouse spent that amount without telling them first. Women are more likely than men to be angry about this occurrence.

Who is merging their finances?

Joint bank accounts are not reserved solely for married couples. Those living with a partner can join their finances as well.

In fact, 43% of unmarried couples who live together have entirely joint bank accounts or at least have some of their money in a joint bank account with their partner. There is no guarantee married couples will merge their bank accounts either, as 16% keep separate bank accounts.

Even married couples who share bank accounts don’t necessarily combine all their finances. While 65% of married couples merged their financial accounts, 19% reported keeping some of their finances separate.

Couples are more likely to merge their finances on their own timeline. In fact, 69% of married couples opened their joint account after the wedding, while 16% did so after getting engaged. Even without marriage plans on the horizon, 13% chose to merge their finances after moving in together.

But not everyone is ready to jump on the shared finances bandwagon. Of those with separate accounts, 73% said they never plan on joining their finances. Meanwhile, 21% plan to combine their finances after marriage, with just 4% waiting for an engagement and 3% waiting until they have a child to do so.

Why couples merge their finances

As with other areas of life, couples can have varying opinions regarding how they should best manage their finances.

Whether couples are joining their finances, many still plan together financially. In fact, 30% of couples reported sharing responsibility for managing the household finances.

Spending causes problems

You might want to check with your beloved before you make a pricey purchase. Of those surveyed, 60% reported they would be angry if their partner or spouse spent $500 without telling them first. Women were even more likely to express anger if they weren’t informed of such a purchase.

Not being on the same page about what constitutes as overspending could lead to anger and resentment, which are feelings most couples would like to avoid. The amount that members of a couple are content with spending can vary.

Considering the fact that 36% of people feel their spouse or partner spends too much money, it’s wise to get on the same page and determine an appropriate budget.

How couples feel about merging their finances

For many couples, combining finances feels like a no-brainer. It’s just the next step after the honeymoon. But some couples may find that this seemingly obvious financial step doesn’t work for them.

In fact, 20% of couples reported regretting merging their finances with a spouse or partner. Those who earn more than their romantic partner feel more regret after merging finances. Almost 29% of respondents who earn more than their partner regret doing so. The higher-earning partners were also about twice as likely to report arguing with their partner about money at least once a week.

This is a reminder why it’s important to speak with your partner about important financial issues before you merge your lives together. Planning how you’ll work together to pay off debt, create an emergency fund, buy a home and manage your living expenses is an important part of keeping your relationship financially and emotionally healthy.

Methodology

MagnifyMoney by LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,070 Americans, 573 of whom are either married or living with their partner. The survey was fielded July 26-30, with the sample base proportioned to represent the general population.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Jacqueline DeMarco
Jacqueline DeMarco |

Jacqueline DeMarco is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Jacqueline here

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News

Study: More Men Received Pay Raises, Promotions Than Women Last Year

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

The 2018 household income growth numbers released by the United States Census Bureau revealed that the median earnings of all workers grew over 3% last year. Sounds like a win, right? But the research also revealed that the 2018 median earnings of men was $55,291. Women, on the other hand, only made a median of $45,097.

MagnifyMoney by LendingTree wanted to investigate this pay disparity further. They conducted a survey of Americans who work at least 30 hours a week about their pay raises, promotions and career moves.

Key findings:

  • 59% of working Americans received a pay raise within the last year. Of those who got a bump in salary, about half said the raise came with a promotion, too. Additionally, 36% said the boost in pay resulted from a new job.

  • More men received pay increases and promotions than women: 64% of men reported a raise, compared to just 52% of women. To make matters worse, 54% of men said their raise came with a promotion, versus 37% of women.
  • Millennials reported more raises than older generations: 64% of millennials received a raise, compared to 61% of Gen Xers and 47% of baby boomers. Millennials were also more likely than other age groups to say their raise came with a promotion.
  • Approximatly 62% of those whose earnings increased also raised their retirement savings contributions. Men were more likely than women to increase their savings level.
  • Around 47% of working Americans think they’ll receive a raise next year.
  • Women are more likely than men to say they probably won’t get a raise next year: 21% of women doubt their pay will increase within the next 12 months, compared to just 8% of men. The more respondents made, the more likely they were to think they would receive a pay raise next year.

Gender pay gaps

You know the old saying: Men are from Mars, women are from Venus. We know it’s not true, so why are women and men being paid like they live on different planets? In the past year, 12% more men reported receiving pay increases and promotions than women. Even more disappointing news: 17% more men than women picked up a promotion with their raise.

These figures strongly suggest that women had fewer opportunities for financial and career growth than men in the last year. These occurrences have a ripple effect. Men were 21% more likely than women to increase their retirement savings after they got a pay raise. It makes you wonder whether men are receiving larger pay raises than their female counterparts, considering women have been found to save a higher percentage of their money than men.

This difference in retirement saving contributes to a worrying trend. A 2018 study by Prudential found that on average, women save 43% less for retirement than men. And almost half of the women surveyed admitted to having no retirement savings at all.

Generational pay gaps

Gender may not be the only divide in the workplace. Millennials get a lot of flak, but they’re moving up in the workplace. Millennials reported earning more raises last year than Gen Xers and baby boomers.

While Millennials are more likely to be in the growth stage of their career, it’s also worth noting that in 2016, Millennials became the largest generation in the workforce. Millennials were also the most likely of any generation to report that their raise came with a promotion. Not bad for the generation everyone likes to laugh at for being “lazy.” To top it off, they were also the generation most likely to increase their retirement savings after receiving a raise.

How Outlook Varies

It’s fair to assume that the life and work experiences of each individual surveyed mold their view of the world around them. Because the women surveyed reported receiving fewer raises than men, it’s clear why they would be more pessimistic about their odds of receiving future raises.

While 47% of working Americans believe they’ll receive a raise next year, more of those Americans are men than women. Twenty-one percent of women doubt their pay will increase within the next 12 months, whereas only 8% of men feel that way.

Confidence seems to come easier to those with higher incomes. The more the survey respondents made in wages, the more likely they were to think they would be getting a pay raise in the next year. In their defense, the group with the highest income did in fact receive the most pay raises in the past year.

Tips on asking for a raise

When it comes time to ask for a raise, prepare yourself by following these steps. Coming to your boss with evidence regarding why you deserve a raise and how you will increase your contributions to the company will help you work toward your professional and financial goals.

State the facts

Even though you think your boss has a pretty good idea of your accomplishments, they don’t know them as well as you do. A successful request for a raise can take lots of prep work. Keeping track of your accomplishments, tasks and the changes in your role throughout the year will help you remember the triumphs you’re likely to forget a few months later.

Did a thrilled client sing your praises in an email? Flag it. Did the CEO comment on how impressed he was with your presentation? Write down his feedback. If you helped make your team more productive by introducing a new software, saved your department money or increased sales, keep notes of those occurrences somewhere you can easily reference them.

When the time comes to ask for a raise, you’ll have plenty of solid evidence at your fingertips as to why you deserve it. And remember, the more cold hard proof you have of your success (like web analytics or sales growth), the better.

Be strategic

Your boss shouldn’t feel blindsided when you ask for a raise. It’s important to give them notice that you want to speak to them about something important. Ask to schedule a meeting with your manager. Generally, they won’t be able to give you a firm yes or no during this meeting — that’s okay, they also have a boss to report to.

Make sure you set a meeting to follow up on your conversation. This holds your manager responsible for following through and tempers your expectations so you aren’t on pins and needles until you get an answer.

Don’t take no as a final answer

You won’t walk away from every request for a raise successfully, that’s just a fact of life. But it’s important to remember that getting a no now doesn’t mean no forever.

Ask your manager to elaborate on why they said no and how you can work towards a goal of a raise. Maybe there is an area of your performance you really do need to improve upon. Or perhaps your company doesn’t have the money for a raise in their budget. Agree on a time to circle back to this conversation later in the year, and in the meantime, take your manager’s feedback to heart. If they don’t give you a clear path for working toward a raise, it may be time to move on.

Methodology

MagnifyMoney by LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 543 Americans who work at least 30 hours per week. The survey was fielded September 5-9, 2019.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Jacqueline DeMarco
Jacqueline DeMarco |

Jacqueline DeMarco is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Jacqueline here

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Investing

55% of Americans Think Investing Is As Risky As Gambling

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Everybody has mixed feelings about Lady Luck. She can be your best friend or your greatest foe. Some people jump at the opportunity to test their luck, while others always play it safe — either when it comes to gambling or when investing in the stock market.

A recent survey conducted by MagnifyMoney, a subsidiary of LendingTree, revealed that 55% of Americans believe that investing is as risky as gambling. Before digging into what else it revealed, it’s important to understand the context of how this survey was framed.

We surveyed over 1,000 Americans. Gamblers here are defined as people who had gambled in the traditional sense in the last 12 months, such as playing a game at a casino, buying a lottery ticket or betting on sports. People defined here as non-gamblers did not take any of those actions. Meanwhile, active investors are defined as people who buy or sell investments once a month or more, whereas passive or hands-off investors are defined as people who buy or sell investments less often.

Key findings:

  • 55% of respondents think investing is as risky as gambling.
  • Our survey suggests gambling can lead to secrecy: More than 3 in 10 men have gambled without telling their spouse or partner.
  • Meanwhile, 1 in 5 Americans own an investment account that they haven’t told their spouse or partner about.
  • One in 4 respondents think the odds of making money in the stock market are the same as the odds of making money from gambling. Only 1 in 10 think the odds of making money from gambling are better than from investing.
  • Three in 10 respondents think investing in cryptocurrency is a form of gambling. Those who are 74 or older are the most likely to view cryptocurrency as a form of gambling.
  • For some, gambling and investing go hand in hand. Active investors are more likely to have gambled in the past year and they spend more on lottery tickets and gambling.
  • 72% of gamblers are currently investing in markets, whereas only 56% of non-gamblers are currently investing.
  • 57% of gamblers are active investors compared to just 30% of non-gamblers (“active investors” are defined as ones that make at least one trade per month).

How different generations view gambling

There are marked differences in the attitudes that members of different generations have about gambling. Baby boomers are more likely to be willing to gamble than millennials. If given $1,000 to spend for fun, 19% of those surveyed overall reported that they would rather gamble than invest. But that number was higher when you looked at just baby boomers, 28% of whom would choose gambling. Meanwhile, millennials would prefer to play it safe, as only 16% would choose gambling over investing.

The most popular form of gambling among those surveyed was buying a lottery ticket; 59% of respondents said they had played the lottery in the last 12 months. When it came to spending more than $200 a year on lotto tickets, once again baby boomers’ numbers were higher. Nearly 8% of baby boomers reported spending more than $200 a year on lotto tickets, compared to 4% of millennials.

Gambling habits aside, baby boomers are still more likely than millennials to believe the odds of making money through the stock market are better than the odds of making money by gambling.

What is the difference between gambling and investing?

Overall, respondents mentioned chance, risk, and return as the main differences between gambling and investing. However, a significant number of respondents said there was no real difference between the two.

Some view investing in a fairly pessimistic light: One respondent felt that gambling and investing are one and the same, stating “There is no real difference, you stand to lose in both or you could win in both.”

Most respondents admitted that investing, whether or not it works out, can be less risky. “I’ve always considered the stock market the world’s biggest casino,” one respondent said. “However, if used wisely, it is considerably less risky than gambling.”

Many saw the risks of investing as lessened by the fact that you can arm yourself with information to help you succeed in the stock market. “With investing, while there’s no guarantee of a return, there are a number of factors that increase the likelihood of earning a return,” remarked one respondent. “On the other hand, with few exceptions, gambling relies on purely random factors.”

Misgivings aside, when asked what they are currently investing in, the second highest response was “stocks” at 29%, which was topped by “retirement savings” at 40%. It is worth noting that many retirement savings accounts are made up of stocks.

Active investors vs. passive investors

Interestingly enough, there seems to be some correlation between active investors and secrecy when it comes to gambling: 45% of active investors have gambled without telling their spouse or partner about it. This compares to only 14% of passive investors who have kept their gambling habits a secret from their partner.

You might believe this secrecy is bred by shame about gambling, but 45% of active investors also reported having an investment account that their spouse or partner was not aware of, so just as many active investors kept their investments a secret as their gambling. Only 6% of passive investors keep their investment accounts a secret.

Men vs. Women

When it comes to secrecy surrounding gambling and investing, men are much more likely than women to hide their activities. Thirty-one percent of men have gambled without telling their spouse or partner. Only 15% of women have done the same. The same theme continues for investing: 21% of men have a secret investment account, compared to only 14% of women.

Men also tend to spend more on all forms of gambling each year, at every price point. In regards to lottery tickets, 9% more men than women spend more than $200 each year on lottery tickets.

Methodology

MagnifyMoney commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,082 Americans. The survey was fielded July 22-26, 2019, with the sample base proportioned to represent the general population.

We defined gamblers as those who have taken at least one of the following actions in the last 12 months: played a game at a casino, played an online gambling game, played poker with money, and/or bet on sports, while non-gamblers have not taken any of those actions.

We defined “active investors” as those who buy or sell investments once a month or more, while “passive investors” buy or sell investments less often.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Jacqueline DeMarco
Jacqueline DeMarco |

Jacqueline DeMarco is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Jacqueline here