Many couples fight about money — and those disagreements may increase and intensify as you get older, particularly when it comes to saving and planning for retirement.
"There may be differences in where they want to spend their money in retirement in terms of entertainment or travel, how much they can afford to spend and how much risk they take with investments," said financial advisor Diahann Lassus, a certified financial planner and president and chief investment officer of Lassus Wherley. "There may also be increasing financial needs from adult children with children of their own.
"This can create major stress for couples who have a difficult time balancing their financial needs and the needs of their children or potentially other family member."
Earlier this year, Fidelity Investments surveyed more than 1,000 couples — ranging in age from 25 to over 60 years old — about what they expected and how prepared they were for retirement. Nearly half of the couples (48 percent) said they had "no idea" how much they would need to save to maintain their current lifestyle in retirement, and 47 percent disagreed about the amount of money they would need.
This level of disagreement was highest among those who are closest to retirement: baby boomers (born 1946 to 1964). In fact, of those couples who admitted to fighting about money, at least 1 in 5 boomers and nearly the same number of Gen X couples (born 1965 to 1978) said they argue about saving enough for retirement.
Another poll, by Harris Interactive, also showed that money fights are more prevalent among older couples. While only 15 percent of couples between 18 and 34 years old said finances trigger arguments, more than one-third of couples age 55 to 64 admitted to having "money fights."
Couples who don't know each other's salary or miss the mark when it comes to the amount of their household's investable assets may also have trouble "sorting through and tackling important issues together around the next big milestones in their lives, such as how and where to spend retirement and later-in-life issues involving eldercare and estate planning," said John Sweeney, executive vice president of Retirement and Investing Strategies at Fidelity.
"By taking time to engage in conversation and plan, your chances of creating a strong foundation and achieving your goals are greatly enhanced," he said.
So how can you call a truce and get on the same page?
Financial advisors say you should: