Money

Millennial couples more likely to fight about money, and that's not a bad thing

Scene from NBC's 'This is Us.'
NBC
Scene from NBC's 'This is Us.'

A new cross-generational survey by Chase reveals some mixed news for people aged 18 to 34.

Millennials are more likely to fight about money with their partners than are Gen Xers or Boomers.

But they are also more likely to talk about money in general, which experts say is key to facing, and solving, financial problems.

For its 2016 Generational Money Talks report, Chase asked 2,000 adults if they had fought with their partner about money within the past six months. Seventy-five percent of millennials admitted to fighting, compared to 72 percent for Gen Xers and 62 percent for Boomers.

The financial reasons are significant: Millennials are weighed down by heavy college debt. They are not making as much as their parents did and have dealt with the consequences of growing up during the 2008 financial crisis.

"It's understandable that, as couples form among the millennial generation, that stress can lead to disagreements over the management of money," says Peter Wall, chief market strategist for Chase.

Across all generations, the largest source of financial arguments between couples is splurging on large purchases.

The next most common cause of disputes is not saving enough, followed by decisions about big expenses.

More fights, but more transparency

Despite being more likely to have financial arguments with their partners, millennials are more likely to discuss money issues openly. This could be a silver lining, as experts say that acknowledging money problems is the first step to fixing them.

When it comes to friends, parents, siblings, and expert advisers, millennials are more likely to discuss the formerly taboo topic than previous generations.

"The fact that millennials are not only open to talking about money and their particular financial situation but have the willingness to talk about it with a whole host of people, I think that can be a big benefit," Wall says. "That's encouraging."

"The best advice I think we can give ... is be open about it." -Peter Wall, chief market strategist at Chase

Experts say talking openly about tough money situations, though it can lead to arguments, is still crucial, especially in the long term.

"Again the good news is this willingness and acceptance among millennials to have open and honest discussion about money with multiple people," he says.

Healthy conversation is key to working through issues around money, experts say.

"The best advice I think we can give, and the best advice any professional adviser can give for couples is, maintaining discipline," Wall says. "Particularly if it's a couple that's dealing with the stress, be open about it. Be disciplined about it."