Millennials in couples are far more open about discussing their finances with their partners than older generations. And experts say that's helping make them happier.
While there are a lot of factors involved in making a relationship work, experts say money plays a key role. Nearly nine in 10 millennial couples (classified here as those aged 18 to 34) report being extremely or very happy in their relationships, according to a new survey from TD Bank of over 1,700 U.S. adults.
A full three-fourths of millennials in committed relationships say they talk about money on a weekly basis. That's about 9 percentage points higher than the share of Gen X couples, and an astounding 31 percentage points higher than the share of baby boomer couples, who say they have weekly discussions about their finances.
"We're in a better place than we used to be because younger couples are more willing and open to talk about their money — and to address it directly, right out of the gate," Dr. Jane Greer, a psychotherapist and relationship expert, tells CNBC Make It.
Roughly 80 percent of couples of all ages who talk about money at least once a week report being happy in their relationships, TD Bank found.
Millennials are the most transparent when it comes to money, with 97 percent saying they talk about their finances at least once a month. But nearly 90 percent of couples, total, report they talk at least once a month, on average, about money.
"Young people are very up front about the fact that they're carrying debts, even credit card debts," Greer says. "The more open and honest you are, the more empowered you feel to be able to make financial decisions and choices that are important to you rather than winding up feeling controlled or resentful of your partner."
And these conversations start fairly early on. Of those who met online, almost 30 percent say they talked about money before they even went on a first date. Overall, nearly half (45 percent) of couples reported talking about their finances in the first three months of the relationship, while about 81 percent had a discussion within the first year.
"Having a conversation about money early on is important," says Jason Thacker, head of consumer deposits and payments at TD Bank. "Being open, honest and understanding each other's priorities when it comes to money is crucial to your overall financial health and success as a couple."
Additionally, couples of all ages are increasingly sharing financial burdens and responsibilities. TD Bank found over half of couples combine their money, up 4 percent since last year's survey. And 70 percent of couples make decisions together around large purchases.
That said, about one in five couples report fighting about money on a weekly basis, while about a third argue about it monthly.
Less than one in three couples split the responsibility of doing the bills on a regular basis. In fact, just over a fourth of millennials say they're comfortable having their partners handle this chore all the time.
But Greer says sharing financial responsibilities and burdens is important to maintaining balance and equality in a relationships. Accomplishing financial chores together can facilitate joint decision-making and open conversations about your needs and goals.
"Sharing facilitates problem-solving and talking — and often times it also facilitates fairness so you don't feel your partner is being dictatorial," she says.
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