Partner’s Finances Impact Happiness, Even for Young Adults

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Partner’s Finances Impact Happiness, Even for Young Adults

For married couples, money is a common source of stress and conflict that can take a major toll on relationship quality. Research has found couples who argued about money early in their relationships — regardless of their income, debt or net worth — were at a greater risk for divorce. And according to new research, finances may begin to matter in romantic relationships in young love. In fact, perceptions of how a partner is spending, saving and borrowing matters.¹²

The Three Financial Influences for Young Adults:


Romantic Partner


The Research

The study is based on responses from the ongoing APLUS Life Success research project, with the third wave of data collection from 504 participants, average age 24, who self-identified as being in a committed romantic relationship.²


of participants were unmarried and not living with their partners.2


of participants were unmarried but cohabitating.2


of participants were living together and married.2

The report found that younger couples, even those who aren’t living together, were affected by their partner’s spending habits. Whether that’s…²




Paying Bills

Who has the greatest influence?

Young adults were asked about their parents’ financial expectations of them, how often they pay bills on time, and how they save money. They were also asked how often they think their partner’s engage in the same financial activities.²

Young adults were rated how often they themselves engage in several different financial activities, such as contributing to a retirement account or saving each month for the future. They were also asked money questions related to their own happiness and well-being, including their romantic satisfaction.²

Top Financial Influence


Young adults' own financial behaviors have the most impact on their well-being.2

Romantic Partner

Financial behaviors of their romantic partners came in second for having an impact on well-being.2


Financial expectations of parents, who undoubtedly have the earliest financial influence in children's life, had the least impact. This doesn't mean parents' efforts to educate their children about finances are unimportant, but young adults have transferred what they learned as children from their parents into their own behaviors.2

Young adults’ own financial behavior had the biggest impact on their lives and well-being. And when it came to their relationship satisfaction and sense of commitment, it was their partner’s financial behavior that had an impact. This impacted their overall sense of well-being, showing a partner’s spending can make a huge difference in overall happiness – even in young love.²

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