Money the biggest cause of conflict for 58% of couples, says eharmony


Between leaving wet towels on the floor and forgetting to change the toilet roll, our partners can be full of annoying habits. But according to new research from online dating website eharmony, plenty of Aussie couples bicker about more than just the small stuff. 

The research revealed that more than half of Aussie couples (58%) cite money as the biggest cause of conflict in their relationship. 

With that in mind, it won’t come as a surprise to many that one in five (20%) Aussies keep their bank balances separate, while one in ten (14%) admitted to hiding things like credit cards, personal loans and bank accounts from their partner. 

Sadly, almost a quarter (20%) of Aussies believed a partner would judge their spending habits, which could explain why many chose to hide their financial habits. 

“Regardless of income levels, financial stress can have a major impact on relationship satisfaction. If there isn’t a foundation of trust when it comes to money, it can lead down a dangerous route,” said eharmoney relationship expert, Sharon Draper. 

“A couple ideally needs to agree in their approach, whether they choose to merge bank accounts or keep things separate.”

Interestingly, one in three (33%) singles said they wouldn’t trust a potential partner to be as responsible with money as them, with 35% of singles stating their potential partner should have no debt at all.

These numbers correlate with research conducted for the 2018 Mozo Financial Dealbreakers Report, which set out to uncover Australia’s major financial deal breakers for Aussie relationships. 

The report revealed that debt was also a major cause for a relationship to end, with almost half of Aussies choosing to draw the line at $10,000 worth of personal debt, while 37% said a $5,000 debt would be enough to tap out. 

Our study also found that destructive spending, like gambling or excessive spending, was the top reason to end a relationship (80%), followed closely by lying about financial circumstances (77%) and an inability to pay for basic expenses (71%).

Mozo’s top tips for chatting finances with your partner

  • Keep it casual. The key to having a productive conversation with your partner about their finances is to keep things casual. One way you might want to do this is to start a conversation around financial goals and values to find common ground. From there you can start jumping into the ‘tougher’ stuff, like debt and spending habits. 
  • Develop practical solutions. Once you’ve gotten the tricky stuff out of the way, now it’s time to work together to figure out the solution. For instance, if your partner has racked up some credit card debt, you might want to look into a balance transfer credit card. Or if budgeting is the issue, sit down together and create a tight spending and saving plan. 
  • One step at a time. Massive change won’t happen overnight, so just remember to be patient and offer support along your partner’s financial journey. They may have to get into routines they’re not used to or practise saying goodbye to old habits.

Want more tips and tricks on effective money management? Head on over to our Family Finances hub!