The 1 Thing Many Spouses Don't Know About One Another

couple talking about billsWhen it comes to being in a long-term relationship, there are certain facts you just have to know about your partner. For instance, I can’t imagine being married and not knowing basic things like if my husband wants to have kids or what his political beliefs are. But a new survey reports that nearly half of couples are in the dark about something major.


According to the Fidelity Investments' 2015 Couples Retirement Study, 72 percent of couples believe they communicate "very well," and 90 percent said starting conversations about money was "not difficult." But get this: A full 43 percent of respondents didn’t know how much their spouse earns in a year! (And that number is up from 27 percent in 2013. Eek.) Further, 10 percent were off by more than $10,000 when they tried to guess.

As a financial literacy educator, I find this kind of horrifying. How can you have a workable budget or plan for the future if you don’t know how much money your family actually has coming in?

More from The Stir: Marriage 911: What Do You Do When You Don't Agree on Money?

But, beyond the financial aspect, this is really troubling from a marriage perspective. Fights about money are considered to be a leading cause of divorce and stress within a marriage. In other words, effectively communicating about money is an essential way to keep your marriage strong. And how can you do that if you are totally clueless about your spouse's salary (or vice versa)?

If you don't know what your spouse makes, the time to have a conversation about money is now! Set aside some kid- and distraction-free time and talk about the basics: What do you make, what do you both owe, how strong is your safety net of savings, and where does your money actually go? After all, your marital success may have a lot to do with getting a grasp on these details.

Image via © KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock

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