NEW YORK (MainStreet)Faith and joint finances go dangerously hand in hand for U.S. marriages, but the young are more financially savvy when it comes to coupling up, according to a new survey.
According to a 2013 survey by COUNTRY Financial Security Index, 63% of married Americans completely trust their spouse's money management skills while 42% say they did not discuss how they would handle their joint finances before marriage.
"These numbers are frightening given the financial affairs of mass America," said Denise Winston, a financial expert in Bakersfield, Calif. "When couples don't talk about their finances, false securities are put into play and they are blinded to potential dangers."
One danger is divorce. About 41% of first marriages end in divorce, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
When you marry you are entering a legal agreement. If you are not discussing finances, it means divorce is an option," said Winston.Perhaps because of their trusting nature, 52% of married Americans do not feel the need to ask spousal permission to make purchases outside of their usual household expenses. However, 42% of men are more inclined to seek permission compared to 35% of women.
"Americans are a trusting lot which is fine if your spouse is good with money," said Joe Buhrmann, manager of financial security support at COUNTRY Financial in Bloomington, Ill. "It's important to have conversations about finances at the kitchen table while you're courting and during the marriage."
In a time of mounting debt from credit cards to student loans many couples discuss their pre-existing debt but not a plan to repay it.
Despite a majority of couples having debt, half did not have a plan for who was responsible for paying it down.