Love is in the air this Valentine's Day, but a new study released by Fidelity Investments shows that sometimes, getting on the same page as your sweetheart about finances is not all chocolates and roses.
The company's annual Couples & Money Study for 2021 polled more than 1,700 couples in married or long-term committed relationships – quizzing each partner individually away from their significant other – and found that some folks might need to have a few more chats about where they are and where they're going financially.
For starters, more than half (51%) of participating couples disagreed on how much savings they would need to reach retirement, and 48% disagreed on the age they planned on retiring. Another 40% disagreed on how much risk they are comfortable taking on in their investments, and 34% were not in sync as to whether they were savers or spenders.
One in five couples said money was their greatest relationship challenge, and 44% of partners said they argue about money with their significant other at least occasionally.
The study was also able to pinpoint the top financial disconnects between couples, by generations:
"Boomers are most likely to disagree on what age they plan to retire, which is interesting, given they are closest to doing so," Stacey Watson, head of Life Events Planning at Fidelity, told FOX Business.
She said people in this age group born in the mid-1940s to the mid-'60s "need to crunch the numbers to make sure they have enough savings to last through retirement and that they have a shared vision for what retirement might look like—and this is a topic for older Gen X-ers, too."
Gen X couples:
The Gen X couples, born from around 1965-1980, were found to be most likely to disagree on what their household's next big savings goal will be.
Watson said that "makes sense, given where they are in life."
This age group born in the early 1980s to mid-'90s is most likely to disagree as to whether they are savers or spenders.
"Younger couples should make sure they have a plan to save for the future, since they have the power of time on their side," Watson said. "And also, they should be discussing what future expenses they need to plan for. Is a house on the horizon? Will you start planning a family and saving for college? These sorts of discussions should not be left to impulse."
Fidelity says couples across all age groups can benefit from setting up a financial "date night" for the purpose of getting on the same page, and suggests that Valentine's Day – after the candlelit dinner and grand gestures are over – is a good time to get something on the calendar.
Watson says Fidelity's latest Couples & Money Study "shows that although 71% of couples say they communicate very well, almost four in ten couldn’t correctly identify how much the other half makes for a salary. This suggests there’s room for improvement."