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For young couples, partner’s financial habits matter even before marriage

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A romantic partner’s finances may begin to matter in relationships long before the wedding bells ring, a study has found. Researchers led by the University of Arizona in the US set out to see how financial socialisation from three different sources affects life outcomes and well-being in young adults. Financial socialisation means how individuals learn about finances. The three sources the researchers looked at were the young adults’ parents, the young adults’ romantic partner and the young adults themselves.

According to the findings, young adults’ own financial behaviours, unsurprisingly, had the most impact on their well-being. In second place were the financial behaviours of their romantic partners, while financial expectations of parents – who undoubtedly have the earliest financial influence in children’s life – seemed to have the least impact.

“The fact that young adults are perceiving that what their romantic partner does, financially, impacts them is really interesting, especially because most of them are not married and not cohabitating,” said Melissa Curran, an associate professor at the University of Arizona. “They are young in relationships, which really goes to say that even in these non-marital, non-cohabitating relationships, the person who you are with matters. “Their finances matter for your relationship outcomes and well-being,” said Curran, lead author of the study published in the Journal of Family and Economic Issues.