14 February 2014Back to news home
The secret to finding love is about being able to balance the books, not about how you look, according to consumer research conducted by NEST (National Employment Savings Trust).
The research, which surveyed UK adults in long term relationships or with recent experience of a long term relationship, found that almost half of us (45 per cent) see good financial management as essential in our ideal long term partner. In fact ‘someone who manages their finances well’ comes ahead in the list of desirable qualities above some more obvious factors, such as good looks, wealth, the car they drive or whether they own their own home.
Once you’ve found The One, it seems managing your money is the way to keep them, with 89 per cent saying ‘good financial planning’ is important for happy relationships.
Speaking from experience, people who are recently single are even more likely to look for someone who can manage their finances well next time. More than half (54 per cent) of single people who’ve been in a long term relationship in the last five years say their ideal long term partner would be a good money manager, even higher than someone with the same interests as them (44 per cent) and someone who has the same priorities in life (46 per cent).
Other recent research conducted by NEST, published last month in NEST Insight, also suggests good money management is increasingly front-of-mind. People’s top three financial priorities now include saving for a rainy day and even pension saving, which in 2011 languished behind buying shoes and socialising.
In the US younger people are asking about their date’s credit score at an early stage in their relationship. Websites have sprung up to cater specifically for singles looking for a partner with a tiptop credit score. According to the New York Times (December 2012), this practice is becoming so widespread that credit score has become a significant factor in dating decisions, sometimes eclipsing more traditional priorities like a good job, shared interests and physical chemistry.
While being a good financial planner might help you find a new love, NEST’s research shows that the key to maintaining a healthy relationship over the longer term is also all about keeping your financial love life in order.
NEST’s research, which compared the financial love lives of 20-35 year olds with people aged 60 and over, suggests that although good financial management may be an increasingly important factor when choosing a long term partner, there is a tendency among younger couples to be less open and honest about their finances than their parents’ generation.
Commenting on the findings, NEST’s director of communications and engagement Graham Vidler said:
‘Financial planning is clearly becoming much more of a priority, which is welcome news. Not only are people prioritising their own finances, but it’s clearly important for other parts of their lives – relationships, potential relationships and plans for their future.
‘Saving in a workplace pension like NEST is one way to get on the long term savings ladder, with contributions from your employer and the government often doubling the contribution you make. Over the next few years up to 9 million people will be enrolled into a pension by their employer. Our research suggests most consumers will consider this a welcome helping hand.’
Commenting on the findings Jo Barnett, life coach and relationship expert, said:
‘As a relationship expert I see many couples falling out of love over their financial differences. This is because they have gone into a relationship or marriage without disclosing their finances or discussing any financial planning for the future. When you are in a relationship it’s no longer just about you, and the more open and honest you can be upfront about spending, saving and earning, the more respect and harmony you have later down the line.
‘Everyone has a different value for money, how they spend it, save it and share it. I strongly advise that you find out where each of you stand on all of these points before you get involved, and ideally build a relationship with a partner who has similar values to yours! Once you are in the relationship be as open and honest as you can, positive experiences will build trust and love.
Nick Hill, a money expert at the Money Advice Service, said:
“We all love a good chat, and when it comes to the big things in life - such as our career or relationships – we all appreciate having a trusted ear to bend. But talking about money can be tricky - it’s quite a British taboo. But it’s essential for couples, especially those running a joint household, to talk to each other about money – this includes identifying common goals. We’re all better at doing things when we have something to aim for. So whatever your goal – saving for that holiday or a house deposit - make time to sit down with your partner to plan together how you can achieve what’s most important for you and your family. Being able to talk about money is a key step towards being able to manage it well, and if you feel good about money you’ll feel better about life in general.”
NEST is a not-for-profit pension scheme which employers can use to meet their duties under the new workplace pension reforms. It was set up by statute and designed for the 11 million UK workers who were previously effectively locked out of retirement saving. Employers automatically enrolling their eligible workers have a legal duty to contribute to those workers’ pension pots, who may also get an extra helping hand from the government in the form of tax relief on their contributions, helping to build them a strong future.
About the research:
This was conducted by Opinium Research on behalf of NEST via a nationally representative online survey of 1,002 UK adults who are currently in a long term relationship or have been in a long term relationship over the last five years. The survey was carried out between 30th January and 31st January 2014. 502 survey participants were aged 20-35 and 500 were aged 60 or over.