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Study: How finances influence relationships, Valentine's Day spending

Valentine's Day
Dining out (49%) is the most common way for couples to celebrate Valentine's Day.

Ahead of Valentine’s Day, financial services company Empower has shared new insights into the role that finances play in relationships.

According to a survey of over 1,000 Americans, spending habits (38%) and budgeting (33%) are the money topics most likely to lead to disagreements in relationships followed by financial priorities/goals (20%). Over a third of couples (37%) say money is a big relationship stress point, with Gen Z respondents feeling the most strain around financial issues (48%).

When it comes to Valentine’s Day this year, the majority of couples planning to celebrate will spend on dining out (49%), chocolates (38%), flowers (30%) and wine (20%). To save money this year, nearly a third of Americans (30%) will choose less expensive gifts, 19% of Gen Zers will celebrate on a different day to avoid peak pricing, and 20% of Millennials plan to cook at home to save money. Half (54%) of respondents plan to spend less than last year.

Couples expect to spend an average of $136, with men ($163) planning to outspend women ($107). On average, Millennials expect to spend the most at $145, and Boomers the least at $96.

Some reported skipping the holiday completely, with over a quarter of Americans in relationships (26%) say they don’t plan on spending money on Valentine’s Day.

Among married couples, 42% have joint banking accounts for all financial matters, while 27% have a mix of joint and separate accounts. Nearly a quarter (23%) have one partner managing all financial decisions and transactions. Over one-in-seven married individuals reported not knowing how much debt their spouse has.

Overall, two-thirds of Americans surveyed say love is more important than advancing in their careers, a sentiment shared among men (68%) and women (64%). A majority of Boomers (73%) place more importance on love, while Gen Zers are most likely to say achieving financial success is their top priority.

The full study can be found here.

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