The impact of money problems on relationships

At Lowell, we know that there is a link between money problems and relationship difficulties which is often brought on by a lack of financial knowledge. That’s why we think it’s important to start a conversation about the impact this can have and help customers feel more comfortable discussing debt without feeling like they won’t understand it.

We realise that it can be difficult to remember all the money jargon often used which is why we’ve gone ahead and created our very own Debt Dictionary. There you can find all sorts of useful information to help make it less confusing and easier for you to gain the financial knowledge you may need.

In fact, as part of our research, we’ve uncovered the impacts of money problems on relationships and how it can cause arguments with family and friends, splitting up, and relationship and lifestyle tensions in general.  

Why it’s important to understand your finances as a couple

According to our research, only two in 10 Brits (22%) said that they always go through and read the terms and conditions although they might not fully understand everything. Another 20% only sometimes read them but don’t always recognise the financial jargon while 6% don’t bother at all.

Even though you should always read the terms and conditions and understand what you’re agreeing to in general, when doing anything as a couple it’s even more important to sit down and go through it together. No matter if you’re going to be renting together, leasing a car, or opening a joint account, not taking the time to do so and checking about anything you don’t quite understand could put unnecessary strain on a relationship if it were to go wrong.

Our research also discovered that Brits don’t always understand some of the most common terms that may crop up for couples. Almost 50% of the people we surveyed said that they have no clue what equity means, an important term for those looking to buy or sell a house together.

Most shocking perhaps is that over a third don’t actually know what it means to have a joint account. Understanding how you can be financially linked by a joint account (even if you’re no longer together) is something which every couple should be aware of if they’re thinking about opening one and sharing expenses.  

It also turns out that almost one in 10 Brits feel that it’s inappropriate to discuss money with other people. A mindset which could explain why some Brits misunderstand common financial terms.

You can read our blog on how to talk to a loved one about debt to find out the ways you can start a conversation.

How money problems impact relationships and why

It probably doesn’t come as too much of a surprise that something as crucial as money problems can cause relationship difficulties. In fact, two in 10 people (21%) we asked said that they ended up splitting up with a partner due to the difficulties they faced. Not only that, but 13% of people have fallen out with family or friends for the same reason.   

However, it’s not just relationships that are impacted either as 21% of Brits told us that they’ve suffered mental health issues as a result of money problems. Here at Lowell, this is something we feel strongly about and if you’re one of our customers then you can read our guide on how we support our customers’ mental health for more information.

Looking into the cause of these money problems, a third of those surveyed put their money problems down to borrowing from a family member or loved one. Meanwhile, 31% admitted that it was due to misunderstanding financial terms that then got them into financial difficulty.

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There’s often a stigma surrounding the conversation about debt, something highlighted in our research where 13% said they don’t openly discuss debt. Part of our goal at Lowell is to help reduce this stigma and we have conducted previous research into why we don’t talk about our debt problems. Starting a conversation isn’t easy but there are people to turn to whether it’s your family or loved ones, a debt collection agency like Lowell, or another external independent organisation ranging from those focused on mental health such as Mind or StepChange who specialise in debt.

 If you ever have any questions or concerns about your debt, the Lowell debt guidance hub is a good place to start. We’ve got lots of guides covering a wide range of debt-related topics as well as explaining how Lowell works with our customers.

Published by Stephanie North-Shaw on 20th February 2023

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