Tensions over family financial decisions appear more acute when the woman of the house is the primary breadwinner, according to a poll released Monday by SEI.
While an overwhelming majority of those polled said their spouse/partner is comfortable with how financial decisions are made, 1 in 5 said that they feel their spouse/partner is stressed by their lead or participation in the process, with several notable differences between male and female respondents.
Women who identified themselves as the primary financial contributors were more likely to experience tension with their partners than their male counterparts. In fact, 29% of female breadwinners polled said they believe their partner feels stressed by their role in financial decision making, while only 14% of the males polled said they feel tension from their partner.
Of the respondents who indicated experiencing stress, 58% said spending decisions were the cause, while 34% listed investment decisions. Savings decisions were also identified as a top source of stress by 33% of those polled. Nearly three-quarters of those who said they were comfortable with their role in financial decisions pointed to discussions with their spouse/partner as the reason.
Other top sources of tension in wealthy households include income level (29%), money given to children (21%), control (21%), and giving/charity (20%). Perhaps surprisingly, the topic identified as the least likely source of added tension was money given to other family members (14%).
"When you're dealing with relationships and money, stress is a given, and when a woman is the primary wealth creator the survey shows it's even greater," said Michael Farrell, managing director for SEI Private Wealth Management.
The solution says Farrell: Couples need to agree on a common set of goals and priorities in their domestic money management decisions. That kind of open dialogue is essential to increasing communication and in turn, the likelihood long-term success," he said.
The poll, conducted in partnership with independent research firm Phoenix Marketing International, had more than 500 respondents representing individuals or families with more than $1 million of investable assets. Of those respondents feeling stress, spending and investment decisions were the most likely causes.
SEI Private Wealth Management is an umbrella name for various life and wealth advisory services provided by SEI Investments Management Corporation (SIMC). SIMC is a subsidiary of SEI. SEI manages or administers $428 billion in mutual fund and pooled or separately managed assets, including $189 billion in assets under management and $239 billion in client assets under administration.