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Married couples disagree on who makes family's financial decisions

July 29, 2013|By Shan Li
  • Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie star as the dueling couple in the movie "Mr. and Mrs. Smith." A new study finds that many married couples disagree about who makes the big financial decisions in their family.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie star as the dueling couple in the movie "Mr.… (Stephen Vaughan / 20th Century…)

It should come as no surprise that married couples often do not see eye to eye on personal finances. But a new survey reveals just how deeply spouses are split on their own roles as financial decision-makers in the family.

Many married people either over-value their own power in making choices about money or under-value their spouse's contribution to the process, according to a new study by BMO Private Bank.

For example, more than two-thirds of married men report making investment decisions "primarily by themselves," the survey said. But only 13% of married women said that their partner is the primary decision maker.

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On the flip side, nearly 40% of married women self-identified as their family's primary decision-maker. Only 5% of men agreed.

That disconnect also extends to pricey purchases. Nearly two-thirds of men said they were the main deciders about what and when to open the family purse to acquire big ticket items such as cars and home renovations. Only 29% of married women agreed.

"The numbers just don't add up," said Mary Jo Herseth, national head of banking for BMO Private Bank.

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Follow Shan Li on Twitter: @ShanLi

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