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Thursday, February 22, 2024

For love or money? Americans’ spending habits for Valentine’s Day

According to new research from Empower, 67% of Americans prioritize love over money, though 37% of those in a relationship say finances are the biggest stressor.

Key takeaways

  • Spending habits (38%) and budgeting (33%) are the money topics most likely to lead to disagreements in relationships followed by financial priorities/goals (20%).
  • 1 in 7 married respondents don’t know how much debt their spouse has.
  • 26% of Americans in relationships don’t plan on spending money this Valentine’s Day.
  • Valentine’s Day gift givers expect to spend an average of $136.
  • 1 in 4 Americans feel pressured to spend more than they want to for the holiday.
  • On average, Americans say it’d take $128M to buy their love – and would forgo romance for life, in exchange.

Love vs. money

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

Financial stressors in relationships

Over a third of couples (37%) say money is a big relationship stress point, with Gen Zers feeling the most strain around financial issues (48%).

The most common areas of disagreement in relationships include spending habits and patterns (38%), followed by budgeting (33%) and disputes over financial priorities or goals (20%).

How couples manage money

  • Among married couples, 42% have joint banking accounts for all financial matters.
  • 27% have a mix of joint and separate accounts.
  • Nearly a quarter (23%) have one partner managing all financial decisions and transactions.
  • Over 1 in 7 married individuals don’t know how much debt their spouse has.

Valentine's Day spending

While some Americans in a relationship are opting out of Valentine’s Day this year, the majority are planning to splurge on dining out (49%), chocolates (38%), flowers (30%), and wine (20%).

Over a quarter of Americans in relationships (26%) say they don’t plan on spending money on Valentine’s Day, and half plan to spend less than last year (54%). To help manage expenses, nearly a third of Americans (30%) will choose less expensive gifts, close to 1 in 5 Gen Zers (19%) will celebrate on a different day to avoid peak pricing, and 20% of Millennials plan to cook at home to save money.

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

Methodology

Empower commissioned a survey of 1,008 Americans from January 9-11, 2024. Of those polled, 47% were married, 22% were in a relationship, 20% were single or widowed, 5% were dating with no commitments, 5% were divorced, and 2% were engaged. These percentages total more than 100% due to rounding. The generational breakdown was as follows: 11% were baby boomers, 24% were Gen Xers, 56% were millennials, and 9% were Gen Zers.

About Empower

Empower is a financial services company on a mission to empower financial freedom for all. We offer investment, wealth management, and retirement solutions. Connect with us on Empower.com.

Fair Use Statement

Feel free to share the love (and our findings) for any non-commercial use. Just make sure to include a link back to this page to provide readers with our full methodology and survey results.

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The content contained in this blog post is intended for general informational purposes only and is not meant to constitute legal, tax, accounting or investment advice. You should consult a qualified legal or tax professional regarding your specific situation. No part of this blog, nor the links contained therein is a solicitation or offer to sell securities. Compensation for freelance contributions not to exceed $1,250. Third-party data is obtained from sources believed to be reliable; however, Empower cannot guarantee the accuracy, timeliness, completeness or fitness of this data for any particular purpose. Third-party links are provided solely as a convenience and do not imply an affiliation, endorsement or approval by Empower of the contents on such third-party websites.

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The Currency editors

Staff contributors

The CurrencyTM, a publication from Empower, covers the latest financial news and views shaping how we live, work, and play. We keep you current on ways to plan, save, and invest for life.

The content contained in this blog post is intended for general informational purposes only and is not meant to constitute legal, tax, accounting or investment advice. You should consult a qualified legal or tax professional regarding your specific situation. No part of this blog, nor the links contained therein is a solicitation or offer to sell securities. Compensation for freelance contributions not to exceed $1,250. Third-party data is obtained from sources believed to be reliable; however, Empower cannot guarantee the accuracy, timeliness, completeness or fitness of this data for any particular purpose. Third-party links are provided solely as a convenience and do not imply an affiliation, endorsement or approval by Empower of the contents on such third-party websites. 

Certain sections of this blog may contain forward-looking statements that are based on our reasonable expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions. Past performance is not a guarantee of future return, nor is it indicative of future performance. Investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate and you may lose money. 

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board) owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design), and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements. 

Advisory services are provided for a fee by Empower Advisory Group, LLC (“EAG”). EAG is a registered investment adviser with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and subsidiary of Empower Annuity Insurance Company of America. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training.