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Media Release

Mum and Dad going head-to-head on household finances

14 May 2018

A quarter of Australian families’ state they are conflicted over money and admit to keeping a financial secret from their partner

New research by St.George Bank reveals one in four Australian families find money a source of conflict at home, with 40% believing this is due to their partner overspending.

The survey conducted with 1500 parents around Australia, also found that despite having children together only half (51%) of families combine their income, and nearly four in 10 (37%) keep their money separate.

One in four parents said they keep a financial secret from their other half.  For Mums the top financial secret was a large debt while for Dads it’s a secret bank account.

The research also found six in every 10 households rely on only one parent to manage the money and agree one of them is a spender and the other a saver.

Ross Miller General Manager for St.George Bank said it was very clear from the research that ‘saving more’ was the number one financial goal for families well ahead of ‘having a better household budget’.

“It was interesting to see that only half of families combine their income, and only four in 10 parents tackle the household budget as a joint responsibility.

“This was also the case when it came to parents making financial decisions on children’s expenses such as education and hobbies, again half of Aussie parents said they make these decisions alone.

“By looking at the household expenses together and agreeing on key financial decisions, families may be able to budget better and improve on their savings strategy.

“Opening up a joint account is a great way for parents to share mutual financial goals and keep track of their household spending, and conversely combining savings into one account can help boost their savings,” says Ross.

Ross added only 17% of households had sought some financial advice, with 70% stating their household finances were self-taught.

“At St.George we encourage families to regularly review their finances and accounts at least once per year to ensure you have the right accounts and saving strategies to suit the changing needs of your family.”


 Key findings from St.George Research

  • One in four said money is a source of conflict in their relationship mainly due to income stress, food and utility bills and their partner overspending.
  • 62% of respondents said they manage the household finances while 38% treat it as a joint responsibility
  • Half (51%) of respondents combine their income with their partner through a joint account and 37% keep separate accounts
  • 63% of respondents agree there is a spender and a saver in their relationship
  • 24% of respondents keep a financial secret from their partner. The top four secrets are a secret bank account (23%), a large debt (22%) an expensive purchase (21%) and a secret credit card
  • 70% of respondents said they taught themselves how to budget, followed by learning from their mum (23%) and their dad (20%)


Mum vs Dad

  • Mum’s top ‘financial secret’ was a large debt vs Dad’s secret bank account.
  • Four in 10 Mums consider themselves the spender vs 3 in 10 of Dads who say this is the case.
  • 49% of Mums make the financial decisions on the children vs 28% of Dads.
  • Mums (41%) and Dads (42%) tie when it comes to thinking it’s the other who overspends.