Survey: 86% of Americans would like their partner to be happy at work, but paid less

Recent research from Fidelity shows that American couples are willing to sacrifice money for happiness on the job – 86% of couples would rather have their partner working in a position where they were happy, but taking home less cash. But on the flip side, 12% would rather their partner be more stressed in a higher-paying job.

In terms of the methodology, 1,662 couples ages 22 and up (3,324 people total) were surveyed, who are “in a married or long-term committed relationship. This is the sixth installment of the study, which was first launched in 2007.”

How couples manage their money

People do things differently.

The research found that while 54% of couples would rather toil away at work more today (“but spend less time to together”) in order to bring in more cash for their Golden Years, 43% would rather spend less time at work now, even if they potentially had less money for that stage of life.

Fifty-six percent of couples report that they make everyday financial decisions about living together, and the same percentage says they also manage “retirement and investment planning” this way.

But 30% of men and 23% of women report that “they are the primary decision maker” for everyday living costs.

How couples feel about debt

Couples had a lot to say about this topic.

While 33% of Americans “expect their partner to” assist them in paying off any money they owe, 55% feel the need to help “pay off their significant other’s debt.”

Additionally, 36% of millennials, 37% of Generation X and 19% of Baby Boomers are nervous about “paying off debt in general,” but 24% of millennials, 19% of Generation X, and 5% of Baby Boomers feel the same way about getting rid of student debt.

Alexandra Taussig, senior vice president of lifetime client engagement at Fidelity, commented on the research in a statement.

“We see over and over that dealing with debt is one of the biggest stressors in day-to-day life. Working as a team to put a financial action plan in place to address debt can help couples get out from under this burden, and as importantly bring more peace of mind to your household and relationship,” she said. “It’s not the debt you bring into the relationship that matters, but how you work together to handle your debt over the long run.”

Couples who are nervous about their debt had a higher change of labeling money as the biggest hurdle they face together at 46%, versus 16% of couples who aren’t worried about this.