Young couples are divided over finances, but help is on the way to keep it all separate but equal

Couples of any age or income level need only take a quick trip to the gas station or grocery store to know that inflation is changing the way people budget, spend and save. And based on recent data, that pressure also affects the way couples manage their money in a relationship. The news is not good.

According to a study by Wealth of Geeks and, nearly a quarter of all couples break up due to financial problems. It’s an even bigger problem for couples aged 35-49 (30%), with 28% of 25-34 year olds ending the relationship due to money disputes.

Whether it’s couples waiting too long or hiding information from each other, many of these problems are solvable, according to the developer of a new app that visualizes finances without messing up couples’ bank accounts.

“There is nothing more interesting than the intersection of finance and romance, as both offer unique perspectives, some realistic and some unrealistic,” said entrepreneur and Smoov founder Tucker Cohen.

Smoov is an app now in beta that connects to a couple’s different credit and debit cards and makes it easier for them to split and manage their shared experiences. Each partner is notified when they use one of their cards, asking whether it is a joint spending experience or an individual experience and collects transactions in a list that is easily accessible to the card owner and/or couple.

The survey found that younger couples are more likely to only have separate accounts, with 45% of younger millennials (ages 26 to 32) who are married, in a civil partnership or living with their partner having no accounts at all share compared to 20% of Gen Xers and 14% of Baby Boomers.

A native of Massachusetts and now living in California, Cohen came up with the idea after launching a number of previous entrepreneurial projects, including a direct-to-consumer organic hair wax that failed because the company made the product itself and couldn’t scale to demand it. The new venture came when he and his Spanish girlfriend, now wife, visited her family in Madrid and got engaged.

“We came back from that trip and said, let’s sort out the financial damage. We spent all that time building a spreadsheet, trying to figure out explanations and cross references with Venmo. I thought: ‘There has to be an app for this, where we can share the costs,’” he said.

When he found there weren’t any, he got a bunch of developers together and built his own.

One of the unique aspects of Smoov is that users can select which expenses they want to share with their partner and then move them to a shared transaction list. “Everyone has their own relationship with finance,” Cohen said. “The whole process is full of emotion and awkwardness and the need for communication.”

Like most entrepreneurs, Cohen’s long-term goal for Smoov is a takeover, but he plans to try to achieve unicorn status within five years if he gets the right partnerships. Currently, the Smoov app is “in the sandbox for Apple apps,” but Cohen says he hopes it will be available for the general public to download by the end of the first quarter.

As for advice on when couples should first tackle the financial issue? Cohen didn’t hesitate and said, “On their first vacation!”

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photo by Khamkeo Vilaysing On Unsplash