If you’re fighting about this early on, be very worried about your marriage
Updated: January 10, 2018
Smart money says this argument could lead to divorce.
Nearly half of Americans (48%) who are married or living with a partner say they argue with the person over money, according to a survey of more than 1,000 people by The Cashlorette, which is owned by personal finance site Bankrate.com. Most of those fights are about spending habits, with 60% saying that one person spends too much or the other is too cheap. The remaining fights are pretty evenly split between someone being dishonest about money, how to divide the bills and other types of money fights, which could be anything from disagreements over forgetting to pay a bill to a couple’s financial priorities in life.
If this sounds familiar, beware: At least two studies show that this could lead to divorce. Data released Wednesday by financial firm TD Ameritrade found that 41% of divorced Gen Xers and 29% of Boomers say they ended their marriage due to disagreements about money. What’s more, if you’re arguing about money early on in your relationship, watch out: That may be the No. 1 predictor of whether or not you’ll end up divorced, according to a study of more than 4,500 couples published in the journal Family Relationships.
“Financial disagreements did predict divorce more strongly than other common problem areas like disagreements over household tasks or spending time together,” the authors concluded.
Of course, it’s hard to talk about money — and hard to find the right time to speak about it. As Moneyish recently reported, you can’t just blurt out questions about money but instead must look for cues and find the right time to talk about it.
Money was one of the things that 36-year-old brand advisor Kelly — who asked that we withhold her first name — and her former spouse fought about early on in their relationship. “We both liked to shop, but I was more realistic that we were not in that place to be able to do so,” Kelly explains.
She remembers a particularly big argument over furniture for a new home they’d moved into in 2013, the same year they got married. They didn’t have furniture yet and had agreed to save up for it. But “one day while driving he saw a furniture store and decided to go inside,” she says — even though Kelly told him not to. He wound up convincing her they needed that furniture. “We ended up financing the set and financially we were not in the place to do so, so it put a strain on our finances very early on in marriage,” she says.
Money “was a major problem of weekly conflict in our marriage,” Kelly continued.”It made for a very hostile and emotionally abusive home. He wanted to satisfy some urge to have it all, and I felt emotional about always having to be the ‘grown up,’ saying but we don’t have the money to do this or that.” The couple divorced in 2014.
If these kinds of money fights sound familiar, there are ways to keep money from ruining your marriage. This guide is a great place to start.
This story was originally published in August and has been updated with new data.
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