5 Financial Mistakes That Ruin Your Marriage

 In Money Habits & Attitudes Blog

In this article, Nancy Anderson, a Forbes contributor, identifies the “5 Financial Mistakes That Ruin Your Marriage” as:

  1. Materialism – valuing “things” or money over the relationship.
  2. Having conflicting money values.
  3. Adopting traditional roles when they don’t fit.
  4. Having opposing money styles. (It is not uncommon to see financial opposites attract one another.  Couples often have mismatched money styles)
  5. Magical thinking – getting results without a plan.

It makes for interesting reading (hurray for fun anecdotes!) and addresses a lot of the common issues that couples identify (be they dating, engaged, married, or on the verge of divorce) when they use Money Habitudes.

Anderson draws a lot on the work of Dr. Jeffrey Dew, a researcher at Utah State University. We often talk about Jeff’s research within the context of money, finances, dating and marriage. And as a bonus, because we travel in similar circles, we’ve gotten to run into Jeff at a few conferences, most recently at the Financial Therapy Association annual meeting at UGA. He’s a smart guy with a really interesting line of research he’s been pushing forward. Probably the simple stat of his that we cite the most is that money fights predict divorce rates:

Couples who reported disagreeing about finance once a week were over 30 percent more likely to get divorced than couples who reported disagreeing about finances a few times a month.

In his paper, Bank on it: Thrifty Couples are the Happiest, he finds that when a spouse feels the other spends their money foolishly, it increases the likelihood of divorce by 45%.

Of course, if money is an issue in a relationship (and when is it not?), it’s important that couples are able to talk about the difficult topic, understand and respect each other and resolve the issue. That’s what Money Habitudes does, and does so for couples on their own and is also used by couples counselors, financial advisors and the like. At Utah State, the cards are used in a wide variety of ways by professors with their students and by a number of educators in the Cooperative Extension program who do community programming with money and relationships.

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