How Financial Habits Impact Relationships
Financial struggles are a strong source of tension among married couples. According to a new study from Ramsey Solutions, “money is the number one issue married couples argue about” and financial difficulties are the second leading cause of divorce in America.
Money-related conversations are stressful, but they can also be the secret to a long-lasting relationship. 94% of respondents who were in a “great” marriage discussed their financial dreams with their spouses, and 87% work together to set long-term financial goals. By comparison, only 45% of couples in “okay” or “in crisis” marriages talk about money dreams.
Debt is among the biggest money issues in marriage, but 63% of marriages start off with debt. 41% of couples with consumer debt, mostly credit card bills, say money is the topic they argue about most. Only 25% of couples without debt argue about money, and “money doesn’t even make the top-five list of things debt-free couples argue about.”
A separate study from SunTrust Banks showed that finances are a “top stressor” among couples with stress, and one in seven people have ended a relationship altogether because of financial discrepancies. This survey also revealed that couples may have unbalanced perspectives about their household spending habits. 28% said “I save but my partner spends,” but only 13% said “I spend but my partner saves.”
So, what’s the secret to a successful marriage? One factor is talking about money, even when it is uncomfortable. 31% of adults in relationships say hiding credit card or bank accounts is worse than physically cheating on your spouse, but 27% of couples have separate accounts to avoid money fights.
If you are going to maintain separate accounts, be transparent about your spending habits. Plan for large purchases together, and more importantly, create a debt pay-off plan that will relieve stress on your household. The more in control you are as a couple, the less likely you are to fight about finances.