Since Adam and Eve, every couple has had arguments in their relationship. But the topics of the arguments are an accurate predictor of divorce risk.
In a study of more than 4,500 couples by Kansas State University (for the National Survey of Families and Households), money, finances and debt are the big red flags to trouble. In previous studies, it’s been found that 70% of couples can’t go a week without a money-issues related fight.
In the words of Sonya Britt, assistant professor of family studies, “arguments about money is by far the top predictor of divorce.” That’s not actually breaking news, but just one more study to confirm what’s been known for decades.
The study actually controlled for income, debt, and net worth. It didn’t matter how much you made or how much wealth you had. Arguments about money are the top predictor for divorce because it happens at all income and wealth levels. Money arguments last longer, they’re more intense and it takes a lot longer to recover from them in any relationship.
The study found that the predictor is accurate right from the start of a marriage. No matter how long ago that was, money fights plummet the quality of a relationship. Then, the increased stress, even setting aside the impact on kids, leads to even less financial planning, less getting onto the same page, and exasperates the situation.
The Money Tools book has an entire section on relationships. The before, the during, and the after – if sadly it comes to that. The basics are that each couple needs to:
-have a joint bank account – yes, some don’t and it works fine, but for most it just becomes a ‘my money’ and ‘your money’ when relationships are about US as a couple and a team
-have their own ‘me’ money to blow or save. Whether it’s $30 or $300 – then nobody starts with ‘you spent WHAT on a manicure’ or how can you waste that much on dinner with your buddies.’
-have an agreement on what debts you’re working on paying off, and which ones you’re fine with at minimum payments, such as a credit line or the car or mortgage.
George Boelcke – Money Tools & Rules book – yourmoneybook.com