Even if your relationship is going well, money matters will eventually cause some friction between you and your love; it’s just a matter of time. The key is how you respond to each of these financial challenges. It will be important for you to get on the same page because the future of your relationship could depend on it. “How you manage the financial conflicts that arise—and they will—determines how successful you are in preserving love. It also determines whether you effectively keep your financial life on track or allow the discord to breed contempt, anger, and frustration — maybe even divorce,” said financial expert Jeff D. Opdyke.
Here are the top five money issues that are most likely to determine whether your relationship will survive the test of time.
1. The frequency of your money fights
Do you and your partner seem to fight often about money? Research suggests frequent arguments about finances can put significant strain on a relationship. A Kansas State University study found frequent money fights tend to be linked to higher divorce rates. And since frequent arguments about money affect all income levels, the researchers consider the frequency of money fights to be a top divorce indicator. If you’re concerned about financial arguments destroying your union, University of North Carolina researchers say communication between you and your partner is vital. Having regular discussions about your household finances can help you stay aligned with your financial goals and reduce tension.
2. How much debt you have
Are you drowning in debt? Most of your money arguments are likely about your inability to dig out of this debt, your spending habits, or both. Your arguments might even be quite heated if you’ve been hiding your debt. Large debts shouldn’t be taken lightly. Personal finance expert Lynnette Khalfani-Cox warns debt can destroy your relationship.
Forget about lying, sexual incompatibility or infidelity. The real threat to your relationship may be your (or your partner’s) tendency to splurge on things that are outside your budget … the consequences of rampant over-spending — especially when using credit — are enormous. Not only are credit card delinquencies, bankruptcies and foreclosures on the rise, debt is even a huge factor in families being split apart.
3. Household income
Are you rich? You’re in luck. Researchers discovered if you have a high household income, your chances of staying married are much better. For example, couples with household incomes of $125,000 or more are 51% less likely to get divorced than a couple making less than $25,000. So having a high household income could be the cure for what ails your relationship. This could be due to fewer arguments over money issues. More money may mean reduced relationship strain because you’ll likely have less to argue about and less of a reason to hide major purchases.
4. Lying about your finances
Lying to your partner is usually not a great idea. This type of behavior can shatter trust and cause complications in your relationship. Research shows that when the lie is about money, most people have a very low tolerance. Telling a financial lie (whether outright or by omission) can cause your partner to pump the brakes on your marriage. Roughly 70% of married respondents said they would seriously consider breaking up with their partner if they ever found out their spouse was lying about a debt more than $5,000, according to a Haven Life study.
5. Opposing financial values
Are you a saver but your spouse is a spender? Living with someone who is a little too relaxed when it comes to financial management can put strain on the relationship. As the number of your money fights increases and frustrations grow, you just might decide to call it quits. If you don’t believe financial values matter, you may want to rethink that. Studies have shown that financial responsibility is enough to snag a new love. In a study titled “A Penny Saved is a Partner Earned”, researchers found that savers are seen as more attractive partners.