Do Love and Money Mix?

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February 17, 2021 by Lisa Brammer

February is the month of love so I can’t help but blog about it.  A couple of years ago I took the time to explore that age old question: Can money buy love? And according to the results of both a NerdWallet survey and one conducted by eHarmoney there seems to be a definite correlation between love and money.

Sadly I don’t believe anyone is overly surprised by these findings. But did you know how you handle your finances or how you react to how your partner handles theirs has a direct connection to your happiness as a couple?

According to an American Express Spending & Saving Tracker survey, finances took the number one spot with 33 percent of adults saying that finances are the most stressful facet of their relationship.

I read an article in The Muse by Galia Gichon that refers to this American Express survey.  In it she talks about how sometimes the issue really isn’t money per se. She writes that according to Betsey Stevenson, economics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, “people are not really fighting over money, they’re fighting over an allocation of money.” It’s not necessarily the spending of money that triggers disagreements, it’s what the money was spent on.  It could be as simple as he bought a huge flat-screen but you were saving for a European vacation.   

Unfortunately the American Express survey indicated that these financial disagreements are rarely resolved because a whopping 91 percent of couples “find reasons to avoid talking about finances.” And 80 percent of couples keep secrets from each other about money. 

Knowing what we do about how couples are handling their finances it’s not surprising that Kansas State University researcher, Sonya Brit, says “Arguments about money is by far the top predictor of divorce.  It’s not children, sex, in-laws or anything else.  It’s money—for both men and women.”  Brit, assistant professor of family studies and human services, and program director of personal financial planning conducted a study using data from more than 4500 couples examining the relationship between financial issues and divorce. According to Brit, the study controlled income, debt and net worth. Results revealed it didn’t matter how much people made or how much they were worth.  “Arguments about money are the top predictor for divorce because it happens at all levels.” 

As dismal as all this sounds. There is good news.  Money and love can get along. But you need to do some investigating about what your money issues are and communicate. You might want to start with you both taking the Money Quiz by Olivia Mellan. Once you’ve identified your money types, you might be able to understand where the other person is coming from, making communication about finances more effective and productive.

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