A recent study from Kansas State University confirmed what common knowledge has known for quite some time — finances are the biggest reason that a couple decides to file for divorce. However, KSU went a bit further in its survey of 4,500 couples and discovered some further reasons for why that is.
According to the responses, finances are probably a big precursor to divorce papers for a few reasons:
They’re not just about having too little.
In other words, money fights even affect couples with solid financial footing. There is no real sense of security. It could be over how one spends money. How they save it. How they manage. Nothing is immune, and so there isn’t a dollar figure that you can make where the worry is gone once and for all.
Money fights last longer and have a longer recovery period.
Couples are unable to fix the matter with a simple, “I’m sorry,” or a “You’re right, I’m wrong.” That’s because financial behaviors are deeply ingrained. Other studies have shown that if you come from poverty, the mindset of “Spend it now while you still can,” follows you to other financial classifications no matter how much money you earn. In contrast, wealth mindsets tend to withhold spending and opt for growing investments. Either of these mindsets, taken to the extreme, can greatly reduce one’s enjoyment of life.
Finally, couples fight meaner when it comes to money.
As an extension of number two, couples who attack money behaviors in their partners are also attacking their spouse’s beliefs and heritage. We learn how to deal with money from watching our parents and, later, from formalized education and entering the workforce. Criticisms cut through the actual money behaviors to the core of who a person is.
The things to remember:
If you’re concerned about the money fight — and studies like this one indicate you should be — the best thing to do is to not avoid it early on and wait for it to rear its head during the marriage. Instead you should be upfront about your expectations and see a financial planner prior to saying, “I do.” Talk about it early, and make decisions with the input of your partner. This can help both of you avoid turning to the divorce forms later in life.