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Are you married to a spender?

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Whether you’re the bread winner or the bread maker in your family, financial security is probably important to you.

But what if it isn’t as important to your partner?

Assistant Professor Jeffrey Dew of Utah State University did a research project on how money affects family relationships. He found that even though people look to marry other people with the similar ideals, this does not apply to money.

Couples who are otherwise very similar in personality, come from the same backgrounds, and have similar goals in life often find that they do not agree on how much money to spend and how often.

He further found that in couples that had been recently married, husbands and wives rated their marriage as less fulfilling when disagreements came up about money.

“High debt levels may relate to recently married couples' marital quality,” Dew said in one of his studies. “Indeed, debt predicts increases in marital conflict, and newlyweds rated debt as their second highest marital concern in a recent survey.”

And it’s not just newlyweds that stress over money.

Dew says that even couples that are considered to be wealthy or high earners have divorced over disagreements regarding money.

Journalist Laura Coffey of gives some tips to help a disagreement over an expenditure not turn into a divorce.

Couples thinking about getting married should be honest and talk through their credit scores, finances, and expected future financial goals together.

That way everyone knows what they are getting into.

Say that you would like to buy a house before you have children, and you would like to have children before you are 35 years old. Your partner should know all this before the wedding. And you should know your partner’s credit score, so you are not blindsided when you go to apply for a mortgage down the road.

But let us say that you are already married, and you are just now having disagreements over how money should be spent.

The best thing to do is sit down together and write out a budget.

Separate your fixed spending and your discretionary spending says Coffey.

Fixed spending would be rent, while discretionary spending would be money for date night or a new laptop.

If you still can’t agree on whether to work on your debt or be looser with your spending money, hiring a financial advisor and a family therapist might save you a little money in the long run.



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