How Financial Stress Can Affect Your Relationship
When it comes to stress in relationships, money often plays a pretty significant role. Money problems are stressful in and of themselves, but combine that with the fact that so few people are willing to have open, frank conversations about finances, then things can get really ugly.
"No matter what their financial situation, couples need to take time to determine their money philosophy, both individually . . . and as a couple," Jamie Traeger-Muney, a wealth psychologist, tells Bustle. "The couple needs to take time to determine what approach will feel the most fair."
Sounds simple enough, right? But it's easier said than done. And a recent national survey from Experian looked at 500 adults who had been divorced in the last five years and, well, money is a major concern. In fact, 59 percent said finances played somewhat of a role in their divorce — and 20 percent said it played a big role, which isn't great. Even more worrying, 71 percent of women and 60 percent of men said that their former spouses spending habits ended up being different than they thought they would be before they were married, showing a serious lack of open communication.
Here's what else Experian learned in their survey, because it'll make you want to create a money spreadsheet with your partner ASAP:
1. Almost 60 Percent Wish They Had Been More Financially Independent
2. Half Said Their Spouse Ran Up Credit Card Debt... On Joint Accounts
You can never be too careful. No matter how much you trust someone, you need to be protecting yourself. If 50 percent of people have had their credit cards spent up by their spouse, that's pretty worrying.
3. Over Half Said Their Spouse Spent Too Much Money
4. Almost Half Said Their Credit Score Got Worse During Their Marriage
This one is worrying because it has serious consequences: 49 percent said their credit score was damaged during their marriage. It's no wonder 36 percent said their spouse's credit score was a source of stress.
5. Over Half Just Didn't Have Financial Compatibility
It's not just about the amount of money that you have — attitudes toward money can make a difference, whether you're rich or broke. Fifty-three percent said they hadn't been compatible with their former spouse financially. Those tensions and resentments can add up quick.
Don't let these stats scare you. Instead, look at these stats as a reminder of why you need to be open and honest about money. Because whether you're rich or poor, it could save your relationship.