You could save on auto insurance when you complete the AARP Safe Driving course! Use code BELLS to save 25 percent now.
by Joan Rattner Heilman, AARP Bulletin, June 29, 2010
If you and your spouse fight about money, watch out. Frequent conflict over finances is a top predictor of divorce.
Couples who argue about finances once a week are more than 30 percent more likely to divorce than those who battle over money one to three times a month, say the authors of “The State of Our Unions,” an annual report by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values.
If either partner in a marriage feels the other spends money foolishly and irrationally, the likelihood of divorce continues to rise, according to W. Bradford Wilcox, a sociology professor at the University of Virginia and editor of the report. “Big debts are a real drag on marriage, especially during hard economic times.”
And so is a lack of assets. People who have no assets are 70 percent more likely to divorce than those who have assets worth $10,000. What that means, the report concludes, is that couples who spend beyond their means and don’t build up their worth are less likely to stick together.
It’s bad news for working-class men with no college education. Such men have been seriously hit by the decline in the job market since 2007.
Happiness with marriage varies, too, with how many hours each spouse works and who brings home the most bacon. Men whose wives work longer hours than they do are less content and much more likely to be contemplating an exit.
All in all, money disagreements are outranked only by infidelity and alcohol or drug abuse as sinkers of marriage.
Despite the recent economic downturn, the report found that the divorce rate fell slightly during the first year of the recession, from 17.5 divorces per 1,000 married women in 2007 to 16.9 in 2008.
The decline has led some experts to say that economic problems may cause couples to delay divorce.
Or, says Wilcox, maybe it forces them to stick together. Marriage is regarded by many couples as one of society’s best social insurance plans, he says.
Joan Rattner Heilman writes on consumer issues.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Members save 25% on their first healthy meal delivery order of 99+.
Exclusive program for members from The Hartford.
Get tips and resources to protect yourself from fraud and see the latest scam alerts in your state.
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at