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Can't Buy Me Love?

When it comes to romance, here's proof that money matters

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    It’s true that money can’t buy you love. But in most romantic relationships, love and money are very much intertwined — and not always in harmony. Check out some of these surprising facts about the love/money equation.

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    Marrying for Love… of Money

    Maybe marrying for love instead of money is an old-fashioned idea, or maybe it’s always been a myth. According to a 2007 article in the Wall Street Journal, two-thirds of women and about half of men say they’re “very” or “extremely” willing to marry primarily for money. And what’s the average “price” when marrying for money becomes the key factor? A cool $1.5 million.

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    Arguing about Money

    Whether you marry for money or love, arguing about finances is the No. 1 debate topic in many relationships. A Money magazine poll found that 70 percent of married adults 25 and older —and with annual household incomes of $50,000 or more — argued more about money than just about anything else, including sex, household chores, snoring and even what’s for dinner.   

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    Money Isn’t Everything

    As Anne Murray famously sang in “Danny’s Song,” “Even though we ain’t got money, I’m so in love with you honey.” And apparently there’s some truth to that comforting sentiment. “Couples who say money is not important to them score about 10 to 15 percent better on marriage stability and other measures of relationship quality than couples where one or both are materialistic,” reports ScienceDaily.com.

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    ’til Debt Do We Part

    Entering a marriage or other relationship with a lot of personal debt can be an uphill battle in terms of making the relationship work, with 20 percent of divorces occurring within the first five years of marriage. Not surprisingly, the greater the amount of personal debt of those spouses entering a marriage, the lower the marital satisfaction and higher the chance of divorce.

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    Financial Infidelity

    Lying to your romantic partner about financial matters is pretty common, even if couples combine their finances and manage them jointly. A poll commissioned by ForbesWoman and the National Endowment for Financial Education found that 31 percent of couples with combined finances admitted to lying to partners about money matters.

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    Get a Job before You Buy a Ring

    If you’re a guy thinking about popping the question, you’re probably wasting your time unless you have a steady job first. According to a survey done by YourTango and ForbesWoman, 75 percent of women said they wouldn’t marry a man without a job. That’s a little ironic, since 91 percent of single women in that same survey said that they would marry for love more than money.

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    Who’s Planning for Retirement?

    That seems to be an issue of some debate among many couples. According to a survey by the BMO Financial Group, men are twice as likely to say that they are primarily responsible for planning and saving for retirement. Yet at the same time, an equal proportion of wives insist that they are the ones who are primarily in charge of retirement planning and savings. Hopefully, it’s not like calling a fly ball where neither player ends up making the catch.

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    What You Don’t Know

    According to a study by American Express, 91 percent of those surveyed admit to finding excuses to avoid talking about money with their partners, with couples saying they are more likely to know their partner’s weight than their salary. Another interesting tidbit from the study: $275 is the average threshold amount at which most couples feel a need to consult their partner before making a purchase.   

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    Shopping Therapy

    According to the website sheconomics.com, 34 percent of women admit to hitting the stores for some “retail therapy” when things aren’t going well with their partners. But remember this, guys: About 1 in 5 of those disgruntled mates say that they would spend less or skip the shopping sprees entirely if their partner simply paid more attention to them.

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    Communications Is the Key

    A 2016 study by Ameriprise Financial offers a more optimistic outlook on the prospects for couples to keep finances from ruining their relationships. They found that 70 percent of couples say they have “good communications” about money — as opposed to “arguments” — even though the partners don’t always see eye to eye on money matters. Another aspect of good communication: More than half of the couples surveyed were working with a financial adviser, and it’s something they prefer to do together. 

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    Times Have Changed

    Last but not least, a survey by Esquire magazine found that 51 percent of women now offer to pick up the dinner check on a first date. Too bad my last date was 35 years ago.
     

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