Couple on Family Budgeting

Couples who disagree on finances more likely to divorce ─Study

*Experts says consumers’ attitudes are capable of changing over time, especially for newer couples, who may not be able to see eye to eye on financial matters

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Researchers from the University of California at San Diego, in the United States, in a fresh study explored an important factor that could come between married couples.

The study findings revealed that couples who do not agree on financial risks may be more likely to get separated or divorced than those who are on the same page about those decisions.

Researcher Marta Serra-Garcia said: “Arguing about money is typically cited as a reason for divorce, but a main potential driver of these fights is differences in risk attitudes.

“Risk attitudes determine investment decisions, such as housing for the family. If spouses have different risk preferences, they will often disagree on common and very important investments in the marriage.”

In putting a burden on relationships for the study, the researchers analysed responses from 5,300 couples in Germany who were surveyed by the German Socio-Economic Panel from 2014 through 2017.

The survey questions focused on the participants’ risk-taking behaviors in several areas of life, including their finances.

Eventually, according to researchers, it was clear that couples were more likely to separate when they felt differently about taking finance-based risks.

Couples, who disagreed the most on finances, were twice as likely to get divorced compared to those who had the most in common in this area.

Disagreeing on other risk-taking behaviors, including career decisions and driving habits, didn’t impact the participants’ relationships long term.

Serra-Garcia further stated: “On the one hand, households share common goods, such as housing, and for that similarity in risk attitudes is optimal.

“On the other hand, households share two sources of income, and income is typically risky.

“Since spouses pool their incomes, if one has a less reliable stream than the other, differences in risk attitudes can be optimal because they can ‘insure’ each other, but this can also be a source of tension for marriages.”

Benefits of being together longer

The researchers have noted that consumers’ attitudes are capable of changing over time, especially for newer couples.

There is a strong possibility that couples’ beliefs about financial risks start to become more similar the longer they’re together, which the researchers explained can bode well for relationships.

Moving forward, the researchers hope these findings can benefit consumers who are still looking to be coupled up.

“Online dating websites often design algorithms that attempt to find the optimal match.

“If such websites suggested matches between individuals who are similar in their risk attitudes, that could decrease the likelihood that if a couple forms, it will dissolve in the future,” said Serra-Garcia.

Kindly Share This Story