Does money really cause most relationship breakdowns?

Money isn’t everything. We all know money is important in those areas of life where it is important (such as paying the bills) and not all that important in areas where it is not important, such as relationships etc.

However differences over money are, apparently, at the centre of many relationship difficulties.

An ABS report, “Marriages and Divorces, Australia”, suggests that more than 40% of marriages end in divorce – and that’s not counting failed de facto relationships.

In 2011, 121,752 couples married and 48,935 divorced (a 2.6 per cent decrease in divorce over the previous year).

A recent article on ASIC’s personal finance website MoneySmart quotes research by Relationship Australia showing the four main reasons why relationships suffer are: financial stress, communication difficulties, different expectations and values, and lack of trust.

Of course, these four factors are often indelibly linked.

MoneySmart’s article – headed “Make a date to talk about money”  suggests that couples set aside a time to talk about their finances.

These discussions could cover a couple’s goals (such as having a baby, buying a home, investing and retiring); current financial circumstances; attitudes to saving; who should be responsible for paying certain bills – one partner might may the mortgage while the other pays household expenses; and whether to hold money jointly or separately.

The article quotes a relationship specialist from Relationship Australia as saying:

“It’s not just about money but also what money represents – our way of life, our expectations and our dreams.

“Talking about money,” she adds, “often goes to the heart of what we want out of life and this can make us feel a bit ‘touchy’ and vulnerable. Discussing your financial situation is really the business end of relationships.”

In short, sound money management can really matter in personal relationships.

Source: The Australian


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