Forget about the size of the wedding or the age at which someone got married – statistically speaking, the number one thing that predicts a divorce is whether or not a couple has a lot of financial disagreements.
This is not the same thing as having financial problems. While mounting bills, job losses and other sources of financial strain can definitely cause couples some financial stress, the real issues that crop up around money go much deeper.
Financial disagreements come in several different forms
According to data by TD Ameritrade, roughly 29% of divorced Baby Boomers and 41% of divorced Gen Xers ended their marriages over disagreements related to money. The disagreements included things like:
- One spouse spent money too freely: This could involve a shopping addiction, gambling or just generally having “champaign tastes” without the budget to support a lavish lifestyle.
- One spouse refused to spend enough money: This could involve serious penny-pinching, to the point that life becomes uncomfortable for their spouse – or it could involve one spouse controlling all the household money and keeping the other financially dependent.
- One (or both) spouses lied about money matters: This can include anything from keeping secret bank accounts and investments from a spouse to hiding credit card bills.
- The couple had vastly different financial priorities: This could simply be a case of one person “living for the moment” while the other is dedicated to stockpiling money reserves for a rainy day. Or, it could involve someone who wants a big house and an expensive car, while their spouse values leisure time and experiences – putting them on a collision course when it comes to lifestyle goals.
If you’ve come to the conclusion that you and your spouse are simply financially incompatible, the odds are high that you’re incompatible in several ways. It may be time to seek more information about the divorce process.