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Marriage Tension and Money

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This month's Money Magazine had an interesting article asking What's Your Money State of Mind? The article is the result of a survey of 1018 Americans who are 18 or older. The information in the magazine is presented better than the article on the web. It gave more statistics and fewer anecdotal quotes. Regular readers know that I'm more of a statistic guy... anecdotal quotes can be used to show almost anything, even alien abductions.

One particular graphic caught my attention. You'll want to want to click on it for a bigger version that will open up in a new window.

As the graphic reads at the top money is the top source of marital tension. It is both the most frequently argued topic and the source of the most serious arguments.

I would have loved if they could have dug a little deeper on the questions considering it is Money Magazine. It's great to know that Quality Time Together is 30%, but give me more details on the money aspect. What percentage of the arguments are about the lack of money. I'm guessing some 90%, right? What percentage is about good money problems, such as fights about using extra money to buy stock in IBM vs. Lululemon. That's got to be a minority of the arguments, right?

I'm just curious to know those numbers so I don't make too much of a false assumption here that the tension is from a lack of money. Nonetheless, given the recent news about the Americans being unprepared financially, I'm going to go out on a limb and make that assumption. I do that recognizing that lottery winners have their share of money headaches too, it's just of a different variety.

There's an old saying that money can't buy happiness. However, it seems like it can prevent 41% of marital arguments. If that isn't reason enough to take charge of your personal finances, I don't know what is.

Actually, I take that back. I'll give you a few more reasons... the rest of the graphic. If you look at the items almost all of them tie into money.

Household chores are the second most frequent and most serious arguments. We got a cleaning service to take care of much of that every couple of weeks. We still have plenty of chores, but they are much more manageable and very few arguments about them. It is one of our best uses of money.

Quality time together was also cited. The old saying that time is money is apt here. The converse is also true, money is time. Using the example above of hiring a cleaning service, money has bought us time. Hiring a landscaping company can buy time. Hiring a babysitter also buys time. What you do with that time is up to you.

I'm going to skip over raising kids, because I feel that isn't mostly money issue, but more of a parenting strategy one.

Finally there's the question of what's for dinner. Money obviously can solve that by going to a restaurant or hiring a chef to prepare frozen dinners for a week or two.

There's a lot more to marriage than money, but money plays a big role. It's too bad it got put in a small graphic at the bottom of the page. Oh and you are on your own with snoring. Good luck.

Posted on April 9, 2014.

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Couples and Money

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