Four Causes of Money Problems in a Marriage



Lonnie R. Mathews, Contributing Writer

The truth is that marriage can be tough.  Things will not always go as planned and there can be difficulties.  One of the main reasons for contention in a marriage is money. After doing a little research, I found that 70% of couples surveyed said they argue about money.  Depending on the couple’s age, the arguments tend to be a bit more frequent (as much as 80%) for individuals between the ages of 35 and 44 years old.

55% of those polled complained about how their spouse spends money, and 20% surveyed said they hide spending from their spouse.  Who hasn’t purchased something that you figure your spouse may not approve of and decide to just deal with the consequences later?  This type of thing happens more often than you might think.

I recently did a webinar that discussed five things every couple should know regarding money.  As a follow-up, I want to share the four causes of money problems in a marriage. By looking at the most common causes of problems in a marriage when it comes to money, this will help you and your spouse be on the same page.

No Financial Goals

Just like you should have financial goals as a single person, it is even more important to have goals as a couple.  Many couples find themselves driving down the financial highway of nowhere, wondering why their finances are out of order.  Having mutual financial goals will allow you to be one with your spouse, helping you to secure your family’s financial future.

Conflicting Values

Your money personality could be one of the greatest influences on how you handle money. Often times our values when it comes to money are deeply rooted in how we were raised. If you were raised in a family where spending was done frequently, then you will tend to be a spender compared to someone who may have been raised in a home where saving was a guiding principle.

Trying to Keep up With Your Friends

We all have those friends who seem to have a little more in the bank than most.  They live a lavish lifestyle with the latest gadgets, the newest cars and are always eating out at the fanciest restaurants.  Looks can be deceiving, as some are living beyond their means.  Don’t allow how others spend money to add pressure for you to live a lifestyle that you cannot afford.  When the spending habits of others dictate how you spend, you can cause problems in your marriage.  Don’t compete with others and put your financial goals at risk.

Living Separate Financial Lives

Sometimes when spouses can’t seem to work together or agree about the family finances, the simple solution seems to be “you pay your bills and I will pay mine.”  While this may seem like the right thing to do to keep from arguing about money, other problems can arise as a result of this decision.  Over time, one spouse may have resentment towards the other regarding extravagant purchases, also dividing the spending and saving power of the couple.  Don’t live separate financial lives, making it difficult to reach your mutual financial goal and possibly causing other problems in the marriage.

Like any other area in your marriage, communication is also key when it comes to money. The important thing to remember is to not let money issues wreak havoc in your marriage and replace the love and happiness that you have for your spouse.  Have a plan as a couple to be financially successful and consistently communicate with your spouse.  When you live within your budget, you can meet financial goals and enjoy your lifestyle more together as a couple.  If there are money problems in the marriage, focus on solutions.  Work together with your spouse to build a solid financial future.

Lonnie R. Mathews wrote this article for the Who’s Minding Your Money blog. Lonnie is an author and speaker in the area of personal finance. To learn more about Lonnie or to contact him, please visit




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