Financial issues that are leading predictors of divorce

Financial issues are a leading cause of divorce, surpassed only by incompatibility and infidelity, according to the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts. Of course, financial issues among couples are many and varied.

Certain issues, however, are more likely to lead to divorce than others. Following are five, according to Divorce Magazine:

A shopaholic spouse: It's easier to spend money than ever. Many of us do it online and in stores while rarely touching cash. The temptations to buy are everywhere. Having a budget in place, at least for your joint money, can help couples stay on track.

Investing strategy differences: Just as with shopping, the Internet has made investing easy. In just a few minutes, you can move your money around based on a "hot" investment tip. Some people are more adventurous with their investing than their spouses. However, it's essential to have an overall strategy with a mix of safe, long-term investments and riskier (hopefully higher reward) investments that you can agree on and stick to.

Household debt: Sometimes, everyday expenses simply overwhelm a couple's income. If that happens, it's important to seek financial guidance to develop a plan to get back on track. Otherwise, your financial struggles can lead to serious marital conflict.

Low credit score: Even if you had a sterling credit score when you got married, if your spouse didn't, it can drag yours down once you obtain joint loans and bank accounts. A low credit score can also result from bad financial decisions or financial difficulties after marriage. Whatever the reason, a low credit score is one key predictor of divorce.

Gambling: A husband's weekly poker game with the guys probably isn't going to lead to a problem, nor is a wife's occasional trip to Atlantic City with her friends. However, people can develop serious gambling problems, and often try to hide them from their spouse until they no longer can. Gambling online is easier than ever. Sometimes people who never thought of themselves as "gamblers" wind up owing thousands of dollars and endangering their family's financial well-being.

The more you know about your partner's financial situation, spending habits and overall views about money before you marry, the less likely you are to face these problems. That's just one reason why a prenuptial agreement is wise. It necessitates a discussion of current and future spending and saving habits and goals.

Source:, "The 5 financial habits most likely to lead to a divorce," June 19, 2017

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