The 5 Financial Habits Most Likely to Lead to a Divorce

Money issues are the third leading cause of divorce, according to the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts, preceded by incompatibility and infidelity.

The digital economy has made it easier than ever to spend money and engage in bad financial habits. Shopping, investing and gambling promise instant gratification at the click of a mouse. Need more money to indulge in online consumption?  No problem. Sign up online for a credit card, and get approved and start spending in a few minutes.

Of the 16 reasons for divorce cited by Divorce Magazine, four relate directly to financial issues: household debt, shopaholic spouse, gambling spouse, and a spouse who refuses to work. You can avoid marriage problems by being aware of the following five financial issues known to be a predictor of divorce:

Household Debt

When household debt levels surpass disposable income, stress is created in the home. Stress builds as the household takes on more debt to pay current debt. Calls and mail from debtors and collection agencies can add to the daily tension.  Although household debt has surpassed 2008 levels, households are better managing debt. Debt per capita has declined from $53,000 to $48,000. Mortgage debt has fallen since 2008, but credit card and student loan delinquencies are rising.

Low Credit Score

A low credit score is another predictor of divorce. Low credit can certainly add to household financial stress. Low credit means you will be charged a higher interest rate on credit cards, bank loans, mortgages and other debt. Moreover, if your credit is not good, you are likely making payments late and accumulating late fees and charges.

Shopaholic Spouse

With gizmo sites and style bloggers dominating the blogosphere, instagram and other social media, over shopping is breaking up more marriages. The marriage rife is no longer only about overspending. She may be more into her social media life and sharing the latest fashion tips than you.  It’s wise to create and stick to a budget.


The rise of online investing has been a source of friction in many marriages. The conservative spouse places the family money in long-term passive investments via a robo-advisor — automated investment management. The risk-taking spouse actively trades stocks and currencies even though most active investors lose money. He suffers from overconfidence bias – believing he has superior trading skills and/or market information – and is more concerned with monitoring his trades on his smartphone than meaningful discussion in your marriage counselling sessions.


Gambling no longer only takes place in Las Vegas. Casinos have sprung up around the country. The current strong gambling revenue growth is coming from online gaming sites and apps, and social gambling. Your spouse can bet on sporting events on his smartphone anywhere, anytime.

If the person you are dating engages in any or all of these financial habits, you may want to reconsider a future with him or her. There is a high probability financial stress will be part of your daily life and a source of marriage conflict.

If financial stress is already a source of conflict in your marriage, many counselling avenues are available. Both a relationship counselor and financial advisor can help you as a couple gain control of your financial problems; more counselors provide both services.  There are no band-aid solutions. Personal and emotional issues are commonly at the root of money issues. Couples committed to investing in personal and couples therapy can emerge happier and solvent.

Disclosure: The information provided by The Financial Genie is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice. You should consult with an attorney or other professional to determine what may be best for your individual needs. The Financial Genie does not make any guarantee or other promise as to any results that may be obtained from using our content. No one should make any investment decision without first consulting his or her own financial advisor and conducting his or her own research and due diligence. Additionally, some of the organizations with products on our site may pay us a referral fee or affiliate commission when you click to apply for those products.

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