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Ten Things You Need to Know Before You Argue About Money

Arguments about money are the top predictor of divorce... Couples who disagree about finance once a week are over 30% more likely to get divorced than couples who disagree about finances a few times a month.

1. Arguments about money are the top predictor of divorce (Dew, Britt, & Huston, 2012). Couples who disagree about finance once a week are over 30% more likely to get divorced than couples who disagree about finances a few times a month (Dew, 2009).

2. Sometimes couples argue about money because it is an easy hook for deeper conflict, but in the current economic climate, couples are arguing about money because they haven't got any.

3. Real wages for the majority have declined and personal debt in Britain has reached £1.4 trillion, which is almost the same amount as our national economic output (Office for National Statistics, 2013).

4. Outstanding debt on credit cards has almost trebled since 1998 to reach £55.6 billion and short-term credit from payday lenders, pawnbrokers and doorstop lenders is now worth £4.8 billion a year. More than 1.4 million people in the UK have no access to a bank account and are effectively excluded from the entire financial sector.

5. Trying to raise a family when you are skint magnifies stress exponentially. Although unemployment has declined, more people are working in conditions that drain, rather than build, their mental and physical reserves (Butterworth et al., 2011, Davis, 2012). For example, the share of the working population employed as domestic servants is the same now as it was in the 1860s (Elliot & Atkinson, 2007).

6. Having a job is no longer a guaranteed route out of poverty either. Nearly half (1.8 million) of children in poverty now live in families where there is someone in work (Harker, 2006). This represents nearly a fifth of all children in working families (Joseph Rowntree Foundation 2008).

7. And needless to say, Santa doesn't deliver to the 25% of British children who live below the official poverty line. In London, that figure is 37% (Child Poverty Action Group, 2013).

8. Austerity policies which have reduced wages, cut benefits, squeezed healthcare and wiped out whole swathes of public service have had a hugely negative impact on people's quality of life. However it is almost certainly a false economy because the more financial pressure people are put under, the more likely their relationships are to fail.

9. The cost of relationship breakdown is not simply financial. There is an unequivocal association between relationship breakdown and poorer physical and mental health. It also predicts poor outcomes for children, in particular, poverty and socioeconomic disadvantage, but also, physical ill-health, psychological ill-health, lower educational achievement, substance misuse and other health-damaging behaviours, and behavioural problems including conduct disorder, antisocial behaviour and crime

10. There are only sixty four million people in the UK, yet it is estimated that family breakdown costs taxpayers almost £50 billion a year (Relationships Foundation, 2013). Since there is a direct relationship between financial conflict and relationship breakdown, alleviating money worries would be one concrete way of supporting families. Divide £50 billion pounds by sixty four million people and you get £78,125 per person. You also get stronger family units, happier children, better adult mental and physical adult health, cheaper NHS bills, lower housing costs and a more stable society.

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