Need some relationship advice you can take to the bank? This excellent blog posting describes a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of California-San Diego (UCSD) and published in June in The Economic Journal analyzed data collected on 5,300 German couples between 2004 and 2017. An annual questionnaire given to participants asked how likely they were to take risks in everything from career choices and driving to sports and financial decisions.
Researchers then adjusted for certain control characteristics within couples, such as differences in levels of education, cultural backgrounds, different religions, and region of origin. They found that differences in risk preferences between spouses were the most reliable predictor of whether or not a couple stayed together. However, the data found financial risk to be the top dividing issue, with divorce twice as likely when one spouse disagreed with the other on how carefully to spend money.
But just like anything else in relationships, the way someone approaches money and their willingness to take financial risks aren't exactly lifelong characteristics. The study also found that spouses tended to become more like one another over time and that overall views could change. In fact, the results showed that many spouses became more fiscally responsible as a couple overall during the 2009 global recession and that the same marriages were less likely to end in a divorce down the road.