HOUSTON (FOX 26) - It's no secret that conflicts over money is one of the leading causes of stress and divorce in America. It could mean that the more money you earn, the more trouble to come in your marriage.
Financial experts say they see too many couples with a lot of money, but nothing to show for it. They may struggle because their monthly expenses are too high and they're not saving for retirement. In addition, oftentimes a high earning partner may have a spouse that opts not to work as a result, which can lead to conflict.
"If a couple gets into the marriage with unequal credit scores, they're more likely to break up within the first five years," said financial expert Fern Dawkins, citing an MSNBC article. "That made a lot of sense, the person with the better score would have the burden of the mortgage...I could see that leading to a bunch of problems."
How can couples avoid these problems? Honesty and communication is key. Be educated about your partner's situation so that you can be well prepared for the future.
"I think you should go into any situation, especially marriage, with eyes open, and understanding what that person's financial health is," said financial expert Christopher Dawkins. "Because credit scores are representative of so much, you need to consider it seriously and think about that path."
However, many couples contemplating that next step often have trouble starting the conversation with their partner about personal finances. Many see it as a minefield difficult to navigate properly.
"I think it should ultimately become a less sensitive subject. Finances, they're just numbers. If you're committed to someone for the rest of your life, it's just a topic you have to discuss. What's more important is being honest about what your values are," said Fern.
Money problems can wreak havoc on couples that are unequal earners, or where one partner doesn't work, but Fern says this shouldn't be the case.
"In high income earners, there tends to be one spouse that doesn't work, and that can change dynamics in the marriage," says Fern. "Managing expectations at the forefront about how you'll spend and earn money is critical. It shouldn't matter who is earning more, it's about being on the same page from the get-go."
Their big takeaways? Talk about finances often, find the middle ground, and don't be afraid of it.