Dough. Dinero. Moolah. If it’s not the root of all evil, money is at least the root of most marital spats. (Roughly 70 percent of marrieds say money causes the majority of their bickering, according to a new nationwide survey conducted by the magazine Money.) That’s probably not a huge shocker. But this is: About 56 percent of men who make the same or less than their spouses reported a “hot” or “very good” sex life, versus just 44 percent of husbands who out-earn their wives. (Read: If you make more, the sex is hotter!) Guys who make the same or less are also about 15 percent more likely to rate their marriages as “happy” compared to men who earn the lion’s share of the family income, the survey finds.
What gives? “I think part of it may be that, for guys, there’s often a lot of pressure on them to produce, and to be the breadwinner,” says Karen Sherman, Ph.D., a relationship psychologist and author of Marriage Magic. “That burden can create stress that has a negative effect on their happiness and their sex lives.” But if the woman in the relationship is making as much as or more than her husband, he may not feel so much pressure to produce, Sherman speculates.
Diane Harris, executive editor of Money, agrees. “Both men and women married to partners who made roughly the same salary reported the hottest romantic life,” Harris says. “We think it's because they feel like true partners—that they're a team taking care of the finances together. That breeds extra closeness in and out of the bedroom.”
Regardless of who earns more, Harris says sharing the management of your household’s income means you and your partner are both responsible for the big financial decisions, so no one person has to carry that pressure alone. “When you feel less pressure about money, you feel closer, as our survey shows,” she adds.
Other interesting tidbits from the Money survey:
- Couples who have children tend to argue more about their finances than childless couples. Also, the older you get, the less likely you are to fight about money. (Yay!)
- Sixty-three percent of men say they’re the primary decision maker when it comes to investments, while only 23 percent of women say likewise. So, we say it’s time to speak up!
- When it comes to getting deals (as opposed to retirement planning and bill paying), 34 percent of husbands admit their wives are often the better barterers. (Thank you, Gilt.)