New Study Co-Authored by William Paterson University Business Professor Proves Money Can't Buy Love for Materialistic Married Couples

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Materialistic couples do not benefit from their love of money in terms of their relationship, according to a new study conducted by William Paterson University and Brigham Young University scholars. 

Lukas R. Dean, assistant professor of economics, finance, and global business at William Paterson University, and three BYU scholars, Dean M. Busby, Lindsey L. Call and Jason S. Carroll, studied more than 1,700 married couples across the country to determine how their attitudes toward money affected their relationships. Couples completed a questionnaire that evaluated their marriage based on their value of “money and other things.” Dean teaches financial planning at William Paterson’s Cotsakos College of Business.

The study, published this week in the “Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy,” found couples who say money is not important measured 10 to 15 percent better on relationship quality than couples where both or one spouse was materialistic.

A lack of research done to examine “possible relationships between materialistic attitudes, perceived financial problems, and marital outcomes,” prompted this study.

One finding in the study surprised Dean: “Having similar characteristics and values tends to be an asset in relationships. However, this research suggests that if both spouses place too much of an emphasis on money and material things—it is a huge liability.”

These findings support the notion that materialism is both indirectly and directly related to marital satisfaction.

Money proved to be a bigger source of conflict in one out of every five couples where both partners admitted a strong love of money, even though these couples were financially stable. The negative effects of materialism become a problem regardless of income level.

10/20/11