SmartMoney Blogs

Pay Dirt
A daily look at what we buy, how we spend, and the companies that do right - and wrong - by their customers.

Why The Greedy Shouldn’t Marry Each Other


Does your husband or wife want a bigger house or car? Do you? This is one instance where the couple may be better off if they disagree, especially over money. The Juggle, our sister blog on, says a new study by scholars at Brigham Young University looked at more than 1,700 married couples across the U.S. and found that two materialistic spouses are actually not better than one. That runs contrary to popular opinion.

The study, just published in the Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, suggests it may not pay to have a partner in crime on Black Friday. It said that couples who say money is not important to them score about 10% to 15% better on measures of “relationship quality,” which means they fight less and have more stable relationships. Those who both want more, more, more and share material ambitions fared worse: 20% worse than couples with just one materialistic partner.

But some say it’s not the materialism itself that hurts the relationships, but the feelings of worthlessness behind it. Studies have consistently shown that the more materialistic people are, the less happy they are. Research suggests highly materialistic people have lower self-esteem, lower feelings of belonging, and lower feelings of power, says L.J. Shrum, president of the Society for Consumer Psychology. “Thus, it may be the interaction of two people who suffer from these feelings that is driving the marital discord, and not the materialism,” he says.


We welcome thoughtful comments from readers. Please comply with our guidelines. Our blogs do not require the use of your real name.

Comments (0)

    • Be the first to leave a comment on this blog.

About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to or tweet @SMPayDirt.