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Married Money

Money matters are a leading cause of family conflict. Couples often don't see eye to eye.

Husbands and wives don't see eye to eye when it comes to family finances. Husbands report that the family income is 5 percent more than what wives report. Wives, on the other hand, say that the family debt is $500 more than husbands admit.

Researcher and economist Jay Zagorsky from Ohio State University, tracked 1,195 couples, periodically checking with them to see how their survey answers changed over time. For one thing, money matters are a leading cause of family conflict. In fact, both men and women underestimate their spouse's wealth, reporting $3,300 to $3,500 less in earnings.

"Many therapists believe financial matters are the number one topic of conflict," agrees Susan Heitler, a Denver-based psychologist and author of The Power of Two: Secrets to a Strong and Loving Marriage. "There is a good deal of fighting over money," says Heitler. "Attitudes toward it often mirror the general state of a relationship."