Love & Money: 'War of the Roses' For a New Generation

If only our love lives weren’t so entrenched in our wallets. Unfortunately, like the parents of teen siblings forced to share a room, the economy is pushing unhappy couples into continued cohabitation (“War of the Roses,” anyone?).

Divorce rates in some states are down nearly 20%, and it’s not because everyone’s made peace across the rotten-marriage divide, but because many couples can’t afford to divorce. They have no equity, maybe half of a once-healthy nest egg, and layoffs real or looming, which leaves many who were once ready to head to court quick to take another vow: to stick it out until this economy comes back. Not a bad solution, if only you can stomach it.

Last night we met Neill, who did end up having to move back in with his soon-to-be ex-wife after trying to live on his own. Life got too pricey and Neill now owes over $30,000 in credit card debt, which he consolidated at a fixed rate, and over $35,000 in legal bills. With little in retirement savings, Neill got the prescription to concentrate on that debt and find more money to throw at it, by either cutting down as much as he can and/or getting a second job, then to save for retirement. Not easy, for sure, but necessary to rebuild his life, both financially as well as personally.

If a split is not on your mind, perhaps another contemporary conundrum has ballooned in your house of love: role reversal. (Of course in a time when the #2 candidate for the highest office in the nation was a female, it pains me a tad to acknowledge it but…) 82% of the current layoffs were male. That leaves many families trying things out with a new breadwinner around. No matter how progressive we like to think we are, the truth of the matter is that the past 100 years of the fight for gender equality does not wipe out millennia of ‘Me, hunt. You, gather.”


Tonight on OTM, we’ll discuss how this economy has turned the tables on gender roles—and expectations—and what you can do to make not only your money work, but your relationship. In this economy, we can use all the support we can get.