Why Couples Struggle With Money and How to Overcome the Challenges

With Dr. Jenny Olson | Assistant Professor of Marketing |


Dr. Jenny Olson explores the complexities of financial decision-making among couples. She talks about why people with different spending habits often end up together and what challenges that brings. Dr. Olson also explains ‘financial infidelity’—that’s when someone hides or lies about money matters.

Dr. Olson discusses the reasons people might hide their spending or debts, from wanting more control to simply trying to dodge an argument. She highlights the importance of having open conversations, really understanding your partner’s financial perspective, and getting to the heart of their concerns.

She also sheds light on how income affects how generous we are and how we view our partners financially. Towards the end, she offers some practical tips on managing money better together, aiming for a relationship where both partners are on the same page financially.


Dr. Jenny Olson serves as an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. Her academic research delves into consumer behaviour within interpersonal settings, focusing particularly on two main areas: consumer financial decision-making—exploring how romantic couples navigate their financial choices—and social cognition and inferential processes—investigating how individuals assess others’ consumption decisions. Dr. Olson’s influential work has been featured in esteemed journals such as the Journal of Consumer Research, the International Journal of Research in Marketing, and the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research. Her research has also attracted widespread attention from the media, with coverage in major publications including The Atlantic, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Huffington Post, New York Times, NPR, Time Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal, highlighting her significant contributions to the field of consumer behaviour.


  • Opposites often attract in financial decision-making within partnerships, leading to lower financial harmony and potential tension.
  • Confidence and perceived control play significant roles in influencing financial decisions within relationships.
  • Open communication and transparency are crucial for achieving financial harmony and aligning goals and values.
  • Financial infidelity, defined as intentionally engaging in disapproved financial behavior and actively concealing it, can have negative impacts on financial well-being and relationship satisfaction.


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