American love lives worst hit by economic woes: poll

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Economic woes are taking a toll on marriages and relationships around the globe but the love lives of Americans seem to be most stressed by the recession, according to an international poll.

Nearly 30 percent of Americans claim the recession has added stress, strained or ruined their relationship or marriage, compared to 23 percent of Canadians, 24 percent of the French and 12 percent of Germans.

Americans also believe they will have to work an additional 10 years before being able to retire thanks to the downturn, which is longer than Europeans or Canadians.

“Whether it’s at home, in the boardroom or in the car showroom, people around the globe are affected by the recession,” said Arkadi Kuhlmann, the president of ING Direct USA, which commissioned the poll.

“The long term benefit is that people are cutting costs, saving more money, and learning to build a financial buffer for their future. Clearly, some of these global trends need to become a habit,” he added in a statement.

Europeans are more concerned about accumulating a nest egg, with 53 percent of Austrians and 43 percent of the French saying having a financial buffer was an important goal, compared to 35 percent of Americans.

The online survey of 1,052 adults conducted in Canada, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Australia also showed Americans are worried about credit card debt.

Nearly half of Americans said they avoid using their credit card as a means to save money, compared to just 11 percent of Germans and 17 percent of Italians.

Cooking at home and bringing lunch to work were other money savers popular with Americans and Canadians, but only 20 percent of Italians listed it as a way to save money.

Americans and Britons share the same love of cars. When asked to name the last three things they would sacrifice to save money 30 percent of both nationalities said cars, compared to 14 percent of Italians and 18 percent of Spaniards.