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Dating & Relationships

Study: Couples that share bank accounts happier than those with separate accounts

Scientists at Cornell University have found those who save together tend to stay together.

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Horizontal view of couple having empty wallet
(Photo by ESB Professional via Shutterstock)

By Tom Campbell via SWNS

Couples that save together stay together, scientists have found.

Having a joint-bank account boosts couples' happiness compared to those who keep their affairs separate, according to a new study.

Couples in a long-term relationship are often faced with the decision of whether to pool their finances.

While some chose to combine all of their savings, others keep a separate pot in case the relationship goes south.

Now scientists at Cornell University have found those who save together tend to stay together.

Co-author Dr. Emily Garbinsky says: "We expected pooled finances to increase one’s level of dependence on their partner, as well as align the couple’s financial interests and goals, things that interdependence theory tells us are associated with high levels of relationship quality.

"It is our hope that by identifying who is likely to benefit most from pooling finances, and why, research in this area can help couples both decide how to organize their finances to maximize relationship quality and ultimately improve their well-being."

The researchers analyzed primary and secondary data from six studies to see whether couples benefited from combining bank accounts.

They found that those who pooled all their money had higher levels of satisfaction and were, therefore, less likely to break up.

Couples who combined their wealth also had a better connection and their interactions were more positive, stable and safe.

The benefits of having a joint account were particularly strong among couples with little financial resources.

The researchers also analyzed survey data from broad population samples in the United States, United Kingdom and Japan.

Combining finances led to higher levels of satisfaction for couples in the US and UK compared to Japan.

Dr. Garbinsky said: "We suspect that the difference in strength is due to the fact that the US and UK are individualistic cultures, while Japan is a collectivist culture.

“Individualistic cultures tend to focus on the self and an ‘I’ identity, while collectivist cultures focus on group membership and a ‘we’ identity.

"Because members of collectivist cultures, such as Japan, are already accustomed to focusing on significant others, their relationship may not benefit as strongly from the boost in interdependence as when couples from the US and UK pool their finances together.”

More than 40 percent of people in Britain have a joint bank account with their partner.

Couples wait on average three and half years before opening an account together, with getting married being the most commonly given reason.

Other reasons include moving in together or buying a property, as well as wanting a fair mechanism for both parties to contribute financially.

The findings were published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

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