Studies show couples with joint bank accounts last longer

It is one of the most contentious issues for cohabiting love partners.

It is well known that the decision whether or not to combine finances with your lover makes or breaks a relationship. After all, it takes a lot of maturity and compassion to commit to a joint bank account — and even more budget savvy to run it.

But those who do can actually build better relationships, according to A new study appears in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Couples who willingly pooled their money showed more positive interactions and evidence of clear communication than those who didn’t, observed lead author Emily Garbinsky, associate professor of marketing and management communications at Cornell University.

Her choice of words alone was enough to indicate a high level of mutual satisfaction, using “we”, “us” and “our” more than “I”, “me” and “mine”. Terms associated with a common affiliation also appeared more frequently, such as agree, connect, friend, kindness, listen, and peace.

“We anticipated that pooled finances would increase dependency on their partner and align the couple’s (financial) interests and goals,” Garbinsky wrote — all things that “are associated with high levels of relationship quality,” she noted.

The researchers also analyzed survey data from groups in the US, UK and Japan to see if cultural differences play a role in how couples view their money. They found that the two Western nations were more comfortable sharing funds than partners in Japan.

“We suspect the difference in strength is because the US and UK are individualistic cultures while Japan is a collectivistic culture,” Garbinsky said.

While individualistic cultures tend to prioritize the “I,” collectivistic cultures have groupthink and tend to think in terms of “we.”

In other words, individualists feel a more positive impact when they take a shared perspective—simply because they don’t typically consider the benefit of shared goals—while group thinkers were already accustomed to this dynamic.

“Because members of collectivist cultures like Japan are already accustomed to focusing on significant others, their relationship may not benefit as much from the increase in interdependence as when US-UK couples pool their finances,” Garbinsky explained.

Knowing who benefits most from pooling finances — and why — can help experts better guide couples to happiness. “Research in this area can help couples make decisions about how to organize their finances to maximize relationship quality and ultimately improve their well-being,” Garbinsky concluded. Studies show couples with joint bank accounts last longer


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