The following is excerpted from an online article posted by StudyFinds.
According to a new study, one secret to a longer, happier marriage may lie in couples consolidating their finances. Study authors in Indiana found that married couples with joint bank accounts argued less about money, felt more confident about household financial management, and reported better overall relationship satisfaction. Couples sharing resources also felt more unified and committed to shared goals.
Researchers from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business were the first to demonstrate a causal relationship between marital happiness and combined finances, although previous studies have suggested a connection.
The study followed 230 engaged or newly married couples over two years as they started their lives together. The average age of these partners was 28.
At the start of the study, everyone maintained separate bank accounts and agreed to consider changing their financial arrangements. This was the first marriage for all participants. Some couples were randomly instructed to keep their separate bank accounts, while others were advised to open a joint bank account. A third group was given the freedom to decide for themselves.
After two years, couples who were instructed to open joint bank accounts reported significantly higher relationship quality than those who kept separate accounts. The researchers believe that merging finances encourages greater alignment with financial goals, increased transparency, and a shared understanding of marital responsibilities.
“When we surveyed people of varying relationship lengths, those who had merged accounts reported higher levels of communality within their marriage compared to people with separate accounts, or even those who partially merged their finances,” says Jenny Olson, an assistant professor of Marketing at Kelley, in a university release. “Considering the significant shifts we observed over two years, this is compelling evidence for the benefits of merging finances. It certainly warrants a discussion with your partner.”