Couples with joint bank accounts last longer, says study

While it might seem pretty mundane, getting a bank account with a partner is actually a big step.

It’s a financial commitment that involves trust regarding credit history and money habits.

But it seems those who do share an account might actually build better relationships, too.

According to a new study, couples who put their money together demonstrate more positive interactions and clearer communication than those who don’t.

Research found that couples who share an account, ​​say ‘we,’ ‘us’ and ‘our’ more rather than ‘I,’ ‘me’ and ‘my.’ 

And terms associated with joint affiliation also came up more often, including ‘agree,’ ‘connect,’ ‘friend,’ ‘kindness,’ ‘listen’ and ‘peace.’

‘These simple pronouns over time reinforce these perceptions of being on a team versus not,’ says Emily Garbinsky, an associate professor of marketing and management communication at Cornell University, who co-authored the study.

What’s more, it could also impact the length and quality of a relationship, too.

‘We did see that couples who pool their finances are less likely to break up than couples who keep their finances separate,’ explains Emily.

She adds that having a joint account is likely to benefit most couples – though the effect will be stronger in some more than others.

The findings also show that talking about money is a good thing – as those who do so are more likely to be on the same page and more able to achieve their financial goals.

Likewise, those who openly address money issues typically manage their debts better than those who keep them separate.

‘On average, what we see is that couples who end up talking about their finances reach some sort of consensus, and then it makes them feel like they’re on the same team,’ adds Emily.

What you need to know about making a joint account

Perhaps one of the most important things about getting a joint account is knowing that you’re both responsible for it. 

Aline Jaffer, saving expert at Virgin Money, previously told Metro.co.uk: ‘Remember that if you do take out a joint current account, you are jointly liable for it. 

‘That means if your partner runs up an overdraft, you will be jointly responsible for repaying it. If there is a risk of this happening, you have to be confident that your partner won’t just leave you to pick up the bill.’

Another important thing to note is your money habits won’t be private with a joint account.

Alina adds: ‘The decision to open up your financial habits to someone else can be nerve-racking. 

‘Your partner will be able to see how you manage money and vice versa. You may feel that you have to start justifying your spending decisions, or you may be concerned about your partner’s saving, or lack thereof.’

It’s also crucial to think about what will happen if you end things, because if you were to break up, your joint balance becomes vulnerable to either party withdrawing as much money as they wish – regardless of how much they contributed.

How to know if you’re ready

If you’re unsure about opening a joint account with your partner, it’s helpful to ask yourself a few questions. 

It’s important to think about the reason you’re opening the account – perhaps it’s because you’re saving towards something together, or looking to pay bills.

Having an understanding of this should help you determine whether it’s something you want or are ready to do.

It’s also vital to have an open discussion about your money habits and credit histories – so there are no hidden surprises. 

And if you have any doubts, experts say it’s a good idea to leave it.

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