Sharing financial resources makes couples stronger, study reveals

New academic study shows that pooling finances is not just good from a financial point of view

Sharing financial resources makes couples stronger, study reveals
Steve Randall

While some couples struggle to even talk about financial matters, it seems that those willing to go further can reap unexpected benefits.

With the cost of living making sharing household expenses a prudent move for many, a new academic study reveals that pooling finances can improve the quality and longevity of relationships.

Researchers at the Cornell University’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management found that, especially for low-income couples, those that combine their bank accounts achieve higher levels of satisfaction, harmony, and commitment.

“We expected pooled finances to increase one’s level of dependence on their partner,” explained co-author Emily Garbinsky, associate professor of marketing and management communication. “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's not all bad news for those couples whose relationships sour though, as a recent TD survey found that most divorcees said their finances were better or the same as when they were married.

Better connection

In the international study ‘Pooling Finances and Relationship Satisfaction’, Garbinsky and her colleagues discovered that couples with shared finances tended to show a better connection and more positive, stable, and safe interactions.

The researchers’’ analysis posts on financial forums found that these couples are also less likely to use pronouns such as ‘I’ in favour of ‘we’ and ‘our’.

“It is our hope that by identifying who is likely to benefit most from pooling finances, and why,” Garbinsky said, “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 full study is published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: