Are Couples Happier When Sharing Their Money & Savings?
Do you have “financial secrets”?
A major international survey of 15,000 people by ING has recently found that couples who share their finances are happier than those who don’t. And no, that doesn’t just mean one person goes to work and gives half their earnings to the one who stays at home. What the researchers delved into was the effect that sharing responsibility for financial planning had on a couple’s relationship.
Of the 53% of Europeans who share all the financial decision making equally, the majority reported feeling happy and secure in their marriage. A cheeky 3% admitted to having a “financial secret” (and we’re guessing they mean debt rather than a race horse), but the general trend of the research is that most happy couples don’t keep money secrets and in fact make a concerted effort to be open with each other about what’s going in and out of their bank accounts.
We’ve written before here about the rights and wrongs of having joint accounts. For most couples these days, a joint account seems to make sense, but it’s still a hotly contested and very emotional area, as it can feel like relinquishing power or not being trusted by your loved one. But the new ING research suggests that the way you practically arrange your finances is not the point. You could actually use the archaic sounding model of one person doing all the earning and dispensing 50% of it as pocket money to the other one, if that’s what both partners have agreed upon based on a free and open conversation.
And one thing we can all take away from this research is that the conversation needs to be an ongoing one throughout all the weeks, months and years of your marriage: not just a one-off when you start living together, or a crisis management meeting when things go wrong.
75% of European respondents to the ING survey found that scheduling regular personal finance meetings with their partner was helpful not only to their relationship but to their bank balance.
Because to keep saving and spending wisely, you need to feel free and be open with yourself and your other half. Those secret midnight online shopping sprees that plunge your budget into disarray? They can create a vicious cycle of secrecy and resentment in a couple. An unhappy wife who feels they’re not being listened to or respected is far more likely to buy a pair of Louboutins on her phone at 1am than one who, by sitting down and sharing her life goals (and frustrations) with her partner, makes a collaborative road-map to true fulfilment.
And don’t forget, it cuts both ways.
Ultimately, in love and money, communication is the key to happiness. It can be so hard to admit what you really, really want – to yourself and to your partner. And it can be super hard to hear them say what they want, if it’s something you don’t. But suppressing your desires – in any area of life – is only going to cause you trouble further down the line. So if you want to grow old happily together, in sickness and in wealth, keep that money conversation going, Vestpoders!