If you are newly married and wondering what the percentage of married couples with separate accounts is, then this article is for you. You may also be wondering what method of combining or not combining finances with your spouse is best?
I had similar questions at one point. We’ll start with the statistics and go over surveys. Then we will take a deeper dive into the matter and discuss what is best practice. I will put forth some academic research on this matter and provide expert opinions on combining personal finances with your spouse.
Three different surveys and the data from them. The largest collected survey that was conducted had 20,000 participants. Therefore, the most emphasis can be placed on the results which is the second on the list.
There you have it. Clear as mud. The consensus we can make is that the majority of married couples either keep things completely separate or do a partial combination.
To answer the question the percentage of married couples with separate accounts which we’ll include couples that have both completely separate bank accounts and partially separate accounts is 61% coming from the largest sample size of 20,000 adults (Goldwert, 2021).
While we now understand the percentage of couples that are combining or keeping separate bank accounts to varying degrees we need to investigate what is the best approach, if… there is a best approach.
It’s important to make evidence-based decisions. When deciding whether or not to pool your financial assets with your spouse. Let’s look at some peer-reviewed articles on the topic.
A research study titled, Pooling finances and relationship satisfaction, found that couples who completely combine their money experience greater relationship satisfaction than couples who partially combine or don’t combine at all (Gladstone, 2022).
Couples who pool their money are also more likely to stay together. Another study titled “Best done differently? Couples’ money pooling and the association with economic conflicts”, found that completely pooling money decreased conflicts around money (Duvander, 2022).
Now the reduced money conflicts according to the study were mostly felt by couples during economic hardship, in long-term relationships, or for older couples. The study only found it to be moderately important or not helpful for couples in other stages (Duvander, 2022). This makes sense to me that pooling money too early on in a relationship could create conflicts as it might stress a couple’s relationship before you have built a solid foundation.
One popular personal finance radio host recommends you combine finances. That is Dave Ramsey and a quote from him, “When you get married, you’ve got to combine your money into joint accounts. You’re becoming one, so your finances should too. If you keep this one area separated, it can lead to separation in other areas.” Ramsey also believes that by combining finances couples learn to set financial goals together, have an easier time budgeting, and communicate better.
Earlier we found out that there is a large percentage of married couples with separate bank accounts that are completely or partially separate. However, research points out that couples experience greater benefits by completely combining their money and improves the outcomes of the relationship. So, why don’t married couples or couples in general combine money?
Marriages come in all shapes and sizes, and couples do various things either combining or not combining money. We know that the percentage of married couples with separate bank accounts is 39% at least for those having completely separate accounts. We know that academic research points to more positives by completely combining accounts which is the direction that financial experts also point people in.
This article was intended not to tell you the need to completely combine accounts with your spouse but to present data as to what other couples do, what evidence-based research suggests, and give you insights from experts. This way you can form your own opinions and a strategy toward money.
If you feel your relationship could use help with openly communicating about financial objectives or setting goals there are a variety of resources. You can employ financial coaches to help couples come together on financial issues and to help with behavior modification. We offer financial coaching virtually so that any couple or individual can get the support they need with finances. Set up a discovery session today to see if you’re the right fit.
Daly, L. (2022, April 22). Why Dave Ramsey says every married couple should combine finances. The Motley Fool. Retrieved November 27, 2022, from https://www.fool.com/the-ascent/personal-finance/articles/why-dave-ramsey-says-every-married-couple-should-combine-finances/#:~:text=For%20married%20couples%20asking%20about%20combining%20finances%2C%20Dave,that%20advice%20and%20come%20to%20your%20own%20decisions.
Duvander, A.-Z., & Kridahl, L. (2022). Best done differently? Couples’ money pooling and the association with economic conflicts. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 39(5), 1344–1368. https://doi.org/10.1177/02654075211056561
Gladstone, J. J., Garbinsky, E. N., & Mogilner, C. (2022). Pooling finances and relationship satisfaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000388
Goldwert, L. (2021, February 4). How do couples choose to combine their finances? the answer may surprise you. Zeta. Retrieved November 27, 2022, from https://www.askzeta.com/magazine/articles/couples-how-they-combine-finances-data/#:~:text=How%20Do%20Couples%20Choose%20to%20Join%20Their%20Finances%3F,account%2C%20preferring%20to%20keep%20finances%20in%20separate%20accounts
Ramsey Solutions. (2022, August 30). How to combine finances as newlyweds. Ramsey Solutions. Retrieved November 27, 2022, from https://www.ramseysolutions.com/relationships/newlyweds-what-do-we-need-to-know-about-money
Staples, A. (n.d.). 43% of U.S. couples living together only have joint accounts: Here’s what’s wrong with this trend. Bankrate. Retrieved November 27, 2022, from https://www.bankrate.com/finance/credit-cards/us-joint-account-survey/