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Should couples consolidate their finances?

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A new US study, published in the Journal of Consumer Research, looks at the impact of financial mergers on the quality of relationships between newlyweds or newlyweds. The study reveals that couples who merge their finances benefit from a protective effect that protects them from the deterioration of the quality of their relationship over time.

“This was prompted by the conflicting advice often given to newlyweds,” says Jenny Olson of Indiana University, lead author of the study. While some sources recommend consolidation, others insist that the partners separate their finances. So what should a married couple do? »

The researchers conducted a two-year, six-wave longitudinal experiment in which participants (married or newly married) were divided into three groups: consolidating finances, maintaining separate accounts, or non-intervention (group control).

This is what they found:

Couples who kept separate accounts or didn’t get involved experienced the usual decline in relationship quality over time.

Couples who consolidated their finances were protected from this decline. This is mainly due to improved financial harmony between couples who have a joint account, resulting in less conflict and greater satisfaction for both partners in money management.

The study offers three possible reasons why integrating finances leads to positive relationship outcomes.

Joint accounts can encourage partners to think about how they justify their purchases to each other, which can reduce conflict and improve financial well-being.

The transparency created by opening a joint account can allow partners to better understand each other’s priorities and align their financial goals.

Consolidating funds into a joint account can promote a sense of ownership and eliminate the “your money” vs. “my money” dynamic. However, consolidating financing is not without difficulties.

“Incorporating financial resources can present difficulties, as can the perception of a loss of independence,” Jenny Olson explains. “Open communication is essential. Highlighting the importance of good communication, the authors make the following recommendations:

Couples must have open conversations in order to find a balance between unity and independence. Strategies such as keeping joint accounts with separate credit cards or setting spending limits are helpful.

It is possible that the fiancé and newlyweds are unsure about merging their finances. They need to have regular conversations to weigh the pros and cons of different bank account structures, and adapt to new needs and challenges as they arise.

It is necessary to regularly assess the financial situation. These planned conversations allow partners to prepare and avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Translated article from the American magazine Forbes – Author: Mark Travers

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