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Money and love... richer and happier together?

An ING International Survey on money, happiness and relationships
Posted on February 19, 2018

The latest ING International Survey on Savings, based on interviews with almost 15,000 people across 15 countries, reveals that couples of all ages are more likely to say they’re happy when they share their money and savings. Michael Norton and Ximena Garcia-Rada from Harvard University tell us in an interview that scientific research supports this finding.

“Couples who share their finances are happier and more satisfied with their relationship”

Michael Norton, Professor Harvard University

How could sharing finances with your loved one foster happiness in the relationship?  

Financial decisions and money management often come with a hefty dose of stress. In a relationship, it can be even more stressful if one or both partners handle all this in a solo approach. That’s why couples usually report that they prefer a joint approach to money matters and are more satisfied when they tackle decisions together. 

53% of Europeans, 61% of Australians and 65% of Americans who are in a romantic relationship say they manage their finances together with their partner. The vast majority of these couples (72%) also say they feel very close to each other. Only 3% of couples in Europe admitted to having a ‘money secret’. 

Couples in Europe who opt to co-manage their money are more likely to have a joint bank account and make other financial decisions together, such as what big-ticket items to purchase or how to budget for household expenses. This financial togetherness has the potential to reinforce couples’ feelings of affection for each other and build confidence in the relationship, researchers say.

“Managing your money as a couple or household can be good for your emotional wellbeing”

IIS Savings Report 2018

Do couples think it would make sense to have regular meetings to talk about their finances?

Having regular conversations about money with your partner does not sound such a bad idea. According to the survey, this would be not only financially useful for 75% of couples but also highly beneficial for their relationship (69%). It could even be an “exciting” meeting, according to 42% of respondents.  

Worth trying? Would you consider making such conversations a regular ritual in your relationship?

Shared rituals with your partner can be as simple as always hugging each other when you come home from work, or more elaborate, such as working in the garden or cooking a meal together on Sundays. Research suggests that rituals can bring positive feelings and satisfaction into the relationship. But remember: it’s important that both partners want to engage in the activity because they believe has a special meaning for the relationship, rather than just being a routine or chore that needs to be completed.  

“Couples who engage in relationship rituals report being more satisfied, and this happens because couples feel more committed to each other”

Ximena Garcia-Rada, Researcher Harvard University

Want to know more about how people from different countries think and feel about money and happiness? 

Click here to read the complete interview with Harvard researchers Michael Norton and Ximena Garcia-Rada