Money is the top cause of arguments among couples (29%), more than their children (17%) or each other’s families (20%)
A quarter (25%) of over 16s choose to put 100% of their money into joint accounts
Couples are splitting bills and household expenses equally, regardless of individual income
27th April 2023: Money is the number one cause of quarrels for three out of 10 couples in the UK, according to a new survey by Starling Bank. Couples aged 45-54 have the most disagreements (39%), along with parents (37%).
The research, which questioned 4,000 over 16s in the UK, found that couples who share finances have fewer disagreements about money than those who don’t (27% vs 32%). Half of the people surveyed have a joint account (50%) with most holding one with their partner (35%), family member (8%), a friend (3%) or housemate (3%).
Across the nation, Norwich, Nottingham and Sheffield residents are more likely to have joint accounts (54%), compared with people who live in Brighton who are least likely to pool their finances with someone else (40%).
|Cities with the MOST joint account holders||Cities with the FEWEST joint account holders|
|Norwich (54%)||Brighton (40%)|
|Nottingham (54%)||Newcastle (42%)|
|Sheffield (54%)||Glasgow (43%)|
|London (52%)||Edinburgh (44%)|
|Southampton (52%)||Manchester (47%)|
Money and relationships
Couples typically decide to make the leap and open a joint account after being in a relationship for 3.5 years. However Gen Z couples (16 - 24 years old) are quicker off the mark and generally open an account in just under two years of being together. People are also more likely to open a joint account when they hit ages 25-34 (35%) compared to 15% of 16 - 24 year olds, suggesting that finances are frequently brought together when making big life commitments such as moving in with a partner, buying a home or starting a family.
The most popular reason for opening a joint account is to make managing money an equal task (33%), followed by ensuring all joint items are paid for (30%) and to save for items together (26%). For one in five couples (20%), the main reason for combining their finances is to show a bigger commitment to one another.
Income vs financial contributions
On average people put 51% of their monthly income into their joint account. A quarter of those surveyed (25%) put 100% of their income into a shared bank account each month, and a further 48% of people put at least 50% of their income into a joint account. The findings also reveal that 27% of men put 100% of their income into a joint account, compared to 23% of women. The person earning the most money in the relationship, typically puts 53% of their income into the joint account, whereas those who earn less put in 61% on average - suggesting that couples are splitting bills and household expenses equally, regardless of individual income.
Paying the bills
People primarily use their joint accounts to pay bills (69%), general household expenses (66%) and save for holidays/travel costs (46%).
Helen Bierton, Chief Banking Officer at Starling Bank comments: “Managing finances can be a very challenging part of living with someone, whether that’s a partner, family member or housemate. It’s clear that having a better view of shared finances helps towards having more positive conversations about money, which is important during a time when budgets are tighter, and many people are reducing spending on non-essential items.
“A joint bank account doesn’t mean you lose your independence. Our findings reveal the main reasons for opening a shared account are to manage collective household expenses such as bills or rent, or save up for something big together.”