Podcast: Do joint accounts improve couples’ relationships?

For new couples, does the decision of how to organize their finances — separate accounts, a joint account or a blend of the two — matter? On the ABA Banking Journal Podcast — sponsored by R&T Deposit Solutions — Indiana University marketing professor Jenny Olson discusses new research that provides an answer.

Olson and her colleagues randomly assigned new couples to one of three conditions for a two-year period: using only separate accounts, using a joint account only or to a third group that received no instructions about the kind of accounts to use. Couples in the no-instruction group and the separate account group saw declines in relationship quality during the experiment, couples with joint accounts were “buffered” against the declines otherwise expected, she says.

“Because we randomly assigned couples, we can take better steps toward understanding causality,” Olson says. “Our results really do suggest that having a joint bank account improves relationship quality.” While every couple’s financial needs are unique and separate accounts may be what’s needed in many situations, Olson discusses implications of the research for how bankers and wealth managers approach financial planning conversations with clients.

  • If you can’t see the audio player above, click here to listen to this week’s episode.
  • Read the paper by Olson et al. in the Journal of Consumer Research.

This episode is sponsored by R&T Deposit Solutions.

In this episode:

Jenny Olson
Assistant Professor
Kelley School of Business, Indiana University