Disagreements over household spending may be a major cause of marital strife, but according to the results of a study just released by Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner, 56 percent of LGBT households combine their resources and make financial decisions together—and the end result is that they’re happier than those who don’t.
27 percent of poll responders said that they keep their bank accounts separate and each partner makes their own financial decisions, while 17 percent said they combine their assets but appoint one of them to make most of the decisions regarding their budget.
According to a November 2013 study, also by Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner, couples who are married are more likely to make decisions as a unit; 64 percent of respondents reported doing so. Among heterosexual couples, 30 percent reported that the husband is in charge of family finances.
Among LGBT couples that don’t combine their assets, the most common reason given (64 percent) was to keep their financial independence. 55 percent said it was due to income disparity, 35 percent attributed it to keeping tax filing relatively simple, and 30 percent said it was because of differing opinions on financial issues. Additionally, 22 percent said they and their partner had different views regarding investments, and 19 percent cited different views on borrowing and credit.
Regardless of orientation, studies show that couples who combine their assets are generally happier than those that choose not to—and even how much is pooled seems to matter. The more money, percentage-wise, that is dealt with jointly, the happier couples are, according to Spectrem. Couples that each deal with their own finances were revealed to be the least happy.
The results of a survey by the American Institute of CPAs showed that financial issues are also the biggest source of friction between partners, even more so than work, household chores, or social life troubles. The conflict cited most often, among 58 percent of correspondents, was whether an expense is a “need” or a “want.”
“A couple working together (fiscally) does make things easier,” said San Franciscan Douglas Shepard, who lives with his girlfriend. “Even if accounts are kept separate, as we do, we make a number of fiscal choices together.”
For those couples actively looking to avoid the typical relationship pitfalls, the results of a 2012 Millionaire Corner study suggest that prior to marrying or other such commitment, couples make the effort to sit down together to compare their views on finances, outline their expectations, and explain their goals. 38 percent of respondents advised taking advantage of premarital counseling services, and waiting to have children until the couple feels they are financially steady. Another 33 percent said that couples should find out one another’s credit scores.
Only 32 percent recommended combining assets above all else.