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Couples who don't pool their earnings are at far greater risk of ruining their relationship

Couples who have joint bank accounts are more likely to stay together because they don’t fall out about money as much, a study claims.

Researchers found that those who did not pool their earnings and kept their finances separate were at far greater risk of ruining their relationship in money rows – especially when times are hard.

Joint accounts have fallen out of favour in recent years. In the 1970s, roughly half of all married couples in the UK combined their incomes.

Couples who have joint bank accounts are more likely to stay together because they don’t fall out about money as much, a study claims

But this has dropped to one in eight couples today, with levels lowest among those in their twenties or thirties. 

The decline of traditional marriage and the rise in the number of working mothers is thought to be behind the trend.

Researchers from Sweden wanted to see how relationships were affected by joint or separate accounts. 

Previous studies have shown quarrelling over cash causes lasting rifts. The rows are the biggest single predictor of divorce – above sex, children or the in-laws.

The Stockholm University team questioned almost 10,000 men and women aged 20 to 80 to see if relationship quality was linked to sharing of finances.

The results showed those handling money problems together through joint accounts were more likely to have stronger relationships, most notably in middle-aged and older couples than those just starting out together..

Joint accounts have fallen out of favour in recent years. In the 1970s, roughly half of all married couples in the UK combined their incomes

The researchers said in the report, in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships: ‘Having difficulty making ends meet can cause conflicts. 

'And rows over finances tend to be more severe than other types of conflict because they are more intense and last longer.

‘We found that in older people over 50, keeping money separate is correlated with more of these conflicts than pooling cash. But in younger couples it was less important.’