Financial Arrangements and Relationship Quality in Low-Income Couples

Fam Relat. 2010 Oct 1;59(4):408-423. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3729.2010.00612.x. Epub 2010 Sep 11.


This study explored the association between household financial arrangements and relationship quality using a representative sample of low-income couples with children. We detailed the banking arrangements couples utilize, assessed which factors relate to holding a joint account versus joint and separate, only separate, or no account, and analyzed the association between fiscal practices and men's and women's relationship quality. The majority of couples held joint accounts, though over one-quarter also have separate accounts; nearly one-tenth have no account. Joint bank accounts were associated with higher levels of relationship quality on numerous dimensions, though more consistently for women than men. Individualistic arrangements appeared to undermine women's relationship satisfaction and reduce feelings of intimacy, sexual compatibility, and satisfaction with conflict resolution.