Who controls the spending in your expat household?

Do you and your partner share the decisions about what to spend your money on? Or does one person sit back and let the other decide? Does it really matter? According to some new research, it does. Read on to find out why…

Couple looking over their finances on their laptop

If you had to make a guess, would you say that most people in relationships make financial decisions individually or together with their partners?

Though the main reason for the recent research (revealed in an ING survey, published by Think Forward Institute) was to find out more detailed household spending habits, the results threw up some interesting social observations.

In the survey, 1,116 Dutch couples were interviewed to find out the following three main points about their spending habits:

  1. If there is a main decision maker when you decide what to make a purchase?
  2. To what extent do you take each other’s preferences into consideration?
  3. Is it better to have one person in charge of household finance or is it better to work as a team?

Paper cut out of a family and house next to a pink piggy bank

The results showed that only 25% of couples who jointly managed shared bank accounts encountered financial problems, in contrast to 45% of couples who had a shared bank account but managed the finances individually. From that statistic, it’s not too hard to understand why the same couples who make joint banking decisions tend to make more financial goals and plan more for the future.

It was also interesting that most couples individually research large purchases, like cars and holidays, but make the final buying decision together. For example, although 79% of people agree that buying a car is a joint decision, only about a third of them treat the information-collection process of buying a new car as a joint activity.

Do you make joint decisions with your partner?

Infographic showing financial joint decision buying
Source: ING The Merit of Teamwork

In the ING survey, holidays top the list of joint decisions, with 87% of couples surveyed deciding together on a holiday whether they were young, old, rich or poor. The purchasing of other durable consumables is also made together, like TVs and furniture, but so too is the choice to spend money on eating out.

Does managing your bank account with your partner and making joint decisions make you feel more or less secure? It’s an interesting psychological conundrum and I’d be happy to read your thoughts in the comments.

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