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Money is the new pillow talk: one third of couples take finance into the bedroom

  • One third (34%) of couples say that conversations about money primarily take place in the bedroom

  • One in three (31%) couples regularly argue over their finances – ahead of ‘time spent together’ (27%), children (23%), the dreaded in-laws (13%) and exes (9%)

  • Quarrels aside, couples are honest about their finances – 91% know how much their other half earns and 70% know how much their partner owes

  • 61% share a joint bank account with their partner – but one in five (21%) have used it to pay off their own personal debt

  • Women fall behind when it comes to paying their way at home – 35% of men claim to be the main breadwinner compared to just 6% of women.

Financial pressures are hitting relationships hard, with one in three (31%) couples admitting that money is the most common cause of domestic disputes, according to, the independent price comparison and switching service. And ‘financial affairs’ have taken on a new meaning as a third (34%) of couples confess to conversations over finances erupting in the bedroom.

With food, fuel, energy and now even water bills on the rise – and wage increases few and far between – it’s hardly surprising that money worries have become one of the biggest causes of arguments between couples – more so than arguing over ‘time spent together’ (27%), children (23%), the dreaded in-laws (13%) and ex-partners (9%).

Despite these disagreements, couples appear to be surprisingly open and honest about the state of their finances. Nine in ten (91%) people know how much their partner earns, while 70% are comfortable discussing their debt with their other half. While 41% of couples believe that financial secrets should not be shared until you move in together, 23% believe that it is acceptable to reveal your financial hand just a few months into a new relationship.

However, some partners might think twice about sharing so much if they knew what their partners got up to. While six in ten couples (61%) choose to pool their finances into a joint bank account, one in five (21%) people admit to using the account to pay off their own personal debt. Over a quarter (27%) use their joint account as their sole account to manage all their finances.

The research also suggests that, while women may be pushing through the glass ceiling at work, men are still the bill payers at home. 35% of men claim that, as the main breadwinner, they are the sole contributors to the joint bank account, compared to just 6% of women.Only 28% of couples agree to a 50 / 50 split – 27% fund the joint account proportional to their salary.

Joint accounts: sharing the ‘love’

  • 78% of married couples have a joint bank account but 1 in 3 unmarried couples (33%) also pool their finances

  • 22% of married couples keep their finances separate to stay independent (58%), to avoid arguments (31%) and to avoid things being too complicated (21%)

  • 11% avoid sharing a bank account as they want to keep their financial affairs private

  • 34% of accounts are funded by the main breadwinner, 28% are financed by an equal 50/50 split and 27% are funded proportionally to salary

  • Unmarried couples place more restrictions on their joint account – 35% ban clothes shopping, 34% prohibit ‘pampering’ and 30% do not allow entertaining costs to be taken from the account

  • 75% of married couples have not discussed restrictions as ‘it’s a given’.

Michael Ossei, personal finance expert at, says: “It’s a sign of the times that money-talk has made its way into the bedroom. With living expenses on the rise and salaries struggling to keep up, financial pressures are a huge weight on our shoulders, not to mention a bug-bear in the bedroom. It’s no wonder that couples need to let off steam and share their worries with their other half rather than bury their heads in the sand.

“Letting someone close to you advise you on your finances can help you tackle an issue head on and stop you worrying. But there’s a time a time and a place to discuss money worries. Leaving it until bedtime does not make for romantic pillow talk and is more often than not likely to lead to a late night argument.”


Charlotte Nunes

Phone: 020 7148 4664


Twitter: @uswitchPR

Notes to editors

Research carried out online with the Consumer Opinion Panel in January 2013 amongst a sample of 1,144 GB adults in relationships

  1. When asked ‘Where do conversations about finances tend to primarily take place?’ 55% said ‘Meal times’; 36% said ‘Car journeys’; 34% said ‘Bed time’; 26% said ‘While shopping’; 16% said ‘On the telephone’; 12% said ‘On an evening out’; 6% said ‘On holiday’; 5% said ‘By email’; and 28% said ‘Other’.

  2. When asked ‘What are the most common things you argue about with your partner?’ 66% said ‘Silly annoyances’; 36% said ‘Household chores’; 31% said ‘Money’; 27% said ‘Lack of time spent together’; 24% said ‘Communication’; 23% said ‘Children’; 14% said ‘The future’; 13% said ‘The in-laws’; 9% said ‘Ex-partners’; 9% said ‘Not knowing whereabouts’; 7% said ‘Choice of friends’.

  3. When asked ‘Do you know how much your partner earns?’ 23% said ‘Yes, I asked and they told me’ while 68% said ‘Yes, they told me’.

  4. When asked ‘Do you discuss how much debt you have with your partner?’ 70% said ‘Yes’.

  5. When asked ‘Do you share a joint bank account?’ 27% said ‘Yes – and this is all we use to manage our complete finances’; 34% said ‘Yes – but we also have personal bank accounts’ and 39% said ‘No’.

  6. When asked ‘Which of the following is your joint account actually used for?’ 21% said ‘Paying off personal debt’.

  7. When asked ‘Who contributes to the joint account?’ 35% of men said ‘It is funded by me – I am the main breadwinner’ this is compared to 6% of women who said ‘It is funded by me – I am the main breadwinner’. 28% of couples said ‘It’s a 50/50 split’ and 27% said ‘It’s proportional to our salaries.’

  8. When asked ‘When do you think is the right time to share your financial situation with your partner?’ 41% said ‘When you move in / rent a place together’; 23% said ‘A few months into the relationship’; 11% said ‘When you get married’; 9% said ‘When you buy a house together’; 8% said ‘A year into the relationship’; 4% said ‘A couple of weeks into the relationship’; 3% said ‘Never’.

  9. Based on the questions: ‘Do you share a joint account’, ‘why do you keep your finances separate’, ‘who contributes to your joint account’ and ‘Which of the following have you agreed that the joint account will NOT be used for? 73% of married couples said ‘we haven’t discussed any restrictions, it’s a given, compared to 50% of unmarried couples.

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