By James Salmon
Forget love and romance, the real secret of a long and happy marriage is separate bank accounts, according to a report.
More than a quarter of cohabiting and married Britons blamed divorce-inducing quarrels on outdated monetary ties, the Daily Mail reports.
Although the majority of couples still accepted that a joint bank account has the potential of building trust and openness, one in four claimed that amalgamating income - and especially savings - was likely to cause irreversible rifts that could end in break-up or divorce.
The poll of more than 2,000 adults was commissioned by the consumer finance website MoneyMagpie.com as part of a wider study by Opinium Research into Britain's spending habits.
Founder and consumer affairs expert Jasmine Birtles said the findings reflect positively on newlyweds who are taking proactive steps to reduce the risk of unnecessary conflict before it arises.
She said: "The results of this research appear to suggest that more people than ever before are choosing to keep their finances separate after getting married or moving in together.
"For a considerable number of people, it seems, the decision to retain financial autonomy is not based upon money at all but rather upon on the long-term health of their relationship."
While joint bank accounts could be a simple way of managing household spending for newlyweds, the survey suggested that couples were increasingly reluctant to lose their financial independence.
Of the 2,005 adults polled, 34 per cent of married and living-as-married couples opted to keep their bank accounts separate.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, older couples who had been together for more than 30 years were by far the most likely to have a joint account - 80 per cent.
But the number of joint accounts dropped markedly among those in relationships of less than six years, 52 per cent, while fewer still were shared by those in relationships of less than three years - 40 per cent.
Of those without joint accounts, the overwhelming majority, 81 per cent, said the primary driver was financial independence.
Some 24 per cent of those with joint accounts admitted to feeling 'guilty' using combined funds for their own personal use or enjoyment and more than a third, 34 per cent, of all respondents agreed that having individual accounts was fairer on their partner, in that it reduced the risk of excessive spending.
Ms Birtles said a joint account is far easier to manage - and access - in the event of a partner's death.
However, she added: "There has clearly been a trend among younger couples, or couples in young relationships, to move away from joint bank accounts. In the view of some respondents, doing so will prevent the inevitable rows - which in some extreme cases may be divorce-inducing - that excessive spending will cause."