Young Australians are challenging the concept of joint accounts as an institution of marriage, with an affinity for technology emerging as a key influence in the dramatic trend reversal.
A Bankwest survey of Australia’s two largest population hubs – NSW and VIC – identified a reversal in commitment trends around joint bank accounts by the younger generation.
The findings showed that almost half of Gen Y respondents (46.7%) with joint bank accounts were neither married, nor engaged at the time of entering the financial commitment.
The results marked a dramatic generational swing from the behaviours of older Australians.
More than eight out of 10 Baby Boomers (84.2%) and three quarters of Gen X respondents (77.3%) with joint accounts only merged their money once they were either married or engaged.
Bankwest EGM Customer Solutions and Insights Pieter Vorster said, while several factors influence the need for joint accounts, Gen Y’s tech affinity minimised barriers to commitment.
“There are situations faced by every generation that make joint bank accounts either a necessity or attractive option, but we’re now seeing the erosion of some key barriers with Gen Y,” he said.
“Joint accounts have traditionally been an institution of marriage due to the level of trust required, which offsets the advantages of convenience and financial strength in pooling funds.
“However, the tech tools available now are helping remove trust and anxiety as barriers for this generation, allowing people to focus on necessity and convenience as the key drivers.
“We know, of all generations, Gen Y is most at ease with the influence of tech in their lives, with almost three quarters (69.6%) reporting being ‘very comfortable’ with using technology.
“Furthermore, a fifth of all Gen Y respondents reported they actively seek out new technology to manage their finances, compared to just 10 percent of Gen X and five percent of Baby Boomers.
“The tools our customers are using today enable them to have total visibility and transparency of their accounts, set goals, and receive transaction alerts at the touch of a button.
“Those tools and Gen Y’s affinity with tech helps minimise the anxieties of previous generations around joint bank accounts, so they can take the plunge before, well, taking the plunge.”