This paper, presented by Jeffrey Dew at the Family Financial Security Symposium in April, 2010, demonstrates that financial behaviors once characterized as “thrifty” or “wasteful” have implications for married couples that go beyond their financial bottom lines.
These behaviors and the financial distress or well being that they create influence couples’ relationship processes, their relationship happiness, and ultimately their relationship stability. When couples use sound financial management behaviors, when they accumulate assets, and when they pay down their debt they report that their relationships are happier, have less conflict, and they are ultimately less likely to divorce. Consequently, in addition to the obvious financial reasons to practice thrift, married couples also have relationship reasons to do so.
Professor Dew presents research on the interactions between consumer debt and marital conflict at the 2010 Family Financial Security Symposium.