ArticleLiterature Review

“You Spent How Much?” Toward an Understanding of How Romantic Partners Respond to Each Other’s Financial Decisions

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Abstract

How people choose to spend money is often observable to others (e.g., based on their clothes, accessories, and social media pages), but there is a whole universe of financial decisions that are essentially unobservable (e.g., how people handle their debts, taxes, and retirement planning). We explore one context where people have an up-close-and-personal view of someone else’s financial decision-making process: romantic relationships. We discuss how the endless opportunities for financial observation in romantic relationships influence a range of behaviors, including spending habits, decisions about bank account structure, and financial infidelity. Our review highlights the need for more research on the ways in which financial decisions are made, communicated, and observed within romantic relationships.

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Existing research on price deals has largely demonstrated positive financial and nonfinancial consequences of obtaining a deal. In contrast, the research reported here suggests that certain price deals—in this case, coupons—can also produce negative social consequences, such as creating an impression of cheapness or stinginess. Decisions to redeem coupons are shown to involve a trade-off between the social incentives to avoid coupons and competing economic and psychological incentives to redeem coupons. Consumers strategically adjusted their decision in response to factors that changed the relative strength of these incentives; specifically, they avoided coupons when they were concerned that coupon use would lead to negative social consequences but redeemed coupons when the circumstances reduced these concerns. Although decisions to refuse a coupon might violate principles of economic rationality, it is argued that such decisions are nevertheless functional as they serve important social goals. In this sense, it can be smarter for consumers to forgo a deal rather than obtain one.
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This study uses Markowitz mean-variance portfolio theory with forecasted data for the years 2005 to 2035 to determine efficient electricity generating technology mixes for Switzerland. The SURE procedure has been applied to filter out the systematic components of the covariance matrix. Results indicate that risk-averse electricity users in 2035 gain in terms of higher expected return, less risk, more security of supply and a higher return-to-risk ratio compared to 2000 by adopting a feasible minimum variance (MV) technology mix containing 28 percent Gas, 20 percent Run of river, 13 percent Storage hydro, 9 percent Nuclear, and 5 percent each of Solar, Smallhydro, Wind, Biomass, Incineration, and Biogas respectively. However, this mix comes at the cost of higher CO2 emissions.
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Who has not known a tightwad? Yet this pervasive consumer trait--being frugal--has been ignored in the scholarly consumer behavior literature. This research articulates the nature of this overlooked consumer trait and then develops, evaluates, and empirically applies a multi-item scale of frugality. The results from a six-study program of empirical research are reported. These studies describe (1) the psychometric properties of a frugality measure, (2) demonstrations of how frugality assists the empirical study of consumer usage and acquisition behaviors, and (3) frugality scale norms from a probability sample of the general adult population. Copyright 1999 by the University of Chicago.
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Using the concept of a family financial officer (FFO), the family is found to be not homogeneous in its financial and purchase behavior. Thus, if the husband is the FFO, the couple is more likely to save a higher proportion of income and in variable dollar forms, and to purchase automobiles less frequently.
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The present research establishes that the innocuous behavior of coupon redemption is capable of eliciting stigma by association. The general finding across four studies shows that the coupon redemption behavior of one consumer results in a second non-coupon-redeeming shopper being stigmatized by association as cheap when a low as compared to a high value coupon is redeemed. More important, the research identifies a number of factors that protect a non-coupon-redeeming shopper from the undesirable experience of stigma by association, even during another shopper's redemption of a low value coupon. (c) 2008 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc..
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Do spouses become more similar over time? What processes contribute to enduring similarities between them? Using the 20-year Kelly Longitudinal Study of couples, no support for the hypothesis that couples increasingly resemble each other with time was found. Rather, couples maintain the same degree of similarity across 20 years. Structural equation analyses suggest that the shared environmental experiences of couples play a significant role in maintaining these similarities over time. We distinguish the shared marital environment from the shared rearing environment and consider developmental and dynamic-relational factors that moderate the relative importance of nonshared and shared environmental experiences in life-span personality development. Whereas nonshared influences in one's family of origin contribute to development in childhood and adolescence, shared influences in one's family of destination may contribute a great deal to development in adulthood.
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The authors propose that people in relationships become emotionally similar over time--as this similarity would help coordinate the thoughts and behaviors of the relationship partners, increase their mutual understanding, and foster their social cohesion. Using laboratory procedures to induce and assess emotional response, the authors found that dating partners (Study 1) and college roommates (Studies 2 and 3) became more similar in their emotional responses over the course of a year. Further, relationship partners with less power made more of the change necessary for convergence to occur. Consistent with the proposed benefits of emotional similarity, relationships whose partners were more emotionally similar were more cohesive and less likely to dissolve. Discussion focuses on implications of emotional convergence and on potential mechanisms.
Wait a minute. How can they afford that when I can’t? The New York Times
  • A Tugend
Fatal (fiscal) attraction: spendthrifts and tightwads in marriage
  • Rick