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Show me the money! Communication, financial transparency, and marital satisfaction

Show me the money! Communication, financial transparency, and marital satisfaction

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Show me the money! Communication, financial transparency, and marital satisfaction

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  1. Show me the money! Communication, financial transparency, and marital satisfaction People who are happier with their financial situation are happier in their relationship (Archuleta, Grable, & Britt, 2013). Emily Koochel, M.S., Kansas State University, Applied Family Science

  2. Emerging Adulthood • Median age of first marriage in America is 27 for women and 29 for men (U.S. Census Bureau) • A time defined as emerging adulthood (Arnett, 2000,2014) • 40% of those first marriages will end in divorce, and one-fifth will end within 5 years (Bramlett & Mosher, 2001; Cherlin, 2010) • ...“people think seriously about the commitments that will define the structure of their adult lives in love relationships, and work, and they gradually move towards making those commitments at around 30 years of age” (Arnett et al., 2014, p. 570).

  3. Adulthood Factors such as person’s educational attainment and student loan debt have been cited to delay the age of first marriage well in to adulthood (Aughinbaugh, Robles, & Hugette, 2013; Bozick & Estacion 2014) Although research has cited a delay in marriage, a large number of adults want to marry or be in a romantic relationship (Fincham, Stanley, & Rhodes, 2011)

  4. Marriage • First pooling of money, uncertainty associated with joint money management • Newlyweds ranked financial issues third among 10 possible content areas for conflict (Risch, Riley, & Lawler, 2003) • For newlyweds, 15% of marital satisfaction was predicted by financial factors (Kerkmann et al., 2000)

  5. Marriage • Money plays a prominent role in a couples’ lives (Anoil & Snyder, 1997) • Money preferences is a valuable proficiency (Britt & Huston, 2012) • Financial management skills reduce marital disagreements, lack of skills create crisis (Britt et al., 2008; Dew et al., 2012; Kerkmann et al., 2000) • Spending behaviors predicted marital conflict (Rick, Small, & Finkel, 2009) • Lack of communication has a negative impact on the marital relationship (Gottman & Notarius, 2000; Stanley, Markman & Whitton, 2012) Still a need for greater understanding

  6. Marriage • Problematic relationship behaviors begin in the early stages of a relationship • Emerging adults are at a “reachable moment” (Fincham et al., 2011) • Responsive to potential benefits of prevention programs • Increased attention on state and federal healthy marriage initiatives • “Communicating about money is even more challenging than other topics”(Britt, Haselwood, & Koochel, 2018, p. 1).

  7. Marital Education Markman and colleagues (2010) found that some of the roots of a couples’ distress lie in communication quality This risk can be identified before marriage through interventions that focus on modifying communication patterns

  8. Marital Education Recently, federal and state Healthy Marriage Initiatives have focused on intervention and prevention Intervention usually occurs in the form of couple’s therapy, while prevention is typically curriculum-based education (Olmstead et al., 2011) Most of these initiatives focus on relationship skills such as communication, but little attention is given to finances

  9. Financial Conflict • Britt and colleagues (2012), found financial arguments to be a strong predictor of divorce • Money arguments may lead to marital instability as they are associated with dissolution due to ineffective communication strategies (Dew, Britt, & Huston, 2012) • One crucial modality of communication in relationships is self-disclosure, one of the most important factors in predicting marital satisfaction (Dowd, Means, & Pope, 2005)

  10. Self-disclosure When it comes to finances, partners are not always willing to self-disclose Self-disclosure is even more important in the early stages of a relationship (Markman,1981) Specifically during the premarital and newlywed stages as communication quality was been linked to divorce (Markman, Rhoades, Stanley, Ragan, & Whitton, 2010)

  11. Self-disclosure • Major determinant of marital satisfaction • Self-disclosure – revealing inner thoughts • One of the most important factors in predicting marital satisfaction (Sokloski & Hendrick ,1999) • Selective disclosure – Filtering information • Reciprocal – develop trust • Most important in the early years, more in-depth

  12. Financial Infidelity 82% admitted they hid purchases from their partner 40% Admitted to lying to their partner regarding spending habits Harris Interactive survey, Commissioned by Forbes Women and National Endowment for Financial Education

  13. Financial Transparency “The open and honest disclosure of one’s finances” (Koochel, Markham, Crawford, & Archuleta, in review)

  14. Financial Transparency

  15. Financial Transparency Scale Financial Partnership (α = .95) – Assessment of discussion regarding goals, spending habits, purchases, budgeting, saving, and credit reports • Financial Secrecy (α = .93) • – Assessment of choosing to keep a secret or lie about financial transaction, purchase, and spending • Financial Trust and Disclosure (α = .83) • Assessment of disclosing earnings, bonuses, or purchases, as well trust in their partners financial judgement and management

  16. Developed from a communication prospective • Addresses the way people share and manage private information (Petronio, 2007,2010) • Partners need to be both private and open at the same time • CPM presumes a dialectical tension to reveal or conceal • Important consideration as self-disclosure is one of the most important factors when predicting marital satisfaction (Dowd, Means & Pope, 2005) Privacy Management Theory

  17. Investigate how transparent communication about finances influences marital satisfaction • Explore if any differences exist between emerging adult individuals and adults Hypothesis: Financial transparency will uniquely predict marital satisfaction after accounting for communication for both emerging adults and older adults Present Study

  18. Participants (N = 75) • 20 – 29 years old (M = 26.35, SD = 2.13) • Legally married for the first time • Less than 5 years Methods Measures: Kansas Marital Satisfaction Communication Patterns (CPQ –SF) Financial Transparency Recruitment Email Social Media Mechanical Turk

  19. Demographics

  20. Demographics

  21. Results

  22. Open communication will help to align future financial expectations of the individuals, mitigating the effects of financial behaviors not addressed prior to forming a relationship • Several predictors of divorce occur prior to marriage or in the early stages, suggesting it is important to focus on premarital initiatives (Britt & Huston, 2012) • The FTS could be used during group or individual communication-based premarital education programs to start the conversation about finances • Although many pre- and post-marital education programs have addressed couple’s communication, specific attention should be paid to communication as it relates to finances PractitionerImplications

  23. Ability to assess the domain of financial transparency between married partners through the dimensions of Financial Partnership, Financial Secrecy, and Financial Trust and Disclosure • Contributes to the focus of previous research in the area • Financial transparency provides important information to the context in which finances are being discussed • This scale provides a measurement for a sophisticated perspective on the interpersonal factors that mediate financial transparency between married individuals ResearchImplications

  24. Researchers have continued to find that communication (Gottman & Notarius, 2000; Lavner, Karney, & Bradbury, 2016; Stanley et al., 2002) and financial factors (Britt & Huston, 2012) play important roles in marital satisfaction • Financial transparency is also important to consider for marital satisfaction • Specific attention should be paid to communication as it relates to finances • A couple may have effective communication, it is also beneficial to be open and honest about finances ResearchImplications

  25. Couples married for greater than 5 years Longitudinal study to analyze changes or trends throughout the marriage A larger cross-cultural sample Future Research

  26. Contact Information: Emily Koochel, M.S. Kansas State University