How Financial Assets and Consumer Debt Influence Marital Conflict

Personal Finance February 06, 2017 Print Friendly and PDF


Dew, J. (2007) Two sides of the same coin? The differing roles of assets and consumer debt in marriage. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 28(1), 89-104.

Brief Description: This study assessed how financial assets (e.g., savings, investments, etc.) and consumer debt (e.g., credit card debt) influence the frequency of marital conflict. Assets indirectly decrease marital conflict by decreasing feelings of financial pressure. Although consumer debt adds to feelings of financial pressure, it also directly relates to increased frequency of couples’ arguments.

Implications: Not only do decisions about assets and consumer debt have financial consequences, they have consequences on relationships of married couples. Accumulating assets can ease feelings of financial pressure and decrease conflict in marriage. Paying down or paying off consumer debt, such as credit card debt, may also decrease conflict in marriage.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.