“Why Are You Not Completely Satisfied?” Relationship Satisfaction, Household Money Management and Economic Conflicts among Older Couples in Sweden

Linda Kridahl , Stockholm University
Ann-Zofie Duvander, Stockholm University

The study examines how relationship satisfaction is related to the management of household money and economic conflicts among older cohabiting individuals in Sweden. Even in dual-earner couples, income distribution is likely to be skewed and this is emphasized among older couples where income mainly is from pension. We focus on gendered roles to facilitate the understanding of how money management strategies may lead to variations in relationship satisfaction. Money management is an important aspect of relationships in all ages but its importance grows when resources are decreasing, such as in late-life. We use the Swedish Generation and Gender Survey from 2012, and study individuals aged 60-80. The outcome is relationship satisfaction and the explanatory variables are household money management and economic conflicts. We also control for financial hardship, as well as socio-economic, demographic and health variables. The results show that keeping any money separate increases the risk for lower relationship satisfaction among both women and men. Particularly, we find a gradient among individuals who keep all separate money, which is more strongly associated with being dissatisfied. The results further show that women and men with economic conflicts have a much higher risk of lower relationship satisfaction. Predominantly, economic conflicts increase the risk of being dissatisfied. The study contributes to a greater understanding of the interconnection between relationship satisfaction, money management and economic conflicts in relation to gender roles and social and cultural context. It also contributes to the literature by discussing autonomy, togetherness, and interdependence in relation to these issues.

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 Presented in Session P2. Poster Session Ageing, Health and Mortality