Original Paper

Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 178-189

First online:

Older Adults’ Receipt of Financial Help: Does Personality Matter?

  • Martie GillenAffiliated withDepartment of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, University of Florida Email author 
  • , Hyungsoo KimAffiliated withDepartment of Family Sciences, University of Kentucky

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Abstract

This study examined the role of personality traits in the receipt of financial help at older ages using the 2006 and 2008 waves of Health and Retirement Study data. An investigation of (1) how the five domains of personality traits (openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism) are associated with the receipt of financial help among older adults and (2) the relationship between personality traits and the source of financial help received was examined. Three sets of probit analyses were conducted. The results indicated that personality can predict financial help and the source of financial help. Specifically, older adults who exhibited relatively higher levels of neuroticism and agreeableness were more likely to receive financial help, whereas those who exhibited relatively higher levels of conscientiousness were less likely to receive financial help regardless of the source. Furthermore, older adults who had relatively higher levels of neuroticism were more likely to help themselves with individual sources such as credit cards whereas agreeable older adults were more likely to receive financial help from family members. These findings have implications for financial counseling, planning and education professionals, public assistance program directors, and policy makers. Understanding the effect of personality on financial decision-making can help with financial planning throughout life and inform outreach efforts for those in need of financial help.

Keywords

Personality traits Financial help Older adults