Original Paper

Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 424-436

First online:

Beyond Employment and Income: The Association Between Young Adults’ Finances and Marital Timing

  • Jeffrey DewAffiliated withFamily, Consumer, and Human Development, Utah State University Email author 
  • , Joseph PriceAffiliated withDepartment of Economics, Brigham Young University

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This study tested an extension of the theory of marital timing (Oppenheimer, Am J Sociol 94:563–591, 1988) by assessing whether visible and less visible financial assets and debt mediated the relationship between employment and the likelihood of marriage. We conducted these prospective, longitudinal analyses using a sample of 1,522 never-married young adults from the National Survey of Families and Households. For participants who were not cohabiting at Wave 1, financial issues such as car values predicted marriage but did not mediate the relationship between work hours, occupational prestige, and the likelihood of marriage. For cohabiting participants, employment factors were the strongest predictor of marriage.


Assets Cohabitation Consumer debt Employment Marriage