Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 121–137 | Cite as

Marriage and the Allocation of Assets in Women’s Defined Contribution Plans

Original Paper


The goal of this paper is to understand the effect of family decision-making on the investment decisions of married men and women. Using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances, we investigate how the spouse’s relative control over financial resources in the household and the life-cycle stage affect the investment choices of married women and men. The results show that married women who have more control over the financial resources are less likely to invest their Defined Contribution Plans (DCPs) in risky assets. Also, women who are married to relatively older men are less likely to take on risk with their DCPs. There is little evidence that the wife’s characteristics affect the investment decisions of married men.


Gender Financial decision-making Investment choice Risk aversion 



The research reported herein was performed pursuant to a grant from the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College (CRR). This grant was awarded through the CRR’s Steven H. Sandell Grant Program for Junior Scholars in Retirement Research. The opinions and conclusions are solely those of the authors and should not be construed as representing the opinion or policy of SSA or any agency of the Federal Government or of the CRR. We are grateful to the U.S. Social Security Administration and the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College (CRR) for their generous financial support. This research was awarded the CFP Board’s American Council on Consumer Interests (ACCI) Financial Planning Paper Award. We graciously thank the CFP Board for their recognition and support of this research. We also thank Vickie Bajtelsmit, Alexandra Bernasek, Julianne Cullen, Shoshana A. Grossbard, Nancy Jianakoplos, Kristin Kleinjans, Ann Huff Stevens, and three anonymous referees and the editor, Jing Xiao, the associate editor, Alberto Molina, and seminar participants in the Department of Economics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Boğaziçi University, and the ASSA meetings, and public finance participants in the CSWEP Junior Faculty Mentoring Program for providing us valuable feedback.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Personal Financial PlanningUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural and Consumer EconomicsUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA

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