Effects of Marriage and Children on Financial Risk Tolerance: A Synthesis of Family Development and Prospect Theory

Abstract

Family development and prospect theory were used as a framework to predict variability in individuals' subjective financial risk tolerance within distinct family structures. Gender, age, and income were expected to interact with the main effects of family structure (marital status and children). Theory-generated hypotheses were examined in Study 1 (data from university housing respondents, n = 76) and Study 2 (the 1998 Survey of Consumer Finances, n = 4,305). One family structure main effect (child presence) was significant for investment risk tolerance in both studies. Family structure interactions (marital status × age and child × income) were significant for employment risk (Study 1), and child × age was significant for investment risk in Study 2.

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Chaulk, B., Johnson, P.J. & Bulcroft, R. Effects of Marriage and Children on Financial Risk Tolerance: A Synthesis of Family Development and Prospect Theory. Journal of Family and Economic Issues 24, 257–279 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1025495221519

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  • family development
  • prospect theory
  • risk tolerance