“Why did you spend money on that?” Older partners’ economic conflicts and management of household money in Sweden
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Objective: This study investigates the association between older cohabiting individuals’ use of different household money management systems and their experience of economic conflicts.
Background: Conflicts about money are among the most common conflicts for couples, but research has often focused on young and middle-aged partners, while little is known about how older partners manage financial aspects of their relationships.
Method: The sample consists of individuals aged 60 and older who participated in the 2012 Swedish GGS. Regression analysis is employed with economic conflicts as the outcome.
Results: The results show that couples who pool all their money are less likely to have economic conflicts compared to couples who use any other money management strategies. Whether some or all of a couple’s money is kept separate does not seem to be important to the onset of economic conflicts, and strategies involving the separation of money lead to economic conflicts particularly when household resources are insufficient. However, female management of money generates fewer economic conflicts than male management.
Conclusion: Pooling all income is associated with fewer economic conflicts than keeping any money separate, also in situations of economic hardship.
Implications: As couple’s money strategies are diverse, and many couples do not share their money equally, and also experience conflicts, policy makers should consider economic inequalities also within households of older couples.