Entries in finances (6)

Wednesday
Feb252015

Does Parenting Make People Happy or Miserable?

Parenting, no doubt, is a demanding job. While parenting can bring people great joy and meaning, it can also be incredibly stressful and frustrating. The debate over whether parents are more or less happy than non-parents doesn’t have a definitive answer. This is in part due to the fact that people who have children differ, on average, from those who do not have children in ways that are related to happiness, such as in their marital status, age, and income. 

While people have debated whether parents are happier than non-parents, researchers suggest that the question of whether parents are more or less happy is not the most meaningful question. Rather, we should begin asking the questions of when, why, and how parenting may contribute to greater happiness or negativity. In a recent review linking parenting and well-being, researchers outlined a number of these differences, and identify a wide range of factors that affect the degree to which parenting affects happiness.1 Spoiler alert: It’s complicated.

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Wednesday
Jan072015

Cleaning Up from the Holiday Season

Maybe you spent months in a race against the clock to produce the most memorable Christmas gift your spouse has ever received.  Maybe you scrimped and saved every spare dime to reward your children with the latest and greatest gizmos, gadgets or items of clothing.  Maybe you simply procrastinated and completed your holiday shopping in a matter of hours before the “big” night with the family!  Regardless of your preparation, or lack thereof…it’s over.  Now that we have embraced and celebrated the holiday season, for many of us our thoughts turn to the “clean up” of the holiday fury.  By clean up, I don’t mean the laborious task of taking down the tree, or uncovering the mantle from the holiday stockings that were hung quite meticulously only hours after carving the Thanksgiving turkey and ham.  By clean up, I mean the often inevitable crash that comes after the anticipation and the climax of the holiday season. 

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Friday
Oct172014

Diamonds Aren’t Forever: Expensive Rings and Weddings May Lead to Relationship Problems

My husband and I got hitched this past June, which I can honestly say was one of the happiest and most transcendent experiences of my life. However, we both agree that whereas the wedding was awesome, the wedding planning process was decidedly not awesome. Navigating the wedding industry can be quite frustrating, in part because of the relentless pressure to spend fantastic amounts of money on anything and everything wedding-related. As a relationships researcher, I was particularly interested in, and baffled by, the rhetoric that many vendors use in order to sell wedding services and products.

Many of the sales pitches boil down to the idea that couples in love should want expensive weddings. Vendors will argue that if you truly love your partner, you should be willing to go to any lengths (at least monetarily) to properly celebrate that love on your “special day”. For example, maybe you want to show your love for your partner by getting a fancy gilded guestbook for your guests to sign, or personally monogrammed hand towels for the reception bathroom. Sometimes the rhetoric even goes so far as to suggest that an expensive wedding guarantees you true love. With a perfectly straight face, some vendors will tell you that your wedding day will “set the tone” for your marriage, and you should be willing to do anything it takes to start your marriage off “on the right foot”. For example, perhaps you should set the right tone by hiring a 20-piece orchestra for your ceremony, or limos to transport all your guests to the reception.

Examples of this sort of advertising can be traced back to the 1940s, when De Beers diamond company launched their infamous “Diamonds are forever” campaign. Indeed, many of the social norms around marriage proposals—such as the arbitrary benchmark of two months’ salary that men should spend on an engagement ring—come from De Beers’ successful advertising efforts. Like the wedding industry more broadly, the diamond industry relies on the premise that spending a great deal of money shows love for your partner and predicts relationship success. This idea is widespread in our culture, likely because it is a marketer’s dream: who wouldn’t pay any price to ensure marital bliss? What’s less clear is how accurate these notions are. To what extent do high levels of spending actually predict marital bliss?

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Tuesday
Mar122013

Do Those Who Buy Together Stay Together? Treating Homeownership as a Relationship Decision

My fiance is a mortgage broker, and recently we decided to combine our two passions (mine = relationship research, his = finances) and share some thoughts that might help couples who are thinking of buying a home together. For more information, blogs and videos on finances, visit the Loewen Group website.

Buying your first home? Chances are this is not only a financial decision, but a relationship decision as well.

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Friday
Feb032012

Invest in Your Relationship by Talking about Money

Some people find it tacky to talk about money in the context of love. They say, “All you need is love, love is priceless, and love conquers all.” Our cultural milieu tells us that if we are worried about money then we must be greedy, selfish, or shallow. Many of us listen to these messages and-- rather than talking about money with our beloved-- avoid the subject altogether, figuring that with strong love, practical concerns like income, debt, expenses, and spending habits will resolve themselves. 

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Tuesday
Jan032012

The Blame Game: Why Financial Stress Hurts Some Couples but Not Others

Money troubles constitute one of the most common relationship stressors. Interestingly, some relationships are especially prone to problems during tough economic times. Why? It depends on what people believe to be the cause of their financial difficulties. When couples attribute their financial troubles to their partners, satisfaction is worse. But blaming oneself or the economy minimizes the negative effect financial troubles have on satisfaction. Thus, finding a scapegoat for money-trouble may protect couples’ relationships.

Diamond, L. M., & Hicks, A. M. (2011). “It’s the economy, honey!” Couples’ blame attributions during the 2007-2009 economic crisis. Personal Relationships. Article first published online: 16 AUG 2011, DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-6811.2011.01380.x

image source: visualphotos.com