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"Am I going to be happy and financially stable?": How American women feel when they think about financial security

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  • Talya Miron-Shatz
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    Abstract

    Before the recent recession evoked general dismay and uncertainty, this study examined the relative contribution of income and the concern over financial security to life satisfaction. The degree to which such concerns permeate people's daily lives could be part of the broader concept of wealth, often measured through income and debt, and could help evaluate fiscal instruments promoting financial security. Study 1 (\textit{N} = 267) used econometric methods to demonstrate that the consideration of financial security was as important to participants' life satisfaction as their monetary assets. Further, outlook on financial security adds to the prediction of life satisfaction above the contribution of income. Content analysis revealed that nearly half the participants (\textit{N} = 651, Study 2) mentioned financial concerns --- retirement, college tuition, making ends meet, etc. --- when asked to think about ``the future'' in an open-ended manner. These participants reported lower life satisfaction compared with women who did not raise such concerns. The link between concerns over financial security and life satisfaction, which cannot be fully accounted for by income alone, could guide policy decisions on whether to directly allocate resources toward increasing income or to focus on creating a social and financial safety net.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Society for Judgment and Decision Making in its journal Judgment and Decision Making.

    Volume (Year): 4 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 1 (February)
    Pages: 102-112

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    Handle: RePEc:jdm:journl:v:4:y:2009:i:1:p:102-112

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    Keywords: financial security; income; life satisfaction; well-being.;

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    1. Chang-ming Hsieh, 2003. "Counting Importance: The Case of Life Satisfaction and Relative Domain Importance," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 61(2), pages 227-240, February.
    2. Robert Cummins, 1996. "The domains of life satisfaction: An attempt to order chaos," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 303-328, January.
    3. On Amir & Dan Ariely & Alan Cooke & David Dunning & Nicholas Epley & Uri Gneezy & Botond Koszegi & Donald Lichtenstein & Nina Mazar & Sendhil Mullainathan & Drazen Prelec & Eldar Shafir & Jose Silva, 2005. "Psychology, Behavioral Economics, and Public Policy," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 443-454, December.
    4. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2008. "Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox," CESifo Working Paper Series 2394, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2009. "The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness," CEPR Discussion Papers 7311, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Chang-ming Hsieh, 2004. "To Weight or not to Weight: The Role of Domain Importance in Quality of Life Measurement," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 68(2), pages 163-174, September.
    7. Michael Hagerty & Ruut Veenhoven, 2003. "Wealth and Happiness Revisited – Growing National Income Does Go with Greater Happiness," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 64(1), pages 1-27, October.
    8. Easterlin, Richard A., 2006. "Life cycle happiness and its sources: Intersections of psychology, economics, and demography," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 463-482, August.
    9. repec:pri:cheawb:deaton_income_health_and_wellbeing_around_the_world_evidence_%20from_gallup_world_poll_jep_spring2008 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. John F. Helliwell, 2002. "How's Life? Combining Individual and National Variables to Explain Subjective Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 9065, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Angus Deaton, 2008. "Income, Health, and Well-Being around the World: Evidence from the Gallup World Poll," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 53-72, Spring.
    12. Richard Easterlin, 2005. "Feeding the Illusion of Growth and Happiness: A Reply to Hagerty and Veenhoven," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 74(3), pages 429-443, December.
    13. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
    14. Robert Cummins, 1995. "On the trail of the gold standard for subjective well-being," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 179-200, June.
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