Financial management practices of married single earner and dual earner families in Delaware
The major purpose of this study was to investigate how single earner and dual earner families in Delaware manage their family finances and what factors influence satisfaction with their financial management. This study was also designed to assess the impact of perceptions of income adequacy on satisfaction with financial management practices.
The subsamples of married single earner and dual earner families were obtained from the larger study on Interactive Planning for Family Futures. This project was partially funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging and the University of Delaware.
The survey was conducted in 1988 by telephone interview in the state of Delaware. Subsamples of 121 dual earner families and 69 single earner families were drawn from a random statewide sample of 306 families in Delaware. The subsamples were limited to married couples where one or both spouses were gainfully employed either full-time or part-time. Analysis of data included use of frequencies, t-tests, chi square, two-way and three-way analyses of variance.
Demographically the subsamples were predominantly white, and 70% of the respondents were female. Dual earner families had more education, higher occupational status and higher average incomes than single earner families. The average income range for the study was $30,000-39,999 for single earner families and $40,000-49,999 for dual earner families.
Results of the study indicated that dual earner families were more interested in planning for the future than single earner families, and respondents in dual earner families were especially interested in retirement planning. Goal setting was a common practice among both single and dual earner families. A similar proportion (16%) of one and two earner families were concerned about how they would handle a $1,000 crisis. Differences were found in credit use and savings and investment practices of one and two earner families. Dual earner families are more likely to share money management decisions than single earner families.
A satisfaction index was created by summing satisfaction scores for standard of living, amount of savings, amount of investments, ability to pay debt and achievement of goals. Respondents were more Satisfied with their standard of living and less satisfied with their savings and investments.
Sociodemographic variables significantly related to satisfaction with financial management included age, spouse’s education, respondent’s occupation, and family income. Perceptions of income adequacy were significantly related to satisfaction with financial management for married single earner and dual earner families. Financial management practices significantly related to satisfaction with financial management were amount of debt, amount of savings and investments, money management activities and satisfaction with the decision making process. While it may appear from the data that dual earner families were less satisfied with their financial management, they were more interested and involved in their family’s financial well-being.