Pathways from Financial Knowledge to Relationship Satisfaction: The Roles of Financial Behaviors, Perceived Shared Financial Values with the Romantic Partner, and Debt

Casey J. Totenhagen, Melissa J. Wilmarth, Joyce Serido, Melissa A Curran, Soyeon Shim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


We examined how subjective and objective financial knowledge were associated with relationship satisfaction through pathways of finance-related rewards (positive financial behaviors, perceived shared financial values with the romantic partner, or lower debt) in a sample of cohabiting or married young adults (N = 162). We used Waves 2, 3, and 4 of the Arizona Pathways to Life Success for University Students (APLUS) study to conduct path analyses. No pathways were significant in longitudinal models. In the cross-sectional models (Wave 4), we found individuals’ own subjective (but not objective) financial knowledge was associated with relationship satisfaction. This association was indirect in the model with perceived shared financial values, demonstrating that shared financial values with the romantic partner may be a key mechanism linking financial knowledge to improved relationship quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Family and Economic Issues
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019



  • Debt
  • Financial behaviors
  • Objective financial knowledge
  • Relationship satisfaction
  • Shared financial values with the romantic partner
  • Subjective financial knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Economics and Econometrics

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