Older Adults' Receipt of Financial Help: Does Personality Matter?

Martie Gillen, Hyungsoo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined the role of personality traits in the receipt of financial help at older ages using the 2006 and 2008 waves of Health and Retirement Study data. An investigation of (1) how the five domains of personality traits (openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism) are associated with the receipt of financial help among older adults and (2) the relationship between personality traits and the source of financial help received was examined. Three sets of probit analyses were conducted. The results indicated that personality can predict financial help and the source of financial help. Specifically, older adults who exhibited relatively higher levels of neuroticism and agreeableness were more likely to receive financial help, whereas those who exhibited relatively higher levels of conscientiousness were less likely to receive financial help regardless of the source. Furthermore, older adults who had relatively higher levels of neuroticism were more likely to help themselves with individual sources such as credit cards whereas agreeable older adults were more likely to receive financial help from family members. These findings have implications for financial counseling, planning and education professionals, public assistance program directors, and policy makers. Understanding the effect of personality on financial decision-making can help with financial planning throughout life and inform outreach efforts for those in need of financial help.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-189
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Family and Economic Issues
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Older parents may receive financial assistance from their adult children (Koh and MacDonald 2006). The Pew Research Center (2009) found that 14 % of older parent respondents reported receiving financial support from their adult children, whereas among respondents who had an older parent, 21 % reported providing financial assistance to their parent. The amount of financial support given to a parent is positively linked to their adult child’s household income and wage rates (Couch et al. 1999; Zissimopoulos 2001). Interestingly, adult children may be less inclined to provide financial support to their older parent following parental divorce and remarriage (Hans et al. 2009).

Keywords

  • Financial help
  • Older adults
  • Personality traits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Economics and Econometrics

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