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Title: My Money, Your Money, Our Money: Contributions to the Study of Couples’ Financial Management in Portugal
Authors: Coelho, Lina 
Keywords: marriage; financial management; gender issues; economic decision-making
Issue Date: 2014
Project: This article was written within the scope of the project “FINFAM – Finances, Gender and Power: how are Portuguese families managing their finances in the context of the crisis?" (PTDC/IVC-SOC/4823/2012 – FCOMP-01-0124-FEDER-029372), financed by ERDF funds through the Operational Programme Factors of Competitiveness (COMPETE) and by national funds through the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT). 
Serial title, monograph or event: RCCS Annual Review
Issue: 6
Abstract: The majority of people live most of their lives in plural households, typically anchored in a couple and sharing common family resources, which have to be managed. Household economic and financial decisions are thus necessarily determined, at least to some extent, by logics of cooperation and sharing, as the needs of all family members have to be taken into account. When a new couple is formed, financial decisions, which were previously made on an individual basis, become shared, a situation that is necessarily reinforced with the birth of children. As individual preferences are often divergent or even conflicting, couples’ decisions result from complex interactions, involving tacit or explicit negotiation between the spouses. This usually leads to the definition, from the outset, of each partner’s sphere of decision-making in the management of the joint income, in spending, saving or debt incurrence. Those early decisions define the “rules of the game,” and the need (or otherwise) to also negotiate them on a day-to-day basis. Although many of the deep changes in Portuguese families in recent decades have been thoroughly studied (in terms of socio-demographic and economic aspects, interpersonal relationships, and families’ relations with other institutions), the perceptions, negotiations and financial practices of couples have yet to be properly examined. This article aims to fill that gap. It begins by presenting a theoretical contextualization of the ways in which social norms and representations of marriage and gender influence families’ financial behaviours, their decisions regarding consumption and saving, intrahousehold sharing of resources, family power relations and individual wellbeing. Then, it undertakes a brief analysis of the Portuguese case, based on data from the 2010 Portuguese Institute of Statistics Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC). Although limited in its comprehensiveness and analytical depth, this exercise applies the typology developed by Jan Pahl and Carolyn Vogler on systems of couples’ financial management and control, which is the most commonly used typology in empirical studies on this subject.
Other Identifiers: 10.4000/rccsar.546
DOI: 10.4000/rccsar.546
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:I&D CES - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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