Adults differ in the extent to which they find spending money to be distressing; “tightwads” find spending money painful, and “spendthrifts” do not find spending painful enough. This affective dimension has been reliably measured in adults and predicts a variety of important financial behaviors and outcomes (e.g., saving behavior and credit scores). Although children's financial behavior has also received attention, feelings about spending have not been studied in children, as they have in adults. We measured the spendthrift–tightwad (ST–TW) construct in children for the first time, with a sample of 5‐ to 10‐year‐old children (N = 225). Children across the entire age range were able to reliably report on their affective responses to spending and saving, and children's ST–TW scores were related to parent reports of children's temperament and financial behavior. Further, children's ST–TW scores were predictive of whether they chose to save or spend money in the lab, even after controlling for age and how much they liked the offered items. Our novel findings—that children's feelings about spending and saving can be measured from an early age and relate to their behavior with money—are discussed with regard to theoretical and practical implications. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Journal of Behavioral Decision Making – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ; ; ; ;
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