Personal Emotions and Family Financial Well-Being: Applying the Broaden and Build Theory

Shane Enete, Martin Seay, Sarah Asebedo, David Wang, Megan McCoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this article is to show that emotions matter when predicting the financial well-being of U.S. households. The broaden and build theory (BBT) was used to predict that positive emotions would be positively associated with financial well-being and negative emotions would be negatively associated with financial well-being. Using a convenience sample of 993 U.S. adults, emotions were found to explain the variation in family financial well-being, measured by income and net worth, of U.S. households beyond demographic variables. More specifically, feelings of contentment, love, anger, anxiety, and loneliness were found to be associated with financial well-being. Results suggest that policymakers, financial professionals, and academics should collect more data on the emotions of individuals to help explain the variation in the financial well-being of U.S. households. Results also provide evidence in support of the financial counseling industry’s efforts to incorporate emotions as an important variable when modeling family financial well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-96
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Financial Counseling and Planning
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 22 2022


  • broaden and build theory
  • emotions
  • financial behavior
  • financial well-being
  • positive psychology


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