Financially Diverse Couples Research Project 2021-05-14T19:41:06+00:00

Financially Diverse Couples Research Project

Exploring the unique experiences of couples when she has the money

Financially Diverse Couples Project- full hero

Financially diverse couples, in which the wife is an inheritor, face a unique set of challenges.  

While this kind of relationship is increasing, there is little to no available research to support this growing population to flourish or to help couples prepare for this type of marriage.

This study has two purposes:

  1. To assess, from the perspective of each individual, the understanding of attitudes and behaviors which arise in these relationships.
  2. To cultivate a greater understanding of the unique challenges and gifts these couples face.

By exploring the lived experiences of financially diverse marriages, we hope to uncover the processes of both how the relationship develops and deepens, and provide a framework for understanding and supporting the individuals and couples in these unique marriages.

Dr. Jamie Traeger-Muney

I can set my watch by it, 20 minutes into the first conversation with a new client, I hear, “I am so happy I found you, I have nowhere else to talk about this”. 

In my practice, specializing in the emotional impact of money, wealth, and privilege, creating a safe space to discuss “the unspeakable” is one of the biggest benefits I can provide.

Another benefit is working with clients from research-based theories and tools. While this is always my preference, often in the field of wealth psychology, very little real research exists. This is particularly true for financially diverse (FD) couples in which the wife is an inheritor and comes to the marriage with significantly more money than her husband. There is little to no available research to support this growing population.

Due to the paucity of research and my personal investment in this topic, as part of an FD marriage myself, I am launching a study to explore the lived experiences of these couples.

Dr Jamie Traeger-Muney
JE Hughes

A Note from Jay Hughes

Understanding the unique experiences of couples in financially diverse relationships, where the woman, through an inheritance, has significantly more financial wealth than her male partner, is one that is very near to my heart. 

This is not only my lived experience but also one that I see many couples struggling with. 

While these relationships are increasing, the research exploring how these couples manage is almost nonexistent. As such, in 2017, my partner Jackie Merrill and I, with our colleague, Joannie Bronfman wrote a paper with our collected reflections. 

Since this time I have been championing the Financially Diverse Couples Research Project. This group is a collective of family wealth advisors and consultants who are dedicated to understanding and addressing the unique obstacles and opportunities facing financially diverse couples. This group is embarking on two international research projects.

The first, which we are beginning to recruit subjects for,  will explore the unique opportunities and challenges facing these couples and is lead by Dr. Jamie Traeger-Muney.

The second, lead by Will Hughes, will explore the common challenges professional therapists face when introducing and exploring the topic of shared finances with client couples, particularly in cases where the wealth-gap between clients is great. He will begin the recruitment process shortly. The group’s aim is to use its research to create practical tools and support to help these couples to thrive.

This research topic has never been studied with a significant number of participants and has the potential to change many lives for the better. We hope you will consider helping us in this endeavor.

Criteria for participants:

We are looking to collect data, both qualitative and quantitative, from at least 50 heterosexual couples worldwide. While we know that this issue is not limited to a wife with greater financial resources, nor to heterosexual couples, this is where we are beginning. In later studies, we hope to expand our research.

  • Female inheritors who are either currently in or divorced from a financially diverse marriage in which they came into the marriage with more wealth than their husbands.
  • Males who are either currently in or divorced from a financially diverse marriage in which their wives, through an inheritance, came into the marriage with more wealth.

Participants will each fill out an electronic questionnaire that takes under 30 minutes to complete and then will be interviewed, via Zoom, for an hour. All interviewers in this project are from financially diverse marriages as well, so you will be speaking to someone who gets it.


Questions will explore your feelings and experiences around money, inherited wealth, relationships, fulfillment, and marriage.

The interview questions will be sent beforehand for participants to review.

All data will be confidential.

NEXT STEPS- Participants

If you are in one of these relationships and are finding ways to thrive, encountering challenges, or have endured the ending of one and, would be willing to share your experience, we would greatly appreciate your participation. Of course, all responses will be held in strict confidentiality. 

What to expect:

  1. Register for the study by submitting this form 
  2. Encourage your spouse, or ex-spouse, to register as well (your information will not be shared with one another).
  3. We’ll reach out to you via email with additional information.
  4. We send you the link for an online questionnaire that should take you less than 30 minutes to complete. It must be done in advance of your interview appointment.
  5. You pre-book a time for your 1-hour interview with one of our researchers.
  6. Once the questionnaire is complete, we will send you an outline of the questions to be discussed in your interview.
  7. You meet one of our researchers over Zoom for a 1-hour interview, where we will ask you about your feelings and experiences around money, inherited wealth, relationships, fulfillment, and marriage. The meeting will be recorded and transcribed, but all interviews are confidential and all identifying information about the individuals and their families will be removed before the data is analyzed.

Next Steps: Referrals

If you are an advisor or therapist who supports someone in one of these relationships, and you have not already received our email information package, please fill out the following form and we’ll send you information to forward to your clients.

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