Capable Couples

Jessica Weeden, Carnegie Mellon University

Abstract

Discussion of money has become stigmatized in American culture. Money affects lifestyle, sense of security or one’s own sense of self worth, making conversations about so much more than just finances. Left alone, this can lead partners to develop a sense of resentment, mistrust or confusion about their joint financial situation.

Combining information from user research, casual conversations, observations of those around me, and the current literature on marital conflict and money management, this project aims to provide a way for younger couples to approach financial conversations in a way that reduces the anxiety that often comes with the territory.

I approached this by designing a game for the couple to play as a means of prompting discussion. By creating a game that fosters a comfortable, casual environment, they can learn and plan alongside each other while feeling cooperative rather than competitive or defensive.

In this way, I am able to raise serious financial questions for the couple to consider moments after they are laughing about what cartoon character they most resemble. This shifts the focus from dread and tension to learning and strengthening their bond.