Does Difference Make a Difference in Financial Planning for Risk?

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Current policy-making assumes people perceive and respond to financial risk in a uniform and rational way. This research sought to investigate whether social and cultural differences along the dimensions of disability, sexuality, faith and ethnicity influence attitudes to money and approaches to planning for possible financial risk eventualities. Eighty in-depth interviews with individuals committed to different faiths (Muslim and Christian), disabled people, gays, lesbians and bisexuals, and members of black and minority ethnic groups (black and Asian) were conducted in 2005/2006. Mainstream cultural reference points were dominant in respondents' accounts; however, difference was also found to be more determining in some areas than has previously been documented. The article explores the impact of these relationships on financial planning and draws out the policy implications of the different elements of difference on financial planning. The study argues that socio-cultural approaches to risk need to be better understood at the policy-making level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)576-592
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Policy & Administration
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008


  • Risk
  • Financial planning
  • Money
  • Difference
  • Social group

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