Family Matters

Insurance And The Modern Family

The foundations of modern family-building

A new study from Cake & Arrow, a marketing-research company for financial services, looks at the changing demographics of the family and how it influences our lives. Reprinted with permission. Read the full report here.

In recent decades, not only has the definition of the family evolved, but the demographics of families and the roles that individuals play within the family unit have changed too. This rapid shift in family dynamic has been influenced by everything from politics and socioeconomics to shifting cultural values and priorities.

In Cake & Arrow’s most recent report, entitled Insurance & The Modern Family, we uncover how these shifts have lead to changing needs, risks, and expectations in terms of how families function and operate in the modern world, and their relevance to the insurance industry at large.

Readers of the report can expect to learn:

Five of the most significant shifts that have taken place within the American family over the past half century
The unique challenges that today’s family faces and how they can be supported in overcoming them
How to reposition insurance as a tool that supports and provides better foundations for modern family life

Excerpts from the report

Respondents saw family not as a rigid set of roles played by its various members, but instead as a partnership and collaboration in which members share and negotiate responsibilities.

Respondents indicated that the health of the family has more to do with the quality and stability of the relationships that comprise it, and less to do with the religious and moral dimensions often associated with family life. For respondents, the concept of the nuclear family remains important, with families continuing to see themselves as autonomous and independent units operating distinct from society, government, and their communities.

Respondents named physical and mental health as key components of family building, both in deciding to get married or deciding to have children. Lack of affordable health care makes families feel at risk and makes individuals less confident in pursuing family life.

In today’s modern world, respondents indicated that balancing the demands of work and family is increasingly difficult. Families are looking for more flexibility when it comes to how they choose to manage their professional and personal lives but often feel cornered into choosing between the two.

Respondents indicated that the health of the family has more to do with the quality and stability of the relationships that comprise it rather than the religious and moral dimensions that are often associated with family life. In recent decades, the language surrounding marriage and family has frequently been invoked to advocate moral and religious principles...

What We Learned
Gender roles within families are becoming less clearly defined. Individuals consider the duties of family life, whether domestic or financial, as shared responsibilities and not necessarily belonging to one partner or the other. Since time immemorial, families have divided domestic responsibilities among their members; however, individual family roles and responsibilities are becoming less clearly defined. Our research suggested that both partners consider things like caring for children and managing finances to be shared responsibilities and not belonging primarily to one partner or the other.

Emotional And Financial Stability
Respondents indicated that the health of the family has more to do with the quality and stability of the relationships that comprise it rather than the religious and moral dimensions that are often associated with family life. In recent decades, the language surrounding marriage and family has frequently been invoked to advocate moral and religious principles.

Additionally, for the last century or two, marriage has also been closely tied to ideas of love and romance. Contrary to these historical associations, our research found that, while traditional ideas of love, romance, and morality continue to inform attitudes surrounding marriage, survey respondents tended to consider marriage less of a moral issue and more as a pathway to stability. Respondents frequently emphasized things like trust, communication, stability, and respect as the fundamentals of a healthy relationship as opposed to love, religion, or even the institution of marriage itself.

Balance And Flexibility
Respondents indicated that, in today’s modern world, balancing the demands of work and family is increasingly difficult. Families are looking for more flexibility when it comes to how they choose to manage their professional and personal lives but often feel cornered into choosing between the two. Even as feminism and the advancement of womens’ rights have created more financial and socioeconomic opportunities for families, they still find it difficult to balance the responsibilities of their personal and professional lives. Among those we surveyed, both men and women valued their careers and families. The majority of these men and women both work full-time and have children but find it difficult satisfactorily sustain both.

Read the full report here.