Review Article

Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 644-667

First online:

Family Financial Socialization: Theory and Critical Review

  • Clinton G. GudmunsonAffiliated withIowa State University Email author 
  • , Sharon M. DanesAffiliated withUniversity of Minnesota

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Financial literacy research of the past 40 years (1970–2010) has largely ignored the reasons for sociodemographic differences in financial outcomes. The primary purpose of this paper is to initiate a theoretical discussion regarding family financial socialization—what it is; why it is important; and how its tenets could help advance understanding of individual differences in financial literacy. To this end, we propose a conceptual model that integrates family socialization theory and recent trends in financial literacy research. The study concludes with an interdisciplinary critical review of 100 articles which provide illustrations, highlight gaps, and present opportunities for further research with many practical guidelines for advancing deeper understanding of financial literacy from a socialization perspective.


Family relationships Financial literacy Financial socialization Financial attitudes Socialization theory