The Influence of Parental Financial Socialization on Youth’s Financial Behavior: Evidence from Ghana

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Abstract

How youth manage their money may influence their transitions to adulthood. This may be particularly true for youth in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where many youth and young adults lack access to economic opportunities. Parental financial socialization is associated with youth financial knowledge, attitudes, and behavior in research studies conducted mostly in the US, yet little is known about the financial lives of youth living in SSA. Propensity score analysis and robust standard errors with multiple regression were used to examine the relationship between parental financial socialization and youth financial behaviors among a sample of 3,623 youth ages 12–19 and a parent or other adult guardian living in eight out of 10 regions of Ghana. Findings indicated that both parent- and youth-perceived parental financial socialization was a strong and consistent predictor of youth financial behaviors, as was receipt of earned income. Practitioners interested in empowering youth through financial education and inclusion programs might consider how to involve parents and other family members in programs and capitalize on opportunities for youth to have some earned income while they learn how to manage money.