Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 123–135 | Cite as

Financial Attitudes and Inter vivos Resource Transfers from Older Parents to Adult Children

Original Paper


This exploratory study combines economic, family, and decision-making conceptual models to investigate the factors influencing resource transfers as reported by older adults. Pilot data on 61 adult children was obtained during face-to-face interviews with 18 older parents. Hierarchical multiple regressions were conducted to predict time (emotional support) and financial (cash and gifts) inter vivos transfers from demands, resources, values, and relationships. Positive health ratings, strong affection for the adult child, and money retention attitudes were associated with frequent emotional support. Small household size predicted frequent financial transfers. Results indicate the importance of values, resources, demands, and relationships in predicting resource transfers from older parent to adult child.


Family resource management theory Intergenerational transfers Older adults Parent–child relationship Social support 


  1. Aquilino, W. S. (2005). Impact of family structure on parental attitudes toward the economic support of adult children over the transition to adulthood. Journal of Family Issues, 26, 143–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Becker, G. S. (1981). A treatise on the family. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Berry, B. M. (2001a). All the ties that bind: Race, ethnicity, and why families support adult children (Populations Studies Center Research Report 01–487). Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.Google Scholar
  4. Berry, B. M. (2001b). Financial transfers from parents to adult children: Issues of who is helped and why (Populations Studies Center Research Report 01–485). Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.Google Scholar
  5. Berry, B. M. (2001c). What explains race and ethnic differences in family financial transfers to adult children? (Populations Studies Center Research Report 01–486). Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.Google Scholar
  6. Cooney, T. M., & Uhlenberg, P. (1992). Support from parents over the life course: The adult child’s perspective. Social Forces, 71, 63–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cox, D., & Rank, M. R. (1992). Inter-vivos transfers and intergenerational exchange. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 74, 305–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Deacon, R. E., & Firebaugh, F. M. (1981). Family resource management: Principles and applications. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  9. Eggebeen, D. J. (1992). Family structure and intergenerational exchanges. Research on Aging, 14, 427–447.Google Scholar
  10. Eggebeen, D. J., & Hogan, D. P. (1990). Giving between generations in American families. Human Nature, 1, 211–232.Google Scholar
  11. Furnham, A. (1984). Many sides of the coin: The psychology of money usage. Personality and Individual Differences, 5, 501–509.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hayhoe, C. R. (2002). College students’ use of credit: At two points in time. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences: From Research to Practice, 94(1), 71–77.Google Scholar
  13. Hayhoe, C. R., Leach, L., Allen, M.W., & Edwards, R. (2005). Credit cards held by college students. Financial Counseling and Planning, 16(1), 1–10.Google Scholar
  14. Hayhoe, C. R., & Wilhelm, M. S. (1998). Modeling perceived economic well-being in a family setting: A gender perspective. Financial Planning and Counseling, 9(1), 21–34.Google Scholar
  15. Killian, T. S. (2004). Intergenerational monetary transfers to adult children and stepchildren: A household level analysis. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 42, 105–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. MacDonald, M. M. (1989). Family background, the life cycle, and inter-household transfers (Working Paper No. NSFH 13), Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Center for Demography and Ecology.Google Scholar
  17. McGarry, K. (1999). Inter vivos transfers and intended bequests. Journal of Public Finance, 73, 321–351.Google Scholar
  18. McGarry, K., & Schoeni, R. F. (1997). Transfer behavior within the family: Results from the asset and health dynamics study. The Journals of Gerontology, 52B, 82–92.Google Scholar
  19. Markides, K. S., Boldt, J. S., & Ray, L. A. (1986). Sources of helping and intergenerational solidarity: A three-generation study of Mexican Americans. Journals of Gerontology, 41, 506–511.Google Scholar
  20. Silverstein, M., Bengtson, V. L., & Lawton, L. (1997). Intergenerational solidarity and the structure of adult child-parent relationships in American families. American Journal of Sociology, 103, 429–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Silverstein, M., Conroy, S. J., Wang, H., Giarrusso, R., & Bengtson, V. L. (2002). Reciprocity in parent-child relations over the adult life course. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 57B, S3–S13.Google Scholar
  22. Soldo, B. J., & Hill, M. S. (1993). Intergenerational transfers: Economic, demographic, and social perspectives. In G. L. Maddox, & L. M. Powell (Eds.), Annual review of gerontology and geriatrics: Focus on kinship, aging, and social change (pp. 187–216). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  23. Soldo, B. J., & Hill, M. S. (1995). Family structure and transfer measures in the Health and Retirement Study: Background and overview. The Journal of Human Resources, 30, S108–S137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Stum, M. S. (2000a). Families and inheritance decisions: Examining non-titled property transfers. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 21, 177–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Stum, M. S. (2000b). Later life financial security: Examining the meaning attributed to goals when coping with long term care. Financial Counseling and Planning, 11(1), 25–37.Google Scholar
  26. Taylor, R. J. (1986). Receipt of support from family among black Americans: Demographic and familial differences. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 48, 67–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Wilhelm, M. S., & Varcoe, K. (1991). Assessment of financial well-being: Impact of objective economic indicators and money attitudes on financial satisfaction and financial progress. In S. M. Danes (Eds.), Proceedings of the fourth annual conference of the association of financial counseling and planning education (pp. 184–201). Kansas City: MO.Google Scholar
  28. Wong, R., Capoferro, C., & Soldo, B. J. (1999). Financial assistance from middle-aged couples to parents and children: Racial-ethnic differences. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 54B, S145–S153.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource ManagementVirginia Polytechnic and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA
  2. 2.Office of Research and Technology TransferUniversity of Texas SystemAustinUSA

Personalised recommendations