Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 445–456 | Cite as

Young Adults’ Life Outcomes and Well-Being: Perceived Financial Socialization from Parents, the Romantic Partner, and Young Adults’ Own Financial Behaviors

  • Melissa A. CurranEmail author
  • Emily Parrott
  • Sun Young Ahn
  • Joyce Serido
  • Soyeon Shim
Original Paper


We examined how perceived financial socialization—from parents, the romantic partner, and young adults’ own behavior—was associated with young adults’ life outcomes and well-being (i.e., physical and mental health, finances, romantic relationship). Using data (N = 504) from young adults specific to their finances, results from hierarchical regression analyses showed that young adults’ own financial behaviors were the most patterned, followed by financial socialization from the romantic partner, and then from financial socialization from parents (only objective financial knowledge). We discuss how young adults’ financial behavior, financial socialization from the romantic partner and, to a lesser extent, parental socialization are associated with young adults’ life domains, underscoring the developmental salience of increased financial capability and relationship formation and decreased dependence on parents during the transition to adulthood.


Financial socialization Parenting young adults Transition to adulthood Young adult financial behavior Young adult romantic partner 



This study was funded by the National Endowment of Financial Education and the Take Charge of America Institute at the University of Arizona.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


  1. Addo, F. R., & Sassler, S. (2010). Financial arrangements and relationship quality in low-income couples. Family Relations, 59, 408–423. Scholar
  2. Adkins, A., & Rigoni, B. (2016). Paycheck or purpose: What drives millennials? Gallup Business Journal. Retrieved from
  3. Adler, N. E., & Stewart, J. (2010). Health disparities across the lifespan: Meaning, methods, and mechanisms. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1186, 5–23. Scholar
  4. Archuleta, K. L., Britt, S. L., Tonn, T. J., & Grable, J. E. (2011). Financial satisfaction and financial stressors in marital satisfaction. Psychological Reports, 108(2), 563–576. Scholar
  5. Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55, 469–480. Scholar
  6. Arnett, J. J. (2011). Emerging adulthood: The cultural psychology of a new life stage. In L. A. Jensen (Ed.), Bridging cultural and developmental psychology: New syntheses in theory, research, and policy (pp. 255–275). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bandura, A. (2001). Social cognitive theory: An agentic perspective. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 1–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bozick, R., & Estacion, A. (2014). Do student loans delay marriage? Debt repayment and family formation in young adulthood. Demographic Research, 30, 1865–1891. Scholar
  9. Britt, S. L. (2016). The intergenerational transference of money attitudes and behaviors. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 50(3), 539–556. Scholar
  10. Britt, S. L., & Huston, S. J. (2012). The role of money arguments in marriage. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 33(4), 464–476. Scholar
  11. Cho, S. H., Gutter, M., Kim, J., & Mauldin, T. (2012). The effect of socialization and information source on financial management behaviors among low- and moderate-income adults. Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal, 40(4), 417–430. Scholar
  12. Danes, S. M. (1994). Parental perceptions of children’s financial socialization. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, 5, 127–146.Google Scholar
  13. Dew, J. (2007). Two sides of the same coin? The differing roles of assets and consumer debt in marriage. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 28, 89–104. Scholar
  14. Dew, J. (2008). Debt change and marital satisfaction change in recently married couples. Family Relations, 57, 60–71. Scholar
  15. Dew, J. (2011). Financial issues and relationship outcomes among cohabiting individuals. Family Relations, 60, 178–190. Scholar
  16. Dew, J., Britt, S., & Huston, S. (2012). Examining the relationship between financial issues and divorce. Family Relations, 61, 615–628. Scholar
  17. Dew, J. P., & Stewart, R. (2012). A financial issue, a relationship issue, or both? Examining the predictors of marital financial conflict. Journal of Financial Therapy, 3​(1). Scholar
  18. Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The satisfaction with life scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71–75. Scholar
  19. Erikson, E. H. (1950). Childhood and society. New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  20. Erikson, E. H. (1968). Identity: Youth and crisis. New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  21. Fingerman, K. L., Kim, K., Davis, E. M., Furstenberg, F. F., Jr., Birditt, K. S., & Zarit, S. (2015). “I’ll give you the world”: Socioeconomic differences in parental support of adult children. Journal of Marriage and Family, 77, 844–865. Scholar
  22. Furstenberg, F. (2014). Fifty years of family change: From consensus to complexity. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 654, 12–30. Scholar
  23. Furstenberg, F. F. (2010). On a new schedule: Transition to adulthood and family change. The Future of Children, 20(1), 67–87. Scholar
  24. Gibson-Davis, C. M. (2009). Money, marriage, and children: Testing the financial expectations and family formation theory. Journal of Marriage and Family, 71(1), 146–160. Scholar
  25. Grinstein-Weiss, M., Spader, J., Yeo, Y. H., Taylor, A., & Freeze, B., E (2011). Parental transfer of financial knowledge and later credit outcomes among low- and moderate-income homeowners. Children and Youth Services Review, 33(1), 78–85. Scholar
  26. Gudmunson, C. G., & Danes, S. M. (2011). Family financial socialization: Theory and critical review. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 32(4), 644–667. Scholar
  27. Hilgert, M. A., Hogarth, J. M., & Beverly, S. G. (2003). Household financial management: The connection between knowledge and behavior. Federal Reserve Bulletin, 89, 309–322.Google Scholar
  28. Jorgensen, B. L., & Savla, J. (2010). Financial literacy of young adults: The importance of parental socialization. Family Relations, 59, 465–478. Scholar
  29. Kim, J., & Chatterjee, S. (2013). Childhood financial socialization and young adult’s financial management. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, 24(1), 61–92.Google Scholar
  30. LeBaron, A. B., Allsop, D. B., Hill, E. J., Willoughby, B. J., & Britt-Lutter, S. L. (in press). Materialism and marriage: Actor and partner effects between materialism, importance of marriage, and marital satisfaction. Journal of Financial Therapy.Google Scholar
  31. LeBaron, A. B., Kelley, H. H., & Carroll, J. S. (2018). Money over marriage: Marriage importance as a mediator between materialism and marital satisfaction. Journal of Family and Economic Issues. (Online first)Google Scholar
  32. Lyons, A. C. (2004). A profile of financially at-risk college students. The Journal of Consumer Affairs, 38, 56–80. Scholar
  33. Marshall, H., & Magruder, L. (1960). Relations between parent money education practices and children’s knowledge and use of money. Child Development, 31, 253–284. Scholar
  34. Mayseless, O., & Keren, E. (2014). Finding a meaningful life as a developmental task in emerging adulthood: The domains of love and work across cultures. Emerging Adulthood, 2, 63–76. Scholar
  35. Mimura, Y., Koonce, J., Plunkett, S. W., & Pleskus, L. (2015). Financial information source, knowledge, and practices of college students from diverse backgrounds. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, 26, 63–78.Google Scholar
  36. Moschis, G. P. (1985). The role of family communication in consumer socialization of children and adolescents. Journal of Consumer Research, 11(4), 898–913.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Moschis, G. P. (1987). Consumer socialization: A life-cycle perspective. Massachusetts: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  38. Oppenheimer, V. K. (1988). A theory of marriage timing. The American Journal of Sociology, 94, 563–591.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Otto, A., & Serido, J. (2017). Economic socialization: Childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. In R. Ranyard (Ed.), Economic psychology (pp. 322–336). Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  40. Papp, L. M., Cummings, E. M., & Goeke-Morey, M. C. (2009). For richer, for poorer: Money as a topic of marital conflict in the home. Family Relations, 58, 91–103. Scholar
  41. Petrocelli, J. V. (2003). Hierarchical multiple regression in counseling research: Common problems and possible remedies. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 36, 9–22.Google Scholar
  42. Ross, D. B., O’Neal, C. W., Arnold, A. L., & Mancini, J. (2017). Money matters in marriage: Financial concerns, warmth, and hostility among military couples. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 38, 572–581. Scholar
  43. Rusbult, C. E., Martz, J. M., & Agnew, C. R. (1998). The investment model scale: Measuring commitment level, satisfaction level, quality of alternatives, and investment size. Personal Relationships, 5, 357–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Saad, L. (2015). Fewer young people say I do—to any relationship. Gallup. Retrieved from
  45. Schumm, W. R., Nichols, C. W., Schectman, K. L., & Grinsby, C. C. (1983). Characteristics of responses to the Kansas Marital Satisfaction Scale by a sample of 84 married mothers. Psychological Reports, 53, 567–572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Serido, J., Curran, M., Wilmarth, M., Ahn, S., Shim, S., & Ballard, J. (2015). The unique role of parents and romantic partners on young adults’ financial attitudes and behaviors. Family Relations, 64, 696–710. Scholar
  47. Serido, J., Shim, S., Mishra, A., & Tang, C. (2010). Financial parenting, financial coping behaviors and well-being of emerging adults. Family Relations, 59, 453–464. Scholar
  48. Serido, J., Shim, S., & Tang, C. (2013). A developmental model of financial capability: A framework for promoting a successful transition to adulthood. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 37, 287–297. Scholar
  49. Settersten, R. A. Jr. (2012). The contemporary context of young adulthood in the USA: From demography to development, from private troubles to public issues. In A. Booth, S. L. Brown, N. S. Landale, W. D. Manning & S. M. McHale (Eds.), Early adulthood in a family context (pp. 3–26). New York, NY: Springer. Scholar
  50. Shim, S., Barber, B. L., Card, N. A., Xiao, J. J., & Serido, J. (2010). Financial socialization of first-year college students: The roles of parents, work, and education. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 39, 1457–1470. Scholar
  51. Shim, S., Serido, J., & Tang, C. (2012). The ant and the grasshopper revisited: The present psychological benefits of saving for tomorrow. Journal of Economic Psychology, 33(1), 155–165. Scholar
  52. Shim, S., Serido, J., Tang, C., & Card, N. (2015). Socialization processes and pathways to healthy financial development for emerging young adults. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 38, 29–38. Scholar
  53. Shim, S., Serido, J., & Xiao, J. J. (2009). Arizona pathways to life success for university students (APLUS): Cultivating positive financial attitudes and behaviors for healthy adulthood. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona.Google Scholar
  54. Stein, C. H., Hoffmann, E., Bonar, E. E., Leith, J. E., Abraham, K. M., Hamill, A. C., … Fogo, W. R. (2013). The United States economic crisis: Young adults’ reports of economic pressures, financial and religious coping and psychological well-being. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 34(2), 200–210. Scholar
  55. Watson, S. J., & Barber, B. L. (2016). University attendance moderates the link between financial norms and healthy financial behavior for Australian young adults. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 38, 238–248. Scholar
  56. Wightman, P., & Schoeni, R. (2012). Familial financial assistance to young adults. (National Poverty Center Working Paper #12–10). Retrieved from
  57. Xiao, J. J., Chatterjee, S., & Kim, J. (2014). Factors associated with financial independence of young adults. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 38(4), 394–403. Scholar
  58. Xiao, J. J., Sorhaindo, B., & Garman, E. T. (2006). Financial behavior of consumers in credit counseling. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 30(2), 108–121. Scholar
  59. Xiao, J. J., Tang, C., & Shim, S. (2009). Acting for happiness: Financial behavior and life satisfaction of college students. Social Indicators Research, 92(1), 53–68. Scholar
  60. Zimmerman, K. J., & Roberts, C. W. (2012). The influence of a financial management course on couples’ relationship quality. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, 23(2), 46–54.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.University of Wisconsin - MadisonMadisonUSA
  3. 3.Washington CollegeChestertownUSA
  4. 4.University of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

Personalised recommendations