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Financial Socialization of First-year College Students: The Roles of Parents, Work, and Education

Abstract

This cross-sectional study tests a conceptual financial socialization process model, specifying four-levels that connect anticipatory socialization during adolescence to young adults’ current financial learning, to their financial attitudes, and to their financial behavior. A total of 2,098 first-year college students (61.9% females) participated in the survey, representing a diverse ethnic group (32.6% minority participation: Hispanic 14.9%, Asian/Asian American 9%, Black 3.4%, Native American 1.8% and other 3.5%). Structural equation modeling indicated that parents, work, and high school financial education during adolescence predicted young adults’ current financial learning, attitude and behavior, with the role played by parents substantially greater than the role played by work experience and high school financial education combined. Data also supported the proposed hierarchical financial socialization four-level model, indicating that early financial socialization is related to financial learning, which in turn is related to financial attitudes and subsequently to financial behavior. The study presents a discussion of how the theories of consumer socialization and planned behavior were combined effectively to depict the financial development of young adults. Several practical implications are also provided for parents, educators and students.

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Acknowledgments

This study has been made possible through a generous support from the National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE). The authors would like to thank NEFE® for their dedication to research, education and outreach in promoting financial literacy. We also wish to thank student respondents who participated in the APLUS study.

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Correspondence to Soyeon Shim.

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Shim, S., Barber, B.L., Card, N.A. et al. Financial Socialization of First-year College Students: The Roles of Parents, Work, and Education. J Youth Adolescence 39, 1457–1470 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-009-9432-x

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-009-9432-x

Keywords

  • Financial socialization
  • Emerging adult
  • Financial learning
  • Attitudes and behaviors
  • College students