Whats and Hows of Family Financial Socialization: Retrospective Reports of Emerging Adults, Parents, and Grandparents


financial socialization, family finance, parenting, emerging adults, qualitative, family life education


Objective: To qualitatively explore the whats and hows of financial socialization in families, as reported by emerging adults and their parents and grandparents.

Background: Previous research has examined the positive impact of financial socialization in families as well as the negative consequences of a lack of sufficient financial education. However, there is a need to explore the breadth of parent–child financial socialization methods and topics.

Method: A convenience sample of 90 emerging adults (18–30 years of age), 17 of their parents, and eight of their grandparents (N = 115) were interviewed at three diverse universities regarding what and how their parents taught them about money. Parents and grandparents were also interviewed regarding what and how they taught their children about money.

Results: Thematic content coding revealed three core how themes (modeling, discussion, and experiential learning) and four core what themes (financial planning, work ethic, money management, and sharing). The themes coded most often were discussion and money management.

Conclusion: The findings provide a starting point for gaining insight about how and what parents teach children about money but leave many questions unanswered that future research will need to address to build efficient and effective evidence‐based approaches for parental financial socialization in future generations.

Implications: Family life educators and others can use our findings to better understand how financial socialization occurs in families as a necessary step in ultimately improving financial socialization and increasing the financial capability and independence of emerging adults.

Original Publication Citation

LeBaron, A. B., Hill, E. J., *Rosa, C. M., & Marks, L. D.(2018). Whats and hows of family financial socialization: Retrospective reports of Millennials and their parents and grandparents. Family Relations, 67, 497-509.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL



Family Relations




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor