Patterns of financial attributes and behaviors of emerging adults in the United States

Gaurav Sinha, Kevin Tan, Min Zhan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The growing socioeconomic and market complexities require all young adults to make sound financial decisions, yet a large number of them lack the necessary skills and knowledge. Literature on identifying the latent financial characteristics of American emerging adults are sparse. Based on the 2015 National Financial Capability Study, the present research explores heterogeneous patterns in financial attributes and behaviors of emerging adults (N = 3050, 18–24 years). Results indicate four different classes. More than half of the emerging adults were found to be financially precarious (32%) or financially at-risk (36%) who scored low on several financial attributes and behaviors. Financially striving (10%) and financially stable (22%) scored moderate to high on these indicators. Findings suggest that a deeper understanding of patterns of financial behaviors and attributes of emerging adults can help in designing appropriate need-based programs and increasing their program participation. Understanding this diversity in financial capabilities of emerging adults has implications for their economic wellbeing and financial socialization of their eventual children. Findings have implications for policymakers, practitioners, and socialization agencies, including families and parents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-185
Number of pages8
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - Oct 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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