We applied goal-framing theory to determine whether there were discernible patterns in emerging adults’ financial behavior from college to career and whether those patterns were associated with progress toward self-sufficiency. Using longitudinal data collected over 5 years from a college cohort of emerging adults (N = 968) in the United States, we estimated latent growth curve models and identified three financial-behavior patterns suggestive of the overarching motivations in the theory: planful (gain), present focused (hedonic), and socially compliant (normative). Using multinomial logistic regression analysis, we found that higher perceived financial control, more positive financial attitudes, higher perceived parental expectations, and more exposure to financial education were predictive of a gain pattern. Analyses of variance showed that the gain financial-behavior pattern was associated with the most progress toward self-sufficiency (adult stability, career status, and well-being). We discuss the findings as they pertain to the connection between emerging adults’ financial behavior and progress toward self-sufficiency.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Citi Foundation, National Institute of Food and Agriculture: Hatch Grant #006781, and National Endowment for Financial Education.
- school transitions
- transitions to adulthood