Hanna, S. D., The Academic Field of Family Finance

Hanna, S. D. (2002). The academic field of Family Finance. Financial Counseling and
, 13(2), iii-iv.

Acrobat version of article (HTML version is below)

The Academic Field of Family Finance

Sherman D. Hanna (1)

After 13 volumes and more than 13 years, 176 regular
articles, 19 editor’s comments, many book reviews, and
many thousands of emails to and from authors and
reviewers, it is the end of my tenure as editor of
Counseling and Planning
. I owe a lot to the many
reviewers over the year, most of whom did timely and
useful reviews. I am happy that journal will be in the
capable hands of Professor Sandra Helmick of Oregon
State University.

I will prepare an analysis of the articles and citations in
the first 13 volumes, and perhaps Professor Helmick will
include it in a future issue of the journal. In issue 2 of
Volume 10, I included a variety of analyses of the journal
in my editor’s comments (Hanna, 1999) and I believe that
an update would be useful. One of the issues I mentioned
in that article was the diversity of academic curricula for
family finance programs. AFCPE has its Accredited
Financial Counselor program, but members of AFCPE
who are faculty are increasingly in undergraduate
programs related to financial planning.

Many of the articles that have been published in this
journal are related to financial planning, financial
counseling, or both. However, the future of the academic
field is uncertain. There will be a temptation to focus on
the practical aspects of preparing students to become
financial planners. It is very difficult to for any one
person to both master all of the subject matter content of
the Certified Financial Planner™ exam and be good in
social science research. This dilemma is also a challenge
in graduate education, especially in preparation of future

This issue has the usual diversity in topics and authors.
The authors in this issue have won several dozen awards
and received other honors (see “About the authors” on
page 103 for a partial listing of author accomplishments).

Even though the organization sponsoring this journal,
AFCPE, has the word “education” in its title, this journal
has not been an education journal. There are several
articles related to financial education. Rhine and
Toussaint-Comeau’s article should be of interest to
financial educators who work with the public. The article
by Shelton and Moss should also be of interest for
educators. Those who work with teenagers should find
the exploratory study by Bowen to be of interest.

I hope that the other articles in this issue and previous
issues will also be relevant to family finance education,
both in classrooms and to the public. When I started in
this field 30 years ago, my impression was that personal
finance was a collection of descriptions of institutional
details and rules, plus rules of thumb based on the
intuition of various textbook authors and popular
columnists. By now, decades of rigorous research in
finance and related fields has improved the state of
prescriptive finance, though there is still much research
that is needed, especially on personal finance issues not
directly related to portfolios and insurance.

There has been research published in this journal on
prescriptive personal finance, such as financial ratios.
There has also been much research published in this
journal attempting to explain why people behave the way
they do. For instance, Joo and Pauwels article relates to
differences in worker confidence about their retirement
by gender, certainly an important issue because of the
serious problem of retirement adequacy, especially for
elderly women. Spencer and Fan examine households
who have non-mortgage debt and also savings or
investments. It may seem obvious that a lot of
households are in this situation, but it is not a comfortable
topic for economic theorists. Bernasek and Bajtelsmit
examine who makes the financial decisions in
households, which is an important topic for research and
also for education and marketing of financial products.
Zuiker et al. examine cash flow problems in family-owned business, both on the business side and the
household side. If you examine the Index of Key Words
in Volume 10 (2) or on my web site
(http://ehe.osu.edu/ hanna/keyf.htm) you will
see that there has been a large range of topics covered in
the research articles published in this journal. For most,
the direct or indirect link to family finance education is
clear. I hope that this journal has made and will continue
to make a contribution to the academic field of family
finance education.

There were 15 regular articles published in Volume 13,
and 74 submissions during the year (some submissions
were substantial revisions of previous submissions).


Hanna, S. D. (1999). Ten years of Financial Counseling And
. Financial Counseling and Planning, 10 (2), ii-iv. Available: http://hec.osu.edu/people/shanna/editor992.htm

1. . Sherman D. Hanna, Professor, Consumer Sciences Department, The Ohio State University, 1787 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43210-1295.
Phone: 614-292-4584. Fax: 603-457-6577. E-mail: hanna.1@osu.edu