Editor’s Note, Volume 8(1), 1997

Hanna, S. (1997). Directions for research on financial counseling and planning, Financial Counseling and Planning, 8(1), ii.

Directions For Research On Financial Counseling And Planning

Sherman Hanna(1)

With this issue, Financial Counseling and Planning will
have two issues a year. Frankly, the 1996 issue was too
massive, with 16 articles. This issue only has 9 articles,
which will be more manageable for readers and for me.
The articles still represent a broad cross-section of topics
in financial counseling and planning.

The lead article by Kennickell, Starr-McCluer and
describes a focus group study of high income
individuals. This type of research can provide insights
not available from surveys, and I hope to receive more
submissions using this approach. However, a focus
group study does pose challenges, including protection of
the privacy of the participants. A reviewer of this article
wanted more information about the participants’ families.
It might, however, be difficult to provide both financial
information and family information without revealing too
much about the identity of participants.

The lead article also reports results from the Survey of
Consumer Finances (SCF) as do four other articles in this
issue, bringing the total number of articles based on SCF
data that have appeared in the journal to 21. It is
appropriate that Kennickell is the project director of the
Survey of Consumer Finances, as this journal has become
one of the most popular places for SCF research.

The article by McGregor and Berry, although about
Canadian bankruptcy, is a timely one for the United
States, as the number of filings has rocketed past one
million. The two articles about emergency funds also
deal with how consumers plan, or fail to plan, for
financial disaster. The Chang, Hanna and Fan article
demonstrates that many of the households who do not
have the recommended level of emergency funds might
be acting rationally. The Huston and Chang article
shows that households with children, especially single
parent families, are less likely to have recommended
levels of emergency funds than households without
children. Given the changes underway in the welfare
systems of the United States, some practices that might
have been rational in the past might not be so in the
future. Changes in social policies might imply changes
in family financial practices.

The Fuller, Zietz and Calcote article is the first this
journal has published about long-term health care, but I
suspect it will not be the last. This will be an
increasingly important topic, with implications for
retirement and estate planning.

The two articles related to college saving provide an
interesting supplement to the Hanna and Chen article in
the 1996 issue. The Todd and DeVaney article and the
Lee, Hanna and Sirigar article provide analyses of how
parents cover college costs, and whether parents save for
college. As a parent of a college student attending an
expensive university, I am well aware of the conflicting
incentives parents face. For some parents of children
who will attend colleges with adequate financial aid
programs, the “tax” on saving is quite high. These
articles cover a topic that is an important issue for
families and for public policy.

Hatcher’s article covers retirement in a manner rather
different from previous retirement articles that have
appeared in this issue. Although his analysis is
somewhat abstract, his approach may have potential for
investigating various issues, such determining the
optimal replacement rate.

Beutler and Yorgason’s article is not a usual type of
research article, but I would like to encourage similar
scholarly treatments of what might be considered
pedagogical topics. This journal’s reviewers have tended
to be conflicted about such manuscripts, but I believe that
when they go beyond an introductory textbook treatment
they should be considered for publication.

I continue to look for different types of research for
publication in this journal. I think there is a need for
normative research to provide more direction for middle
and lower income household financial management, and
there is also a need for more qualitative research
describing individual decisions. We will continue to
publish survey research, of course, but other types of
research would be very helpful to advance the state of
knowledge about financial counseling and planning.

1. Sherman Hanna, Professor, Consumer Sciences Department, The Ohio State University, 1787 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43210-1295.
Phone: (614) 292-4584. Fax: (614) 292-7536. E-mail: hanna.1@osu.edu

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