Ten Years of Financial Counseling and Planning

Ten Years of Financial Counseling And Planning

Sherman D. Hanna 1

This journal was started with the goal of providing an
outlet for publications about financial counseling and
planning research and teaching. The nature of an
academic journal is that the goals of those who are
motivated to write appropriate articles for free may be
somewhat different from the interests of practitioners.
The challenge usually has been to get reports of research
put into language accessible to practitioners. This has not
been possible with every article, but I hope that there is
something of interest in each issue. I have discussed this
challenge and some related issues in my editorials, which
are available on the journal web page (Hanna, 2000).

For this issue, I have compiled several lists that
summarize aspects of the articles that were published in
the first 10 years. I had several goals in mind in
compiling these lists, which at first viewing might seem
mainly of interest to academic bean counters. One
important goal was to provide some perspective on
education for financial counseling and planning. Almost
all members of the Association for Financial Counseling
and Planning Education (AFCPE) are involved in
education, and many of the academic members are
involved in preparing future professionals. However,
there is little uniformity in curriculum except for the
education geared to accreditation programs such as the
ACFPE’s Accredited Financial Counselor Program or the
Certified Financial Planner designation. The diversity of
curricula is substantial at the graduate level. The lists in
this issue might provide some insights into content of
graduate education.

Key Words
Starting on page 91 there is a listing of key words used in
the 130 regular articles appearing in Volumes 1-10. Over
200 key words have been used, with terms such as
“saving” and “financial planning” being among the more
commonly used key words. We have tried to encourage
some uniformity, but two authors writing on a similar
topic might have used different key words. However, the
list is a useful resource for researchers and students – not
only can you find articles on a particular topic, but you
can find reference lists that will lead you to many related
sources. There are some topics that you would have
trouble tracking down elsewhere – for instance, Spitzer
and Singh (1999) provided insights into the “Rule of 72″
which would be difficult to find elsewhere.

The most common key word was “Survey of Consumer
Finances.” There have been 37 articles using this
important national dataset, starting with two articles in the
first issue. This dataset is incredibly rich, and will be
used in many studies in the future.

There have been 38 articles related to some aspect of
retirement, and you can see on the list the variety of
topics under that general issue. This has been a salient
topic partly because the Baby Boom generation is
approaching retirement, and since 1946, any topic
important to that generation has been a national priority
in the United States. In the next five years we will see an
increase in research on managing portfolios in retirement.
We have already published an article on this topic
(Cooley, Hubbard & Walz, 1999) and we will publish
more articles on the topic. The challenge facing retirees
is how to rely on a portfolio for up to 50 years of life in
retirement, while still earning a reasonable rate of return.

Who Are the Authors?

Almost all of the authors of articles in this journal have
been academics – either faculty or graduate students. The
reason for this is clear, as we do not pay authors,
academics are usually the only people who are rewarded
in their jobs for writing in this type of publication. Most
people find writing difficult, and even more people find
revising articles several times a vision of purgatory.

Research has become a collaborative enterprise. Of the
130 regular articles published in the first 10 years of this
journal, 30% had one author, 47% had two authors, 19%
had three authors, 3% had four authors, and one article
had five authors (p. 95). There have been 183 different
authors of regular articles. I have been an author of 12
articles, all with former graduate students.

There is a 3-way tie for second place in number of
articles, between Jing J. Xiao, Regina (Y. R. or R.Y.)
Chang and Sharon A. DeVaney, with each having seven
articles. Tom Garman was an author of five articles and
Flora Williams was an author of four articles.

From Manuscript to Article
The process of having an article published involves
submitting four paper copies of a manuscript that is
double spaced with not much formatting. I then send the
manuscript (with all author information removed) to three
reviewers. I try to select reviewers who have special
expertise of the subject or methods used. I ask the
reviewers to return their comments in four or five weeks,
then I compile their comments and send the author a
cover letter and the reviewer comments. Sometimes I
have to remind the reviewers, who might have set the
manuscript aside and forgotten about it for a few months.
Usually I will ask the author to submit a revised
manuscript, which I then will send to the same reviewers.
This process sometimes is repeated one or two more
times. A few months to a year later, I might accept the
manuscript for publication, and ask the author to prepare
a formatted version. The author will send me paper
copies and also email me a Wordperfect or Word file. I
and my assistant editors will check references, etc., in
case the author was not careful enough.

What is Fit to Print?

I also make decisions about how much of an article to
include in the journal. Sometimes an article will have
tables or other information that will be of limited interest.
Sometimes I will place such tables on the journal web
site. (I do want to see all relevant material in the original
submissions, though, as reviewers need to be able to
consider everything.) We do not have a strict page limit.
The shortest regular article was only three pages, and the
longest was 37 pages, although that was in the first issue
when we had more white space and a smaller size. Since
Volume 6, we have had the present size, and the average
article has been about 10 pages. A typical article might
have 5,000 to 7,000 words, depending on figures and
other material.

An article starts with an abstract printed in 12 point
Times Roman and the main body of the article printed in
10 point Times Roman, with tables, endnotes and
appendices in 8 point, and the reference list in 9 point.
I also have gradually reduced white space, for instance, I
do not skip lines after headers. Articles will still vary in
appearance depending on tables and figures. I often
receive manuscripts that have tables set up in landscape
over several pages. I do not publish tables in landscape
and try to avoid tables that take more than one page – it
is very unlikely that such tables will be of general


Volume 10 contains 14 articles, and there have been 65
submissions, which was an acceptance rate of 22%. The
acceptance rate was 25% in Volumes 8 and 9. For all 10
volumes, there were 414 submissions, so the acceptance
rate for the first 10 years was 31%. These statistics are
mainly of interest to academics in the “publish or perish”
game – lower is better for prestige. However, potential
authors should not be too discouraged, as I count a major
revision as a new submission. Unless reviewers feel that
there is a fundamental flaw in the research, persistence
often pays off.


After an author works hard to get a publication into print,
it is nice to find out what impact the publication has. In
some cases, a comment from a teacher or practitioner will
let the author know that somebody has found the
publication useful. Some articles published in this
journal have been mentioned in newspapers and other
media. For instance, Bajtelsmit and Bernasek (1996)
and Sung and Hanna (1996) were mentioned in articles in
the Washington Post. Other articles are used in reading
packets in university courses. However, for academics,
the ultimate sign of approval is having your publication
cited in an article in a research journal.

There were 2,780 citations in regular articles in the
journal from 1990-1999. The table on page 101 of this
issue shows the 52 authors who were most frequently
cited. Fifteen out of the top 21 have published in this
journal, although many of the citations were for books
and publications in other journals. As is true in other
fields, those who publish frequently are likely to be cited
frequently and may cite their own previous work.

An author might be cited for a number of different
publications, but there are some individual publications
that have been repeatedly cited in articles in this journal.
Table 1 shows the 16 most cited publications in articles
in Volumes 1-10 of Financial Counseling and Planning.
Seven were published in this journal. Two publications,
Maddala (1992) and Rubin (1987) are books on statistics.
The most cited publication, Montalto and Sung (1996),
discusses a statistical issue important for the Survey of
Consumer Finances, which is the most commonly used
dataset for articles in this journal.

Table 1

Most Cited Publications in Articles in Volumes 1-10 of

Financial Counseling and Planning.


13 Montalto, C. P. & Sung, J. (1996). Multiple imputation in
the 1992 Survey of Consumer Finances. Financial
Counseling and Planning
, 7, 133-146.
10 Garman, E. T. & Forgue, R. (various editions). Personal
. Boston, Mass: Houghton Mifflin Company.
9 Ando, A. & Modigliani, F. (1963). The “life cycle”
hypothesis of saving: Aggregate implications and tests.
American Economic Review, 53 (1), 55-84.
9 Hanna, S., Fan, J. X & Chang, Y. R. (1995). Optimal life
cycle savings. Financial Counseling and Planning, 6, 1-15.
9 Ibbotson Associates (various editions). Stocks, Bonds, Bills,
and Inflation Yearbook
. Chicago: Ibbotson Associates.
9 Sung, J. & Hanna, S. (1996). Factors related to risk
tolerance. Financial Counseling and Planning, 7, 11-20.
8 Prather, C. G. (1990). The ratio analysis technique applied
to personal financial statements: Development of
household norms. Financial Counseling and Planning, 1,
7 Titus, P. M., Fanslow, A. M. & Hira, T. K. (1989). Net
worth and financial satisfaction as a function of household
money managers competencies. Home Economics
Research Journal
, 17, 309-318.
7 Rubin, D. B. (1987). Multiple imputation for nonresponse
in surveys
. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
6 Bajtelsmit, V. L. & Bernasek, A. (1996). Why do women
invest differently than men? Financial Counseling and
, 7, 1-10.
6 Maddala, G. S. (1992). Introduction to econometrics (2nd
ed.). New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.
6 Rettig, K. D. & Mortenson, M. (1986). Household
production of financial management competencies. In R.
Deacon & W. Huffman (Eds.), Human Resources Research
(pp. 137-145). Ames, IA: Iowa State
6 Schnittgrund, K. P. & Baker, G. (1983). Financial
management of low-income urban families. Journal of
Consumer Studies and Home Economic
s, 7, 261-270.
5 Hanna, S. & Chen, P. (1996). Efficient portfolios for
saving for college. Financial Counseling and Planning, 7,
5 Mullis, R. J. & Schnittgrund, K.P. (1982). Budget
behavior, Variance over the life cycle of low income
families. Journal of Consumer Studies and Home
, 6, 113-120.
5 Porter, N. M. & Garman, E. T. (1993). Testing a
conceptual model of financial well-being. Financial
Counseling and Planning
, 4, 135-164.

I think that graduate students should be familiar with
most of the publications on this list. Given the diversity
of graduate education programs in this field, however, I
suspect that there is uneven awareness of the different
publications and limited understanding of some of the
publications. Certainly, only students who plan to work
with the Survey of Consumer Finances or similar datasets
would need to read the article by Montalto and Sung.
Almost everyone has seen Garman and Forgue’s personal
finance textbook, so that is one commonality. However,
I suspect that few people have actually studied Ando and
Modigliani’s seminal 1963 article about the life cycle
savings model. As an editor, I often wonder about proper
citation of classics. For instance, in the 27 years since the
Ando and Modigliani article, there have been hundreds of
articles about the life cycle model, from various
perspectives. Referring to the life cycle model by citing
Ando and Modigliani hardly does the model justice.
There is also the issue of whether one is using the model
to try to explain behavior or to prescribe behavior
(Hanna, 1989). The Hanna, Fan and Chang article in
1995, cited nine times, provides an introduction to the
latter perspective.

The Future of the Journal

A continuing challenge for this journal will be the tension
between the demands on the authors to use ever more
complex theoretical models and statistical techniques to
achieve tenure and promotion and the need to provide
clear and useful articles for the many practitioners who
are members of AFCPE. This will require substantial
effort by future authors, editors and reviewers.


Bajtelsmit, V. L. & Bernasek, A. (1996). Why do women invest
differently than men? Financial Counseling and Planning,
7, 1-10.

Cooley, P. L., Hubbard, C. M. & Walz, D. T. (1999).
Sustainable withdrawal rates from your retirement
portfolio. Financial Counseling and Planning, 10 (1),

Hanna, S. D. (2000). Notes from the editor. [WWW document]
URL: www.hec.ohio-state.edu/people/shanna/editornotes.htm

Hanna, S. (1989). Optimization for family resource
management. Proceedings of the Southeastern Regional
Association for Family Economics-Home Management
, 4-16. {Also available on the web} URL:

Spitzer, J. J. & Singh, S. (1999). The Rule Of 72. Financial
Counseling and Planning, 10 (1), 89-91.

Sung, J. & Hanna, S. (1996). Factors related to risk tolerance.
Financial Counseling and Planning, 7, 11-20.

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

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