The purpose of this article is to assess and interpret the use of theory within the Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning from its inception in 1990 through 2012. During that time, only 39% of research articles explicitly identified a theoretical base to guide the study’s research question. Almost half (48%) of the articles incorporating a theoretical base used some form of the economic life cycle hypothesis. Most of the frameworks used were cognitively and/or individually oriented. This focus represents an attribution error since most financial socialization occurs within the family context. The Family Financial Socialization (FFS) conceptual model with testable hypotheses was proposed as one conceptual model to use in beginning to address this attribution error. FFS contributes both contextual and socialization dimensions to the explanation of financial behavior and financial outcomes such as financial well-being. The FFS model proposes that the creation of desirable financial behavior and motivation for future financial behavior change emanate from family interaction and relationships and from purposive financial socialization both in childhood and across the life cycle.

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