Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Benerd School of Education

First Advisor

Nancy Huante Tzintzun, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Laura Hallberg, Ed.D.

First Committee Member

Christopher Harrison, Ed.D.


Financial literacy awareness is low among young adults, and financial literacy among Black college students is significantly lower than in other groups (Singh, 2018). However, there is little to no research on why financial literacy is so low among young Black men between 18 and 25. Few studies specifically show how financial literacy and decision-making may be related to their family economics and socialization for young Black men. Using Critical Race Theory and Family Financial Socialization theoretical frameworks, this dissertation project examined a sample of seven young self-identified Black men ages 24 to 25 years old in Northern California Bay Area, California area. This qualitative study utilized a measure of standard financial literacy and one-on-one, semi-structured interviews and focused on the participants' experiences and perceptions of their financial education. All reported employment (either part or full-time), single status, none had children, most lived with their parents, and all were high school graduates, with some having college degrees or matriculated.

Most respondents agreed that they carefully considered their purchases, but also mostly agreed that they lived for today, were ready to risk some of their own money for investment and agreed that they had set long-term financial goals. The study found that young black men’s families strongly influenced their adult financial behavior, attitudes, and thoughts. Most participants discussed saving, investing, and retirement planning but were not knowledgeable about savings accounts and invested in cryptocurrency or focused on short-term gains in the stock market. Respondents scored a median score of 2 on a three-item measure of standard financial literacy topics: compound interest and inflation; understanding of financial numeracy skills; risk diversification, and showed they had fair to low levels of financial literacy (Lusardi, 2008). Participants discussed investing their money, mainly in the context of cryptocurrency and social media, with a couple discussing investing for retirement through their employer’s 401k plans. In addition, participants discussed experiences of discrimination and racism, highlighting the ongoing problem of racism in the financial system that affected this sample of young Black men. In their personal lives, a few participants actively incorporated some elements of financial literacy, including saving money and investing in property, usually with the encouragement and aid of family members, mothers, or grandparents.

Overall, participants were eager to learn more about sophisticated financial products, like cryptocurrency, but lacked the fundamental knowledge of finances and financial systems, including savings and compounding interest. The participants' narratives in this study showed that young Black men’s financial literacy requires intervention at the community and family levels to improve. The findings from this study suggest that young Black men could benefit from early education around financial literacy and skills, given that their families may not have the knowledge and skills to provide for them.





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