Financial Management and Culture: The American Indian Case

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



general population, financial status and behavior, race and ethnicity, life event barriers, financial education


Study investigates distal and proximal contextual influences of the American Indian culture that affect financial decisions and behaviors. Primary household financial managers were interviewed. Study was grounded in Deacon and Firebaugh's "Family Resource Management" theory. Findings indicated that American Indians view many concepts differently than conventional disciplinary meanings. Most critical is that money is not the only currency used within the culture but relationships and nature are also used as other currencies. Further findings of note are (a) the cultural belief that resources must be shared with all family members is seen as an obligation and often creates major resource demands, (b) spirituality and nature are of major importance in resource decisions, and (c) the holistic, integrated view of health and well-being is essential to consider when working with American Indians on resource management. Three resource management patterns were discovered: mainstream, traditional, and hybrid. Expense and income worksheets were developed reflecting cultural nuances.