Transcription of Financial well-being: The goal of financial education
1 January 2015 Financial well-being: The goal of Financial education 2 Financial WELL-BEING: THE GOAL OF Financial education Table of contents Table of 2 Executive summary .. 4 1. Introduction .. 8 2. Research design and methods .. 12 Literature-based research .. 13 Qualitative research .. 16 Consultation with a panel of experts .. 17 3. Defining Financial well-being .. 18 What Financial well-being is .. 18 Differences between working-age and older consumer perspectives on Financial well-being .. 21 4. What influences individual Financial well-being .. 23 Financial behaviors .. 24 Financial knowledge .. 31 Personal traits .. 37 Social and economic environment.
2 41 Life stages .. 42 5. Discussion .. 44 3 Financial WELL-BEING: THE GOAL OF Financial education Implications for Financial capability 45 Implications for 47 4 Financial WELL-BEING: THE GOAL OF Financial education Executive summary Consumers of Financial products and services need both a safe, transparent marketplace, and the Financial capability to navigate that marketplace effectively. The consumer Financial protection Bureau (CFPB) addresses the first aspect through its supervision, enforcement, rulemaking, and other functions. Helping consumers acquire Financial capability is also an integral part of the CFPB s consumer Financial protection mission, as reflected in numerous provisions of the dodd - frank Wall Street reform and consumer protection Act of 2010.
3 The Act charges the Bureau with researching, developing, promoting, and implementing Financial literacy programs and In this report we describe our initial research conducted with a team of expert researchers2 into how people acquire Financial capability, which we undertook specifically to inform Financial education and improve consumer outcomes. Our overarching objective is to determine how to define and measure the success of different Financial literacy strategies so that we have a basis for measuring different strategies effectiveness. And for this, we need to define the end goal of Financial education . A growing consensus is emerging that the ultimate measure of success for Financial literacy efforts should be improvement in individual Financial well-being.
4 But Financial well-being has 1 An important Financial literacy mandate is set forth in Section 1013(d) of the dodd - frank Act, which directs the Bureau, through its Office of Financial education , to develop and implement initiatives intended to educate and empower consumers to make better informed Financial decisions and to develop and implement a strategy to improve the Financial literacy of consumers. (12 5493(d)(1)&(2)). The dodd - frank Act also mandated the creation of other offices within the Bureau that are responsible for, among other things, developing Financial education and policy initiatives to support the Financial well-being of particular segments of the consumer population (12 5493(b),(e),(g)).
5 2 The research team responsible for conducting the research and analysis described in this report includes Bureau staff as well as a team of research contractors led by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), including the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Financial Security, the Urban Institute, ICF International, and Vector Psychometrics. 5 Financial WELL-BEING: THE GOAL OF Financial education never been explicitly defined, nor is there a standard way to measure it. Overall, the literature paints a picture of nuanced, complex interactions between Financial knowledge, understanding, and actions taken. However, rigorously identified links between these factors and Financial outcomes have yet to be established.
6 Our project provides a conceptual framework for defining and measuring success in Financial education by delivering a proposed definition of Financial well-being, and insight into the factors that contribute to it. This framework is grounded in the existing literature, expert opinion, and the experiences and voice of the consumer garnered through in-depth, one-on-one interviews with working-age and older consumers. Financial well-being The definition of Financial well-being that we propose is based on the consumer perspective revealed by the nearly 60 hours of open-ended interviews our research team conducted. Our research suggests Financial well-being can be defined as a state of being wherein you: Have control over day-to-day, month-to-month finances; Have the capacity to absorb a Financial shock; Are on track to meet your Financial goals; and Have the Financial freedom to make the choices that allow you to enjoy life.
7 Because individuals value different things, traditional measures such as income or net worth, while important, do not necessarily or fully capture this last aspect of Financial well-being. We then sought to identify the specific types of knowledge, behavior, and personal traits that help people achieve greater Financial well-being. Our research focused on those personal drivers of well-being that may be influenced by Financial education and other decision-making supports. Of course many factors beyond an individual s control play a significant role in Financial outcomes, but our research asks, Given people s current Financial circumstances, how can they make the best of their situation?
8 The hypotheses we propose about key drivers of Financial well-being were developed by synthesizing three methodologies in this project literature reviews, consumer and Financial practitioner interviews, and ongoing and iterative consultation with an expert panel. The 6 Financial WELL-BEING: THE GOAL OF Financial education hypotheses fall into three categories: Financial behaviors, Financial knowledge, and personal traits. Financial behaviors Four types of behaviors are hypothesized to support Financial well-being: Effective routine money management, which encompasses often unconscious habits, intuitions, and decision-making shortcuts (heuristics); Financial research and knowledge-seeking, which support purposeful, informed Financial decision-making; Financial planning and goal-setting, which give purpose and structure to individual Financial decisions; and Following through on Financial decisions, the final step between intentions and desired outcomes.
9 In other words, our research suggests that people have higher levels of Financial well-being when they Ask, Plan, and Act, coupled with a strong habit or tendency to live within their means in terms of their day-to-day Financial choices. Financial knowledge In both published research and our interviewees responses, we found that the link between knowledge and behavior is always affected by individual characteristics like personality, attitudes, and non-cognitive skills, and by context. Our primary hypothesis about the type of knowledge that supports Financial well-being is a set of skills we call Financial ability, which encompasses: Knowing when and how to find reliable information to make a Financial decision; Knowing how to process Financial information to make sound Financial decisions; and Knowing how to execute Financial decisions, adapting as necessary to stay on track.
10 A growing consensus points toward this notion of Financial ability: that in addition to a knowledge component, Financial literacy has an action component that is, the ability or skills to put Financial knowledge to use. 7 Financial WELL-BEING: THE GOAL OF Financial education Personal traits Personal attitudes and beliefs, non-cognitive skills, and personality traits all influence Financial behavior and play a role in mediating the connection between knowledge and behavior. Based on our research, we hypothesize that the following four types of personal traits are likely to affect Financial well-being through their influence on behavior and/or preferences and expectations: Comparing yourself to your own standards, not to others (internal frame of reference); Being highly motived to stay on track in the face of obstacles (perseverance); Having a tendency to plan for the future, control impulses, and think creatively to address unexpected challenges (executive functioning); and Believing in your ability to influence your Financial outcomes ( Financial self-efficacy).