Friday, December 7, 2018

Research Findings from the AFCPE Symposium

I recently reviewed the proceedings (published papers and abstracts) of the 2018 symposium of the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE). Below are five take-away messages that caught my attention:

A study of college students’ money management behaviors found that they lack financial knowledge and tend to over-estimate their knowledge of personal finance.

Another study found evidence that financial knowledge is negatively related to financial stress. Knowledge about inflation and taxes was significantly associated with lower financial stress levels.

A third research study found statistically significant relationships between diet (eating habits), sleep, and physical activity, respectively, with an index of 10 financial management practices.

A fourth symposium workshop discussed differences between male and female finances. For example, the average monthly Social Security benefit for female retirees is 79% of what it is for male retirees.

Another session discussed research that found that indicators of financial knowledge and their application had a significant impact on financial well-being.


What can be learned from these AFCPE Symposium presentations?
Clearly one take-away is that financial knowledge is power. Another is that conscientiousness in one area of life (e.g., personal health habits) might provide useful insights into another (e.g., personal finances). Finally, women face unique financial challenges (e.g., lower average incomes and longer life expectancies) than men and should make financial plans accordingly (e.g., saving as much as possible for retirement and working longer to earn a higher Social Security benefit).

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