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Washington, D.C. — Identifying the core personal finance information all U.S. consumers should know and learning how education, social and behavioral factors affect financial well-being were among the 10 financial education research priorities released this week by the U.S. departments of Treasury and Agriculture.

The list was developed during the National Research Symposium on Financial Literacy and Education, held Oct. 6-7 in Washington, DC.

Twenty-nine experts from the fields of behavioral and consumer economics, financial risk assessment and financial education evaluation, including researchers from the Center for Community Capital, were invited to summarize existing research findings, identify gaps in the literature and define and prioritize questions for future analysis. Participants included academics from public and private universities and scholars and administrators from nonprofit organizations and government officials. Numerous individuals also attended as observers.

The goal of the symposium was to provide a viewpoint on academic research priorities that could inform outcomes-based financial education, relevant public policy and effective practices leading to personal and family financial security.

The symposium is one of the calls to action in the federal government’s “Taking Ownership of the Future: The National Strategy for Financial Literacy (2006)” developed by the 20-agency Financial Literacy and Education Commission.

The 10 research recommended research priorities are:

  • What are the core principles of personal finance that every consumer needs to know, and what evidence exists that current standards are effective in helping people reach their financial goals?
  • What are reliable and valid measures of the success for financial education, and what measures should be used to document success for various financial topic areas and target audiences?
  • What is the most effective mix of financial education, decision framing, and regulation to improve financial well-being?
  • How do socialization factors, including conflicting messages, influence and affect household financial behavior?
  • How do financial socialization and education processes vary by gender, life stage, race, socioeconomic status, education and ethnicity?
  • How do financial education, financial socialization, and psychological factors interact, and how does this interaction affect financial well being?
  • How do people perceive and manage risk, and what are their financial risk tolerances and capacities?
  • How do economic shocks alter risk exposure and risk management choices both at the individual and household levels?
  • What are effective coping strategies and behaviors during times of financial crisis?
  • How do relevant theories of financial behaviors and attitudes apply to various subgroups (i.e., age, socioeconomic status and ethnicity) and contribute to improving financial well-being currently and over time?


Details on the symposium and priorities are available at

The UNC Center for Community Capital is the leading center for research and policy analysis on the transformative power of capital on households and communities. The center’s in-depth analyses in the areas of mortgage finance, consumer financial services and community development finance help policymakers, advocates and the private sector find sustainable ways to expand economic opportunity to more people, more effectively. For more information, or call (919) 843-2140.

Topics(s): Financial Capability, Financial Inclusion, Savings & Asset-Building
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