As Americans, a lack of knowledge about credit, investing, banking, financial planning paired with risky financial attitudes and behaviors were central predictors of the recent economic downturn. For ...
college students, these risk factors often play out with increased school loan and credit card debt, loan delinquency or default, and risky financial behaviors such as credit card cash advances, payday lending, and lack of bank affiliation. This study examines college student’s financial attitudes and behaviors in an attempt to better understand what facets of a student’s life most significantly predict positive and negative financial outcomes.
Approximately 40,000 college freshmen across the United States were surveyed on a variety of pertinent topics around banking, savings, credit cards, and school loans. Results indicate that increased levels of cautious financial attitudes, paired with decreased levels of spending compulsion, and risky debt behavior most significantly predicted responsible student behavior around credit, spending, and banking. Although financial knowledge alone plays a strong predictive role of increasing positive financial outcomes, these results provide strong evidence that more intervention is required to foster the development of positive financial behaviors and outcomes. Educators, researchers, and policy makers should augment financial literacy education programs with attitudinal and behavioral components to maximize the likelihood that the college students are prepared to make sound financial decisions while in college and beyond.
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