Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

2021

Department

Human Development and Family Science

Abstract

Consumer financial capability can be defined variously by different researchers. In this study, financial capability is assumed to have three components, financial knowledge, financial behavior, and financial skills. This study examines relative contributions of financial capability components to financial wellbeing among vulnerable consumers. With data from the National Financial Wellbeing Survey commissioned by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), results show that among financial capability components, financial behavior contributes the most to financial wellbeing of the whole sample, followed by financial skill and financial knowledge. In addition, group differences surface when subsamples in terms of age, poverty status, confidence, and fraud victim status are examined. Results suggest that for low-income consumers, encouraging them to engage in desirable financial behaviors is more important than teaching them financial knowledge and skills. Findings have implications for financial educators, practitioners, and policymakers to help them recognize the proper financial education or program to be delivered based on consumer vulnerability and components of financial capability.

Publication Title

The Journal of Consumer Affairs

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