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Jamie Wagner

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The Journal of Consumer Affairs





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This study investigates how financial education in high school, college, or in the workplace affects the short‐ and long‐term financial behaviors of adults using the 2015 National Financial Capability Study (NFCS) data. Financial education appears to have generally insignificant effects on short‐term behaviors for which there is regular feedback and penalties, and thus greater opportunity for learning by doing. If consumers do not pay off their credit card bill, they get a monthly statement showing interest charges and penalties. Financial education appears to have more positive and stronger effects on long‐term behaviors with less timely feedback, and for which the adverse consequences are not fully realized until later in life, so learning by doing may not work. Not saving enough money for retirement cannot be easily or quickly corrected, if at all. The benefits to financial education may differ based on the time horizon for the financial behaviors.


This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Wagner, J., & Walstad, W. B. (2019). The Effects of Financial Education on Short‐Term and Long‐Term Financial Behaviors. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 53(1), 234-259, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

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