Pathways to financial success: Determinants of financial literacy and financial well-being among young adults

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Sabri, Mohamad Fazli
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Christine C. Cook
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Human Development and Family Studies

The issue of financial literacy and financial well-being among college students has received increasing research attention. This investigation was designed to examine several unanswered questions about college students' financial knowledge, how it is derived, and the overall financial literacy and well-being of young adults. The dissertation follows a journal paper format and consists of two research manuscripts prepared for publication. Data for each article is derived from a study of eleven public and private universities across Malaysia and the sample consists of 2,519 college students. The first article, addresses the effects of childhood consumer experience on financial literacy. This study investigates the impact of personal and family background, academic ability, and childhood consumer experience on financial literacy among college students. This investigation is among the first to examine the role that ethnicity plays in the relationship between childhood consumer experience and in explaining financial knowledge. Financial literacy was measured with a 25-item test of financial knowledge. On average, students answered less than half of the questions correctly. Methods of analysis included bivariate t-tests, analysis of variance, and multiple regression analysis. Discussing family finances with parents as a child had a substantial positive relationship on students' financial literacy. Students of Chinese ethnicity, who live on campus, and who attend private colleges were less likely to be financially literate. The second article, takes the next step, moving from understanding financial literacy, to examining how various factors (personal and family background, academic ability, early childhood consumer experience, financial socialization, and financial knowledge) predict students' perceived financial well-being. Structural equation modeling indicated that early childhood consumer experiences such as savings' habits contribute to students' financial well-being; measured as money saved, current financial situation, and financial management skills. Furthermore, financial socialization agents including parents and religion sources increased college students' financial well-being. Financial knowledge was related to financial well-being. Implications and recommendations for future research, teaching, and public policy are provided for parents, college administrators, counselors, and educators.

Sat Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2011