Source: RUTGERS, THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW JERSEY submitted to
BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS AND FINANCIAL DECISION-MAKING AND INFORMATION MANAGEMENT ACROSS THE LIFESPAN
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
NEW
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
1001871
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
NJ02240
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
NC-2172
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Nov 1, 2013
Project End Date
Sep 30, 2018
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
O'Neill, B, .
Recipient Organization
RUTGERS, THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW JERSEY
3 RUTGERS PLZA
NEW BRUNSWICK,NJ 08901-8559
Performing Department
Agricultural Food & Resource Economics
Non Technical Summary
An understanding of how American households make financial decisions is needed to inform the content and format of financial education programs and public policy. The work of NC 2172 through 9/30/18 will focus on exploring consumer financial decision-making across the lifespan with a focus on three specific decisions related to housing, post-secondary education financing, and the claiming of Social Security benefits at retirement. The NC 2172 research team will use a mixed methods research design, including online surveys and convenience samples, to obtain relevant data. Motivators and barriers in the household financial decision-making process will be explored.
Animal Health Component
80%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
(N/A)
Applied
80%
Developmental
20%
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
60760203010100%
Knowledge Area
607 - Consumer Economics;

Subject Of Investigation
6020 - The family and its members;

Field Of Science
3010 - Economics;
Goals / Objectives
Determine how motivators and barriers to economic decision-making can be presented in specific decision situations across the life-span of households Suggest strategies that can be used to improve consumer financial decision-making
Project Methods
The methods to be used to achieve the NC 2172 objectives listed above have already been determined by the NC 2172 team. Dr. O'Neill will participate in the planned research project strategies, along with her colleagues, to do the following: analyze existing research to inform data collection; help design experiments and qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection; submit proposals for presentations; write/publish manuscripts and outreach publications.

Progress 10/01/14 to 09/30/15

Outputs
Target Audience:This research project is designed to develop a better understanding of motivators and barriers that affect financial decision-making and strategies to improve financial well-being. Target audiences for research findings from this project are financial education professionals and consumers. Professionals, including military financial counselors and Cooperative Extension educators, will be reached through conference presentations, publications, webinars, and social media (Dr. O'Neill currently has 1,650 Twitter followers). Consumers will be reached through development of curricula for public programs, mass media, and social media. Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?As noted previously, Dr. O'Neill and colleagues made presentations about NC2172 research methodology and findings at two professional conferences for financial educators and researchers in 2015. Another research dissemination outreach method, listed under "Other Products," was the delivery of two webinars about student loan decision-making for over 125 professional financial educators, including military financial counselors. Dr. O'Neill also delivered 10 other research-based webinars during 2015 as part of the grant-funded eXtension Military Families Learning network. Follow-up evaluations conducted by eXtension found that over two-thirds of over 1,000 webinar participants put the knowledge gained into practice. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?As noted above, NC2172 and other research findings by Dr. Barbara O'Neill have been disseminated via publications, presentations, and webinars. In addition, she incorporated findings about student loan decisions into her Personal Finance course at Rutgers University: http://rci.rutgers.edu/~boneill/. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals?Dr. O'Neill will participate in planned NC2172 research about homeownership decisions and future research about retirement decisions. In addition, she will continue to lead research about relationships between health and financial practices and develop a strong evidence base for the Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ program.

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? This research project is designed to develop a better understanding of motivators and barriers that affect family financial decision-making and strategies to improve financial well-being. This includes studies of consumer financial practices. Research results are shared with financial education professionals and consumers. During FY 2014, Dr. O'Neill worked with colleagues to conduct empirical research about financial decision-making with respect to student loans and housing. She was an active participant of several NC2172 subcommittees to prepare manuscripts for publication and conference session proposals for presentation. One paper was accepted for publication in the Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal, one is undergoing a second review, and two conference workshop proposals were submitted and accepted for presentation at ACCI (American Council on Consumer Interests) and NEAFCS (National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences). In addition, Dr. O'Neill conducted two webinars for professionals that included NC2172 project research data. Another paper is being prepared for submission and two new conference workshop proposals were recently submitted for conferences by research subcommittees that Dr. O'Neill is a part of. Apart from work with NC2172, Dr. O'Neill is leading research about relationships between health and personal finances using data from the online Rutgers Cooperative Extension Personal Health and Finance Quiz (http://njaes.rutgers.edu/money/health-finance-quiz/). Launched in July 2014, the quiz is among the first online surveys for public use to simultaneously query users about their health and personal finance practices. People who complete the quiz receive a score for each section (i.e., a Health Score and a Finance Score) and a Total Score. The quiz also collects research data about the daily health and financial practices of Americans to inform future Cooperative Extension educational programs. The Personal Health and Finance Quiz is Rutgers Cooperative Extension's sixth online self-assessment tool. Together, these online financial self-assessment tools have collected data about, and provided personalized feedback to, almost a quarter of a million people during the past decade. Two papers based on quiz data are currently under review and a poster was accepted for presentation at the 2015 NEAFCS meeting. Dr. O'Neill also collaborated with Dr. Jing Xiao from the University of Rhode Island on two papers that used data from the National Financial Capability Study. The remainder of Dr. O'Neill's project accomplishments for FY 2015 involves attending monthly NC2172 conference calls, attending the NC2172 annual meeting in May 2015, and working with colleagues on various project deliverables. This work included service on the Focus Group subcommittee to analyze and write up qualitative data about student loan decisions and literature reviews about student loan debt and home purchases and gender impacts of student loan debt. As noted above, the NC2172 committee has a good pipeline of publications and presentations and Dr. O'Neill is involved with many of them.

Publications

  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2015 Citation: ONeill, B. The Greatest Wealth is Health: Relationships between Health and Financial Behaviors. Journal of Personal Finance (2015), 14(1), 38-47.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2015 Citation: ONeill, B. & Ensle, K. Personal Health and Finance Quiz: A Tool for Outreach, Research, and Evaluation. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension (2015), 3(1), 1.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2014 Citation: ONeill, B. A Financial Practitioner Tool Kit: Assessment, Prescriptions, and Progress Checkup. Journal of Consumer Education (2013-2014), 30, 13-29.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Awaiting Publication Year Published: 2015 Citation: Xu, Y., Johnson, C., Bartholomae, S., ONeill, B, & Gutter, M. Home Ownership Among Millennials: The Deferred American Dream. Family & Consumer Sciences Research Journal (Accepted for December 2015 issue).
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Awaiting Publication Year Published: 2015 Citation: ONeill, B. & Xiao, J.J. Payday loan Usage, State Law, and Financial Capability. Journal of Financial Service Professionals (Accepted for November 2015 issue).
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Accepted Year Published: 2015 Citation: ONeill, B., Shockey, S., Anderson, E., & Kiss, E. Evaluating the Impact and Outreach of Personal Finance Twitter Chats: An Exploratory Study. Consumer Interests Annual (American Council on Consumer Interests), 2015, 1 page. [WWW Document] URL: http://www.consumerinterests.org/cia2015.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Accepted Year Published: 2015 Citation: Xiao, J.J. & ONeill, B. Potential Effects of Consumer Financial Education on Financial Capability: Evidence from the 2012 National Financial Capability Study. Consumer Interests Annual (American Council on Consumer Interests), 2015, 1 page. [WWW Document] URL: http://www.consumerinterests.org/cia2015
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Accepted Year Published: 2015 Citation: Xiao, J.J. & ONeill, B. Payday Loan Usage, State Law, and Financial Capability. Consumer Interests Annual (American Council on Consumer Interests), 2015, 1 page. [WWW Document] URL: http://www.consumerinterests.org/cia2015.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Accepted Year Published: 2015 Citation: Gutter, M., Kim, J, & ONeill, B. NC2172: Behavioral Economics and Financial Decision-Making and Information Management Across the Lifespan. American Council on Consumer Interests, May 2015.
  • Type: Other Status: Accepted Year Published: 2015 Citation: Webinar presenter, eXtension Financial Security for All Community of Practice, Paying for College: Learn About the Federal Student Aid Toolkit and Other Student Loan Resources, April 2015. Archived at https://learn.extension.org/events/2080#.VYl8203bKM8.


Progress 11/01/13 to 09/30/14

Outputs
Target Audience: This research project is designed to develop a better understanding of motivators and barriers affecting family financial decisions and strategies to improve financial well-being. This includes studies of consumer financial practices. The target audiences for research findings from this project were financial education professionals and consumers. Several thousand professionals, such as military financial counselors and Cooperative Extension educators, were reached through conference presentations, publications, webinars, and social media (Dr. O’Neill currently has 1,100 Twitter followers). Consumers were reached through the development of curricula for public programs, mass media, and social media, including Twitter chats. Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? Another research dissemination outreach method, listed under “Other Products,” was the delivery of eleven 90-minute webinars for professional financial educators including military financial counselors. Follow-up evaluations conducted by eXtension found that well over half of the over 1,200 people who viewed these webinars put knowledge gained into practice. Dr. O’Neill also provided national leadership for the development of the Personal Health and Finance Quiz (see http://njaes.rutgers.edu/money/health-finance-quiz/). Launched in July 2014, the quiz is among the first online surveys for public use to simultaneously query users about their health and personal finance practices. People who complete the quiz receive a score for each section (i.e., a Health Score and a Finance Score), a Total Score, and links to online resources for improved health and financial management. The quiz also collects research data about the daily health and financial practices of Americans to inform future Cooperative Extension educational programs. The Personal Health and Finance Quiz is Rutgers Cooperative Extension’s sixth online self-assessment tool. The previous five online quizzes include the Financial Fitness Quiz, Identity Theft Risk Assessment Quiz, Investment Risk Tolerance Quiz, Personal Resiliency Resources Assessment Quiz, and Wise Credit Management Quiz. Together, these online financial self-assessment tools have collected data about, and provided personalized feedback to, almost a quarter of a million people during the past decade. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? The NC2172 student loan decision-making research projectis currently underway. No results have yet been disseminated. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? My plans include conducting research about health and financial relationships with data fromthe Personal Health and Finances Quiz and contributing to co-authored papers with NC2172 colleagues about student loan decision-making.

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? This research project is designed to develop a better understanding of motivators and barriers that affect family financial decision-making and strategies to improve financial well-being. This includes studies of consumer financial practices. Research results are shared with financial education professionals and consumers. During FY 2014, Dr. O’Neill worked with colleagues to conduct empirical research about consumer credit management practices and learning preferences for personal finance information. Both studies resulted in refereed journal articles. She also wrote two papers exploring health and wealth relationships. One paper was published and the second was recently revised and resubmitted. All four publications described above provide implications for financial practitioners and consumers. Dr. O’Neill’s project accomplishments for FY 2014 also involved attending monthly NC2172 conference calls and working with colleagues on a student loan decision-making research project. She served on the Focus Group subcommittee and helped draft survey questions and review literature. Focus Group data are being collected in Fall 2014, including an IRB-approved subsample at Rutgers, and research publications and presentations are anticipated in 2015.

Publications

  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2014 Citation: ONeill, B. & Xiao, J.J. Post-Recession, Post Legislation Credit Use: Insights from an Online Survey. Journal of Personal Finance (2014), 13(1), 65-76. [WWW Document] URL: http://www.iarfc.org/documents/issues/Vol13%20Issue%201.pdf.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2014 Citation: ONeill, B. & Ensle, K. Small Steps to Health and Wealth": Program Update and Research Insights. The Forum for Family and Consumer Issues (2014), (19(1). [WWW Document] URL: http://ncsu.edu/ffci/publications/2014/v19-n1-2014-spring/oneil-ensle.php.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2014 Citation: Abdul-Rahman, M. F., ONeil, M., & ONeill, B. Personal Finance Hot Topics: A Comparison between Educators and Non-Educators. The Forum for Family and Consumer Issues (2013), 18(3), [WWW Document] URL: http://ncsu.edu/ffci/publications/2013/v18-n3-2013-winter/abdul-rahman-oneil-oneil.php.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Under Review Year Published: 2014 Citation: ONeill, B. The greatest wealth is health: Relationships between health and financial behaviors. Journal of Personal Finance. Under Review; Revised and Resubmitted 10/14