Abandoning Financial Education?

Lauren E. Willis, Associate Professor of Law at Loyola Law School, argues:

“This panel has been tasked with presenting the lessons learned from financial education programs over the years. Unfortunately, few lessons are learned from these programs and those that are can be wrong. This is not to say that these programs cannot have a positive impact on people’s lives, but the way in which they “work” is unlikely to be through the intended pathway of equipping consumers with essential financial knowledge. Increasing financial literacy alone is unlikely to improve outcomes, and hawking this education as a means to achieve financial well-being sets up low- and moderate-income households to fail. But other aspects of these programs can enhance the financial health of households. Because household well-being is the primary goal of financial education, we should focus our future inquiry on how to improve this directly, and abandon the search for effective financial education.”

You can read Lauren’s scholarly paper on the topics at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=342982