Coming to Terms with Financial Literacy

  • Cliff A. Robb
Part of the International Series on Consumer Science book series (ISCS)


The topic of financial literacy has risen to prominence in recent years. Despite the general recognition of the importance of financial education and literacy among researchers, practitioners and policymakers, little has been done to clearly define the concept. The present chapter highlights some of the general difficulties inherent in studying the area of financial literacy and education, noting the variety of definitions and measures that have been used in previous studies of the topic. Without a universally recognized measure of knowledge or literacy, it is difficult to develop relevant initiatives, assess current education policy, and advance the knowledge base of the field in regards to financial literacy and its significance. The chapter concludes by highlighting some current steps that are being taken to achieve a more unified concept of financial literacy in the United States.


Health Literacy Financial Literacy Financial Education Financial Knowledge Personal Finance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Avard, S., Manton, E., English, D., & Walker, J. (2005). The financial knowledge of college freshmen. College Student Journal, 39(2), 321–339.Google Scholar
  2. Balatti, J. (2007, November). Financial literacy and social networks – what’s the connection? Presentation at the Adult Learning Australia National Conference, Cairns.Google Scholar
  3. Braunsberger, K., Lucas, L. A., & Roach, D. (2004). The effectiveness of credit-card regulation for vulnerable consumers. Journal of Services Marketing, 18(5), 358–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chen, H., & Volpe, R. P. (1998). An analysis of personal financial literacy among college students. Financial Services Review, 7(2), 107–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cutler, N. E., & Devlin, S. J. (1996, July 22). Boettner Center survey reveals most Americans lack financial literacy to secure their financial well-being in old age. PR Newswire.Google Scholar
  6. Fox, J., Bartholomae, S., & Lee, J. (2005). Building the case for financial education. The Journal of Consumer Affairs, 39(1), 195–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Freebody, P., & Luke, A. (1990). ‘Literacies’ programs: Debates and demands in cultural context. Prospect, 5, 7–16.Google Scholar
  8. Gruber, J., & Wise, D. (2001). Social security and retirement around the world. In A. J. Auerbach & R. D. Lee (Eds.), Demographic change and fiscal policy (pp. 159–190). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Guiso, L., & Jappelli, T. (2009). Financial literacy and portfolio diversification. Center for studies in Economics and Finance, Working Paper No. 212. Retrieved August 20, 2009, from
  10. Hilgert, M. A., Hogarth, J. M., & Beverly, S. G. (2003). Household financial management: The connection between knowledge and behavior. Federal Reserve Bulletin, 309–322.Google Scholar
  11. Hira, T. K., & Schuchardt, J. (2008). Setting the standard for financial literacy. The Standard, 26(4).Google Scholar
  12. Hogarth, J. M. (2002). Financial literacy and family and consumer sciences. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences., 94(1), 14–28.Google Scholar
  13. Hogarth, J. M., & Hilgert, M. A. (2002). Financial knowledge, experience and learning preferences: Preliminary results from a new survey on financial literacy. Consumer Interests Annual, 48, 1–7.Google Scholar
  14. Jones, J. E. (2005). College students’ knowledge and use of credit. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, 16(2), 9–16.Google Scholar
  15. Joo, S., Grable, J. E., & Bagwell, D. C. (2003). Credit card attitudes and behaviors of college students. College Student Journal, 37(3), 405–419.Google Scholar
  16. Lee, J., & Hogarth, J. M. (1999). The price of money: Consumers’ understanding of APRs and contract interest rates. Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, 18(1), 66–76.Google Scholar
  17. Lusardi, A., & Mitchell, O. S. (2007). Baby Boomer retirement security: The roles of planning, financial literacy, and housing wealth. Journal of Monetary Economics, 54, 205–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lyons, A. C. (2005). Financial education and program evaluation: Challenges and potentials for financial professionals. Journal of Personal Finance, 4(4), 56–68.Google Scholar
  19. Mandell, L. (2005). Financial literacy – does it matter? In: Lucey, T. A., & Cooter, K. S. (Eds.), Financial literacy for children and youth. Digitaltextbooks.bizGoogle Scholar
  20. Mandell, L. (2006). Financial literacy: It it’s so important, why isn’t it improving? Networks Financial Institute Policy Brief No. 2006-PB-08.Google Scholar
  21. Mandell, L., & Klein, L. S. (2009). The impact of financial literacy education on subsequent financial behavior. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, 20(1), 15–24.Google Scholar
  22. Markovich, C. A., & Devaney, S. A. (1997). College seniors’ personal finance knowledge and practices. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, 89(3), 61–65.Google Scholar
  23. McCormick, M. H. (2009). The effectiveness of youth financial education: A review of the literature. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, 20(1), 70–83.Google Scholar
  24. Merriam-Webster, Inc. (1996). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary (10th ed.). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc.Google Scholar
  25. Noctor, M., Stoney, S., & Stradling, R. (1992). Financial literacy: A discussion of concepts and competences of financial literacy and opportunities for its introduction into young people’s learning. Report prepared for the National Westminster Bank, National Foundation for Education Research, London.Google Scholar
  26. Nutbeam, D. (1998). Health promotion glossary. Health Promotion International, 13, 349–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2005). Improving financial literacy: Analysis of issues and policies. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  28. Peng, T. M., Bartholomae, S., Fox, J. J., & Cravener, G. (2007). The impact of personal finance education delivered in high school and college courses. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 28, 265–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Poterba, J., Rauh, J., Venti, S., & Wise, D. (2006). Defined contribution plans defined benefit plans, and the accumulation of retirement wealth. NBER working paper No. 12597. Retrieved May 15, 2008, from
  30. Robb, C. A. (2009). An exploration of the relationship between college student personal financial knowledge and credit card use behaviors. Working paper.Google Scholar
  31. Robb, C. A., & James, R. N. (2007). Personal financial knowledge among college students: Associations between individual characteristics and scores on an experimental measure of financial knowledge. Consumer Interests Annual, 54, 144.Google Scholar
  32. Robb, C. A., & Sharpe, D. L. (2009). Effect of personal financial knowledge on college students’ credit card behavior. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, 20(1), 25–43.Google Scholar
  33. Roy Morgan Research (2003) ANZ survey of adult literacy in Australia. Final Report.Google Scholar
  34. Schuchardt, J., Hanna, S. D., Hira, T. K., Lyons, A. C., Palmer, L., & Xiao, J. J. (2009). Financial literacy and education research priorities. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, 20(1), 84–95.Google Scholar
  35. Vitt, L. A., Reichbach, G. M., Kent, J. L., & Siegenthaler, J. K. (2005). Goodbye to complacency: Financial literacy education in the U.S. 2000–2005. Washington, DC: AARP.Google Scholar
  36. Warwick, J., & Mansfield, P. (2000). Credit card consumers: College students’ knowledge and attitude. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 17(7), 617–626.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Willis, L. E. (2008). Evidence and ideology in assessing the effectiveness of financial literacy education. The San Diego Law Review, 46(2), 415–458.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Consumer SciencesUniversity of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA

Personalised recommendations