Since its enactment in 1975, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) requires most mortgage lenders located in metropolitan areas to collect data about their housing-related lending activity, report the data annually to the government, and make the data publicly available. The information is collected annually from mortgage lenders by the Federal Financial Institution Examination Council (FFIEC). In 2011, over 16.3 million loan records for calendar year 2010 were reported by 7,923 institutions, including all of the nation’s large mortgage lenders. The Federal Reserve Board estimates that HMDA data cover 90-95% of Federal Housing Administration lending each year, and between 75-85% of other first lien home loans. As such, each year’s HMDA data are broadly representative of mortgage lending activity in the U.S. Data reported by each mortgage lender include the disposition of each mortgage application received (e.g., accept vs. reject), type and purpose of loan applications (e.g., home purchase vs. refinance), characteristics of each home mortgage originated or purchased during the year, the census-tract designations of the properties related to those loans, loan pricing information, personal demographic and other information about loan applicants (including race/ethnicity and income), and information about loan sales. Data are generally available online by geographic area and be mortgage institutions for each year from 1999 – present.
|1/1/2010||Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC)||FFEIC||Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System||English||Dataset||Survey data||Borrow, Save & Invest||Home Mortgage||Researcher||1||Yes||James Gatzemail@example.com|
Free tags: lender choice
The Consumer Expenditure Survey collects information from households and families on their buying habits (expenditures), income, and household characteristics. The survey data are collected on an ongoing basis by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This nationwide household survey is designed to represent the total U.S. civilian noninstitutional population. The survey consists of two components, a quarterly Interview Survey and a weekly Diary Survey. In the Interview Survey, each consumer unit is interviewed every 3 months over five calendar quarters. In the initial interview, information is collected on demographic and family characteristics and on the consumer unit’s inventory of major durable goods. Expenditure information is collected in the second through the fifth interviews using uniform questionnaires. Income and employment information is collected in the second and fifth interviews. In the fifth interview, a supplemental section is administered in order to account for changes in assets and liabilities over a one-year period. The Interview Survey collects detailed data on an estimated 60 to 70 percent of total family expenditures. In addition, global estimates—that is, estimated average expenditures for a 3-month period—are obtained for food and other selected items. These global estimates account for an additional 20 to 25 percent of total expenditures. In the Diary Survey, respondents are asked to keep track of all their purchases made each day for two consecutive 1-week periods. Participants receive each weekly diary during a separate visit by a Census Bureau interviewer. Diary and Interview Survey microdata for individual consumer units since 1990.
|Bureau of Labor Statistics||Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System||English||Dataset||Borrow, Earn, Protect, Save & Invest, Spend||Assets; Consumption; Credit; Employment; Income; Insurance||Researcher||1||Yes|
Free tags: income, occupation, homeownership
The SCF is conducted every three years to provide detailed information on the finances of U.S. families (households). The study is sponsored by the Federal Reserve Board in cooperation with the Department of the Treasury and is widely used by the Federal Reserve, other branches of the U.S. government and researchers worldwide for insights and analysis regarding U.S. household finances. Respondents are selected through a geographically based random sample and a special oversample of relatively wealthy families. This process is designed to produce reliable information both on attributes that are broadly distributed in the population (such as homeownership) and on those that are highly concentrated in a relatively small part of the population (such as closely held businesses). The survey collects information on total family income for the calendar year preceding the survey, as well as a wide range of financial characteristics at the time of the interview, including details on assets and debts, use of various financial services, pension information, labor force participation and demographic characteristics. The most recent survey for which data are available was conducted in 2007. Because the survey questionnaire has changed only slightly since 1989, data available from the 1989, 1992, 1995, 1998, 2001, and 2004 surveys are comparable to the 2007 survey. Approximately 4,700 families were interviewed for the 2007 survey.
|Federal Reserve Board of Governors||Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System||English||Dataset||Earn, Protect, Save & Invest, Spend||Assets; Consumer Credit; Employment; Income; Pension; Savings||Researcher||1||Yes|
Free tags: credit and pyament, credit usage, credit attitudes, housing, payment method, asset ownership, mortgage insurance
The SCPC is a nationally representative survey of consumers’ adoption and use of nine different payment instruments, including cash. The survey was developed by the Consumer Payments Research Center at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and is implemented by the RAND Corporation through its American Life Panel. It was designed to provide insights about the role of consumers in the transformation of payments from paper to electronic. Information is available on consumer attitudes toward and use of payment methods including cash, checks, debit cards, prepaid cards, credit cards, electronic bill payment and online banking in various retail settings. Some information is also available on respondent demographics, and self-reported credit and bill payment history. Data are available for the 2008 and 2009 editions of the survey.
|Federal Reserve Bank of Boston||Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System||English||Dataset||Spend||Home Mortgage||Researcher||1||Yes|
Free tags: cash, check, debit payment card, online
SIPP provides comprehensive information about income and labor force participation for individuals and households in the United States, and the extent and principal determinants of their participation in government transfer payment and supplemental income programs. SIPP offers detailed information on cash and noncash income on a subannual basis. The survey also collects data on taxes, assets, liabilities, and participation in government transfer programs. SIPP data allow the government to evaluate the effectiveness of federal, state, and local programs, estimate future program costs and coverage, and improve statistics on the distribution of income and measures of economic well-being in the country. The survey design is a continuous series of national panels, with sample size ranging from approximately 14,000 to 45,000 interviewed households. The duration of each panel ranges from 2 ½ years to 4 years. Each SIPP panel is a multistage-stratified sample of the U.S. civilian non-institutionalized population. The content is built around a "core" of labor force, program participation, and income questions designed to measure the economic situation of people in the United States. In addition, the survey periodically includes questions on a variety of topics not covered in the core section. These questions are labeled "topical modules" and are assigned to particular interviewing waves of the survey. Topics covered by the modules include personal history, child care, wealth, program eligibility, child support, utilization and cost of health care, disability, school enrollment, taxes, and annual income. Data are currently available for the series of panels conducted between 1984 and 2004. The 2008 panel is in the field.
|U.S. Census Bureau||Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System||English||Dataset||Earn, Protect, Save & Invest, Spend||Assets; Benefits; Employment; Government Income Replacement Programs; Income; Insurance||Researcher||1||Yes||3/23/2012|
In January 2009, the FDIC sponsored a special supplement to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS) to collect data to determine the number of U.S. households that lack a deposit account with a financial institution (checking or savings account) and reasons for not having/using a bank account. In addition, the survey identifies for all households the extent to which they utilize alternative financial services such as non-bank money orders, non-bank check-cashing services, payday loans, rent-to-own agreements, pawn shops, tax fund anticipation loans, and either pre-paid or payroll debit cards. Coupled with the rich demographic data available through the CPS, this survey presents a wealth of previously unavailable data on extent to which consumers utilize depository vs. non-bank financial services providers at the national, state and large metropolitan statistical area (MSA) levels. The CPS is a monthly survey of about 54,000 households representative of the U.S. civilian, non-institutionalized population.
|12/1/2009||FDIC||Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation||English||Report||Survey data||Save & Invest||Accounts; Alternative Lenders||Researcher||1||Yes|
checking and savings account ownership, check cashing, pawnships, payday lenders
The American Housing Survey (AHS) is the largest, regular national housing sample survey in the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau conducts the AHS to obtain up-to-date housing statistics for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Although the focus of the AHS is on the housing unit (physical space), the survey captures a rich array of information about the individuals and households who occupy those units, including the financial implications of their housing choices. In the AHS, national data are collected every other year, from a fixed sample of about 50,000 homes selected to represent a cross-section of all housing in the nation, plus new construction each year. In addition to interviewing the households who occupy the housing units, Census Bureau workers obtain information on unoccupied units from landlords, rental agents, or neighbors. The AHS provides detailed data on the size, composition, and condition of the housing inventory; data on financial characteristics of occupants such as monthly housing costs (the sum of all housing costs including utilities, the ratio of housing costs to income, and payment plans of primary and secondary mortgages); and neighborhood quality, such as presence or lack of crime, litter, or housing deterioration. In recent years additional questions provide information about characteristics such as gated communities and home equity loans. The survey asks homeowners about repairs and mortgages, renters about rent control and rent subsidies, recent movers about the homes they left and why they moved, and workers about their commutes. For all occupants the AHS provides age, sex, household relationships, education, wages, and the year the occupants moved into their home. The survey started in 1973, and has had the same sample since 1985, providing a view of how homes and households change over the years. In some metropolitan areas additional samples have been added every 4-6 years to measure local conditions. The most recent national survey data available are from the 2009 survey.
|Dept. of Housing and Urban Development||Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System||English||Dataset||Borrow, Earn, Spend||Expenditures; Home Mortgage; Income||Researcher||1||Yes|
Free tags: homeownership, mortgages, housing, homeownership choices, home improvements
The Residential Finance Survey (RFS) was conducted in the year following the decennial census from 1951 – 2001. It is designed to provide data about the financing of nonfarm, privately owned, residential properties. The 2001 RFS was conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. A representative national sample of about 68,000 residential addresses was drawn from the address file for Census 2000. These addresses were limited to counties and independent cities in the 394 sampling areas used for the Census Bureau's American Housing Survey National Sample. The RFS includes questions on the financing of homeowner and rental properties, including detailed characteristics of the mortgages, properties, and property owners. Detailed information for all first mortgages including: application method, reasons for refinancing, amounts and uses of cash-outs, year of origination, use of mortgage insurance or guarantees, type of mortgage, origination amounts and current balance, interest rate, interest rate buydowns, original and remaining term of the mortgage, indexes and caps used for ARMs, and items included in and amounts of monthly payments. Similar, but less detailed, information is reported for junior mortgages and home equity lines of credit.
|Dept. of Housing and Urban Development||Department of Housing and Urban Development||English||Dataset||Borrow, Spend||Home Mortgage||Researcher||1||Yes|
Free tags: loan sources, pricing terms
The Current Population Survey (CPS) is a monthly survey of households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It supports a set of widely reported monthly economic indicator statistics such as the national unemployment rate. As a household survey, the CPS provides a comprehensive body of data on the composition of the labor force (by age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, marital status, family relationship and veteran status), employment, unemployment, hours of work, earnings, discouraged workers and other persons not in the labor force, and other attributes of the labor force including employed multiple job holders and the impact of education level on employment and earnings. Data are also available on work experience, occupational mobility, job tenure, educational attainment, and school enrollment of workers. Supplemental questions on a variety of labor force topics (e.g., employment of school-aged workers; high school graduates and dropouts; displaced workers) and occasional non-labor topics are also included in the survey. The survey has been conducted monthly since 1940, and underwent a major redesign in 1994. It is currently conducted on a nationally representative sample of about 60,000 households.
|Bureau of Labor Statistics||Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System||English||Dataset||Earn||Employment; Income||Researcher||1||Yes|
Free tags: occupation
The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), which began in 1996, is a set of large-scale surveys of families and individuals, their medical providers (doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, etc.), and employers across the United States. MEPS collects data on the specific health services that Americans use, how frequently they use them, the cost of these services, and how they are paid for, as well as data on the cost, scope, and breadth of health insurance held by and available to U.S. workers. MEPS currently has two major components: the Household Component and the Insurance Component. The Household Component provides data from a nationally representative sample of 10,000 – 15,000 families and individuals in selected communities across the United States. The MEPS sample is a nationally representative subsample of households that participated in the prior year's National Health Interview Survey (conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics). During the household interviews, MEPS collects detailed information for each person in the household on the following: demographic characteristics, health conditions, health status, use of medical services, charges and source of payments, access to care, satisfaction with care, health insurance coverage, income, and employment. The panel design of the survey, which features several rounds of interviewing covering two full calendar years, makes it possible to determine how changes in respondents' health status, income, employment, eligibility for public and private insurance coverage, use of services, and payment for care are related. Data are available for the national sample through 2010.
|Dept. of Health and Human Services||Department of Health and Human Services||English||Dataset||Protect, Spend||Expenditures; Insurance||Researcher||1||Yes|
free tags: health
This study reports the results of the Federal Trade Commission’s second statistical survey of fraud in the United States. The survey found that 30.2 million adults – 13.5 percent of the adult population – were victims of one or more of the frauds included in the survey during the year studied. More people – an estimated 4.8 million U.S. consumers – were victims of fraudulent weight-loss products than any of the other frauds covered by the survey. Fraudulent foreign lottery offers and buyers club memberships tied for second place in the survey, with an estimated 3.2 million people were victims of each of these frauds during the period studied. Fraudulent prize promotions and work-at-home programs ranked fourth and fifth
|10/1/2007||Keith B. Anderson||Federal Trade Commission||English||Report||Survey data||Protect||Consumer Protection; Fraud||Researcher||1||Yes||3/23/2012|
This study presents the results of 36 in-depth interviews with recent mortgage customers, and quantitative consumer testing with over 800 mortgage customers, that examined how consumers search for mortgages, how well consumers understand current mortgage cost disclosures and the terms of their own recently obtained loans, and whether better disclosures could improve consumer understanding of mortgage costs, consumer shopping for mortgage loans, and consumers’ ability to avoid deceptive lending practices. The results of the study show that current mortgage cost disclosures fail to convey key mortgage costs to many consumers, and that prototype disclosures developed for the study significantly improved consumer recognition of mortgage costs, demonstrating that better disclosures are feasible.
|6/1/2007||James M. Lacko and Janis K. Pappalardo||Federal Trade Commission||English||Report||Focus groups and/or interviews; Survey data||Borrow||Home Mortgage||Researcher||1||Yes|
free tag: disclosures
This survey shows that nearly 25 million adults – 11.2 percent of the adult population – were victims of fraud during the prevous year. Certain racial and ethnic minorities were much more likely to be victims of fraud then non-Hispanic whites. American Indians and Alaska Natives were the ethnic group most likely to be victims: nearly 34 percent had experienced one or more frauds in the preceding year. Seventeen percent of African Americans were victims; over 14 percent of Hispanics were victims; and over 6 percent of Non-Hispanic whites were victims. The survey of 2,500 randomly chosen consumers shows that consumers with high levels of debt were more likely to be victims of fraud. Three of the top four categories of fraud related to credit, including credit-repair scams often targeted at those carrying high debt loads or having bad credit.
The most frequently reported type of consumer fraud was advance-fee loan scams, in which consumers pay a fee for a “guaranteed” loan or credit card.The survey also revealed that 33 percent of fraud victims first learned about a fraudulent offer or product from print advertising in newspapers, magazines, direct mail, catalogs, or posters. Women and younger consumers were more likely to complain if they have been victims of fraud, the survey found. Similarly, almost 75 percent of consumers under the age of 35 complained, compared to only 55.4 percent of consumers between 55 and 64. In addition to the fraud categories, the survey found that an estimated 13.9 million consumers were victims of telephone “slamming” – unauthorized and illegal changes in long distance telephone service.
|8/1/2004||Keith B. Anderson||Federal Trade Commission||English||Report||Survey data||Protect||Consumer Protection; Fraud||Researcher||1||Yes||3/23/2012|
This report presents the results of a study that uses a controlled experiment with over 500 recent mortgage customers to examine the mortgage broker compensation disclosure proposed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as part of its July 2002 RESPA reform proposal. The focus of the disclosure is on any “yield spread premium” paid by the lender to the broker for loans originated with “above par” interest rates. The study finds that the disclosure is likely to confuse consumers, cause a significant proportion to choose loans that are more expensive than the available alternatives, and create a substantial consumer bias against broker loans, even when the broker loans cost the same or less than direct lender loans. The report concludes that a better way to help consumers obtain less expensive mortgages would be to encourage and facilitate consumer comparison shopping on loan costs.
|2/1/2004||James M. Lacko and Janis K. Pappalardo||Federal Trade Commission||English||Report||Focus groups and/or interviews; Survey data||Borrow||Home Mortgage||Researcher||1||Yes|
Free tag: disclosures
This 2003 survey reports that 27.3 million Americans have been victims of identity theft in the five preceding years, including 9.9 million people in the previous year alone. Identity theft losses to businesses and financial institutions totaled nearly $48 billion and consumer victims reported $5 billion in out-of-pocket expenses. For all forms of identity theft, the loss to business was $4,800 and the loss to consumers was $500, on average. According to the survey results, fifty-two percent of all ID theft victims, approximately 5 million people in the last year, discovered that they were victims of identity theft by monitoring their accounts. Another 26 percent - approximately 2.5 million people - reported that they were alerted to suspicious account activity by companies such as credit card issuers or banks. Eight percent reported that they first learned when they applied for credit and were turned down. 15 percent of all victims - almost 1.5 million people in the last year - reported that their personal information was misused in nonfinancial ways, to obtain government documents, for example, or on tax forms. The most common nonfinancial misuse took place when the thief used the victim’s name and identifying information when stopped by law enforcement or caught committing a crime. Sixty-seven percent of identity theft victims - more than 6.5 million victims in the last year - reported that existing credit card accounts were misused and 19 percent reported that checking or savings accounts were misused. Finally, the survey reports that 51 percent of the victims - about 5 million victims - say they know how their personal information was obtained. Nearly one-quarter of all victims - roughly 2.5 million people in the last year - said their information was lost or stolen, including lost or stolen credit cards, checkbooks or social security cards. Stolen mail was the source of information for identity thieves in 4 percent of all victims - 400,000 in the last year. The survey was conducted by telephone with a Random Digit Dialing (RDD) random sample of 4057 US adults
|9/1/2003||Synovate||Federal Trade Commission||English||Report||Survey data||Protect||Consumer Protection; Identity Theft||Researcher||1||Yes||3/23/2012|
This survey shows that 8.3 million American adults, or 3.7 percent of all American adults, were victims of identity theft in 2005. Of the victims, 3.2 million, or 1.4 percent of all adults, experienced misuse of their existing credit card accounts; 3.3 million, or 1.5 percent, experienced misuse of non-credit card accounts; and 1.8 million victims, or 0.8 percent, found that new accounts were opened or other frauds were committed using their personal identifying information. The survey found that the costs associated with identity theft varied widely. In at least half of all incidents, thieves obtained goods or services worth $500 or less. In 10 percent of cases, however, thieves got at least $6,000 worth of goods or services.Approximately 40 percent of victims whose identity theft was limited to the misuse of existing accounts discovered the misuse within one week of when it began. In contrast, nearly one-quarter of victims of new account and other frauds did not find out about the misuse of their information until at least six months after it started. In cases where they discovered the misuse more quickly, victims reported lower out-of-pocket losses and thieves obtained less.
Fifty-six percent of all victims were unable to provide any information on how their personal information was stolen. The 44 percent who did provide such information included 16 percent of all victims who said that their information was stolen by someone they knew personally. Because most victims do not know how their information was compromised, these numbers may under-represent the actual percentage of victims who had a personal relationship with the individual who stole their information. The study was conducted through interviews using a random-digit-dialing sampling methodology. A total of 4,917 telephone interviews were conducted between March 27 and June 11, 2006.
|11/1/2007||Synovate||Federal Trade Commission||English||Report||Survey data||Protect||Consumer Protection; Identity Theft||Researcher||1||Yes||3/23/2012|
This study examines the effect of credit-based insurance scores on the price and availability of automobile insurance and the impact of such scores on racial and ethnic minority groups and on low-income groups. Using a large database of insurance policies, the study shows that scores are effective predictors of risk under automobile policies. At the same time, scores are observed to be distributed differently among racial and ethnic groups, and this difference is likely to have an effect on the insurance premiums that these groups pay, on average. Nonetheless, scores appear to derive a relatively small amount of their predictive power from their correlation with race and ethnicity. Finally, the Commission could not develop an alternative scoring model that would continue to predict risk effectively, yet decrease the differences in scores among racial and ethnic groups.
|7/1/2007||Matias Barenstein, Archan Ruparel, and Raymond K. Thompson||Federal Trade Commission||English||Report||Administrative data||Protect||Researcher||1||Yes|
This report presents the results of a nationwide survey of rent-to-own customers. The survey found that most rent-to-own merchandise is ultimately purchased by the customer, most customers are satisfied with their rent-to-own transactions, and most customers are treated well if they are late making a payment, although some customers are subject to possibly abusive collection practices. The report recommends that the total cost of purchasing merchandise through a rent-to-own transaction be disclosed on product labels that the consumer can see while shopping, in addition to disclosures in rental agreements and advertisements.
|4/1/2000||James M. Lacko, Signe-Mary McKernan, and Manoj Hastak||Federal Trade Commission||English||Report||Survey data||Borrow, Spend||Consumer Credit; Money Management||Researcher||1||Yes|
Free tag: rent-to-own
This study conducted by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) examines rates of participation in the Federal Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) in calendar year 2007 by ethnicity and gender. OPM found that minorities are less likely to participate in TSP (82.5 percent of minorities versus 87.8 percent of non-minorities). When minorities do participate, they contribute roughly 25 percent less than their non-minority counterparts. Women are slightly more likely to participate in TSP (86.4 percent versus 85.8 percent of men), but contribute less money and tend to invest more conservatively. The mean balance of a female’s account is 22 percent lower than the mean male balance ($62,527 versus $79,819).
|4/1/2010||United States Office of Personnel Management||Office of Personnel Management||English||Report||Administrative data||Save & Invest||Retirement savings; Savings||Researcher||1||Yes|
Free tag: Thrift Savings Plan
Drawing on a comprehensive review of academic journal articles, the report reviews patterns of investor behavior that may be suboptimal and factors that may lead to such patterns. role of behavioral finance from the perspective of prospect theory, overconfidence and human sentiment, as well as explanations for a reluctance to invest including financial literacy and trust. It also discusses retirement saving inadequacy and reviews a series of common investment mistakes as well as behavioral patterns related to annuity and growth investing. This report is a companion piece to an annotated bibliography on the behavioral characteristics of investors.
|8/1/2010||Seth L. Elan||Securities and Exchange Commission||English||Report||Literature review||Save & Invest||Investment||Researcher||1||Yes|
Tag; behavioral economics
This annotated bibliography provides 52 abstracts of a representative sample of scholarly articles on the subject of the behavioral characteristics of U.S. investors, along with a glossary defining 72 terms commonly used in the literature on this topic. The researcher conducted searches in JSTOR, EBSCO, and ProQuest, selecting for inclusion in this bibliography articles from academic journals such as American Economic Review, American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, CPA Journal, European Financial Management, Financial Management, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Journal of Consumer Affairs, Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Journal of Portfolio Management, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Review of Economics and Statistics, Review of Financial Studies, Stanford Law Review, and Tax Policy and the Economy. This annotated bibliography is a companion piece to a review report on common investor mistakes and factors underlying the decision to invest.
|8/1/2010||Seth L. Elan||Securities and Exchange Commission||English||Literature review||Save & Invest||Investment||Researcher||1||Yes|
tag: behavioral economics
In 2008, the SEC commissioned a survey to evaluate "plain English" rules approved in 1998 with the goal of making mandated disclosures simpler, clearer and more useuful. Abt SBRI conducted the telephone survey on a national sample of 1000 adults who invested in stocks, bonds and/or mutual funds outside an employer-sponsored reitrement plan. The survey found that many investors do not read disclosure documents and those who do, spend relatively little time on them. Overall satisfaction was mixed. Key issues reported included excessive jargon, confusion over the information content and intent of disclosures,poor investment literacy and a demand for web-based delivery. It was not possible to determine whether disclosure had improved due to the lack of baseline data
|7/1/2008||Abt SRBI||Securities and Exchange Commission||English||Report||Survey data||Save & Invest||Investment||Researcher||1||Yes|
In theory, financial professionals are relatively distinct: A broker conducts transactions in securities on behalf of others; a dealer buys and sells securities for his or her own accounts; and an investment adviser provides advice to others regarding securities. Broker-dealers and investment advisers are subject to different regulatory structures. But trends in the financial services market since the early 1990s have blurred the boundaries between them. Regulatory reform requires a clearer understanding of the industry’s complexities. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission asked RAND to conduct this study to examine the professionals’ current business practices and whether investors understand differences between and relationships among them. The report describes a heterogeneous industry, with firms taking many different forms and offering a multitude of services and products and with investors failing to distinguish broker-dealers and investment advisers along regulatory lines. Despite this, investors express high levels of satisfaction with the services they receive from their own financial service providers. This satisfaction was much more frequently reported to arise from the personal attention the investor receives than from the actual financial returns arising from this relationship.
|1/1/2008||Angela A. Hung, Noreen Clancy, Jeff Dominitz, Eric Talley, Claude Berrebi, and Farrukh Suvankulov||Securities and Exchange Commission||English||Report||Literature review; Survey data||Save & Invest||Financial Advice||Researcher||1||Yes|
This paper examines responses from a survey of 2,000 randomly selected mutual fund investors who purchased shares from six different distribution channels. The survey provides data on the demographic, financial, and fund ownership characteristics of mutual fund investors. It also provides data on investors’ knowledge of the costs and investment risks of mutual funds and the information sources these investors use to learn about these costs and risks. Our survey results strongly suggest there is room for improvement in the level of financial literacy of mutual fund investors.
|1/1/1998||Gordon J. Alexander, Jonathan D. Jones, and Peter J. Nigro||Securities and Exchange Commission||English||Article; Journal; Peer-reviewed||Survey data||Save & Invest||Investment||Researcher||1||Yes|
tag: mutual funds, financial literacy, financial eduaction
This environmental scan focuses on financial and/or health literacy initiatives for low-income or underserved consumers. AIR conducted a review of literature from 2005 through 2010 and conducted interviews with program officials from Federal agencies and private organizations to develop key findings and lessons learned. Based on the findings, better long-term financial and health outcomes are associated with highly targeted and proactive counseling. Seemingly, conversely, the interviews suggested that materials developed for low-income or low-health literacy audiences may benefit those with higher incomes or health literacy levels, thus developing interventions with low-income and low-health literacy audiences specifically may be the most efficient approach. The literature and interviews also indicated that for complex information or for information aimed at older adults, in-person or phone-based assistance was found more effective than other forms of dissemination. Previous behavior and current self-efficacy is an indicator of future behavior, while self-perception is a poor reflection of financial and health literacy levels. Initiatives that are simple and enjoyable, and that normalize positive financial behaviors are more likely to change behavior. Effective dissemination of information is more challenging than content development. Education assists in managing present difficulties and in preventing future problems. Both the literature and the interviews suggested that interactive activities to reinforce positive health or financial behaviors over the long term helped maintain and sustain these behaviors. Interviews suggested that consumer education should start at an early age and receive reinforcement throughout adulthood. Conversely, the literature suggested counseling provided the greatest benefit to specific situations and audiences, for example, borrowers with the lowest ability to manage finances and the greatest need to do so, The literature also reported only modest results from financial education when it provided a limited number of trainings and when the depth of trainings or the preparation of the educators was limited. Community-based partnerships and collaborations are a central component of effective outreach. There is a demand for increased training and endorsement of standards for financial educators. Communities have trusted sources of health education but often lack a trusted source of financial education.
|12/1/2010||Elizabeth Frentzel, Deepa Ganachari, Megan Bookhout, Marilyn Moon, Julia Galdo, and Sandra Robinson||Department of Health and Human Services||English||Report||Focus groups and/or interviews; Literature review||Borrow, Earn, Protect, Save & Invest, Spend||Researcher||1||Yes|
tag: financial literacy, financial education
This paper analyzes new data from the 2009 National Financial Capability Study. This survey provides information to assess how American households make financial decisions, how they are faring under current economic conditions, and in what ways financial knowledge contributes to financial capability. In addition, it includes data about the information that the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides to consumers. The paper finds that the majority of individuals do not plan for retirement or make provisions against shocks. Debt management often results in sizable interest payments and fees and it is notable how many individuals have used high-cost methods of borrowing in the past five years. Levels of financial knowledge are strikingly low and many respondents do not possess knowledge of basic concepts. Social Security has taken steps to provide information about what individuals will expect to receive when they retire. The self-reported evidence provided in the survey shows that the information has been used by about a quarter of the population who acknowledge receiving the statement. Moreover, there are large differences among use in demographic groups and some of the more vulnerable populations, such as African-Americans, those hit by shocks, and single and separated individuals are more likely to use the statement.
|9/1/2010||Annamaria Lusardi||Social Security Administration||English||Working paper||Survey data||Borrow, Earn, Protect, Save & Invest, Spend||Researcher||1||Yes|
tag: Social Security
This paper uses data from the Health and Retirement Study to explore the mechanism that underlies the robust relation found in the literature between cognitive ability, and in particular numeracy, and wealth, income constant. We have a number of findings. First, the more valuable the pension, the more knowledgeable are covered workers about their pensions. We suggest that causality is more likely to run from pension wealth to pension knowledge, rather than the other way around. Second, most measures of cognitive ability, including numeracy, are not significant determinants of pension and Social Security knowledge. Third, standardizing for incomes and other factors, a pension of higher value does not substitute for other forms of wealth. Rather, counting pensions in total wealth, those with more valuable pensions save more for retirement, other things the same. Fourth, there is no evidence that wealth held outside of pensions is influenced by knowledge of pensions. In sum, numeracy does not influence wealth in whole or in part by affecting financial knowledge of one's pension plan, where financial knowledge of the pension then influences other decisions about retirement saving. These findings raise questions about the mechanism that underlies the relation between cognition, especially numeracy, and wealth. From a policy perspective, they suggest that the numeracy-wealth relation should not be taken as evidence that increasing financial literacy will increase the wealth of households as they enter into retirement.
|9/1/2010||Alan L. Gustman, Thomas L. Steinmeier and Nahid Tabatabai||Social Security Administration||English||Working paper||Survey data||Save & Invest||Retirement; Savings||Researcher||1||Yes|
tags: financial literacy, financial eduaction, pensions
Two competing explanations for why consumers have trouble with financial decisions are gaining momentum. One is that people are financially illiterate since they lack understanding of simple economic concepts and cannot carry out computations such as computing compound interest, which could cause them to make suboptimal financial decisions. A second is that impatience or present-bias might explain suboptimal financial decisions. That is, some people persistently choose immediate gratification instead of taking advantage of larger long-term payoffs. We use experimental evidence from Chile to explore how these factors appear related to poor financial decisions. Our results show that our measure of impatience is a strong predictor of wealth and investment in health. Financial literacy is also correlated with wealth though it appears to be a weaker predictor of sensitivity to framing in investment decisions. Policymakers interested in enhancing retirement well-being would do well to consider the importance of these factors.
|10/1/2010||Justine Hastings and Olivia S. Mitchell||Social Security Administration||English||Working paper||Survey data||Save & Invest||Investment; Retirement; Savings||Researcher||1||Yes|
tag: behavioral economics, financial literacy, financial education
This paper analyzes new data on financial literacy and financial sophistication from the 2008 Health and Retirement Study. We show that financial literacy is lacking among older individuals and for the first time explore additional questions on financial sophistication which proves even scarcer. For this sample of older respondents over the age of 55, we find that people lack even a rudimentary understanding of stock and bond prices, risk diversification, portfolio choice, and investment fees. In view of the fact that individuals are increasingly required to take on responsibility for their own retirement security, this lack of knowledge has serious implications.
|9/1/2009||Annamaria Lusardi, Olivia S. Mitchell, and Vilsa Curto||Social Security Administration||English||Working paper||Survey data||Save & Invest||Investment; Retirement; Savings||Researcher||1||Yes|
tag: financial literacy, financial illiteracy
This paper presents the results of a field experiment in which a random subsample of older workers was given information about key Social Security provisions, while a control group was not. The experiment was designed to examine whether it is possible to affect individual behavior using a relatively inexpensive informational intervention about the provisions of a public program and to explore what mechanisms underlie the behavior change. We find that our relatively mild intervention (sending an informational brochure and an invitation to a web tutorial) significantly increased labor force participation one year later and that this effect is driven by female subjects. The information intervention increased the perceived returns to working longer, especially among female respondents, which suggests that the behavioral response can be attributed at least in part to updated information about Social Security.
|Jeffrey B. Liebman and Erzo F.P. Luttmer||Social Security Administration||English||Earn, Save & Invest||Government Income Replacement Programs; Income; Retirement||Researcher||1||Yes||3/23/2012|