Interventions designed to improve financial capability: A systematic review.

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This systematic review assesses the state of research on interventions that combined financial education and a mainstream financial product or service (“financial capability interventions”). It examines the financial behaviors and financial intervention outcomes. The review summarizes evidence from 63 reports from 24 unique studies. The studies spanned the years 2004-2020 and were all conducted in the USA. The majority of the studies were randomized control trials. Data were collected on financial behavior and financial outcomes of the study participants using unstandardized instruments and included self-reported and administrative data. Behavior changes included bank or retirement account opening, asset purchase, savings rate, budgeting and retirement savings rate. Financial outcomes included savings amount, credit score, debt amount, asset value and retirement savings amount. Data is sparse about whether participants’ financial behaviors and/or financial outcomes are improved. Many studies had important methodological weakness, and a high or unclear risk of bias. There is a lack of strong evidence about the effectiveness of financial capability interventions. Better evidence is needed about the effectiveness of financial capability interventions to guide practitioners. Policy actors that seek to facilitate increased financial capability through the interventions included in this review need a stronger evidence foundation.

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About This Study:

Outcome(s): Financial Capabilities
Intervention(s): Financial Capability Interventions
Intervention Duration: Various
Relevant ORR Program: Individual Development Accounts
Study Type: Systematic review
Full Text Availability: Free
Direction of Evidence: No evidence about impact
Strength of Evidence: Strong
Population(s): Other
Gender(s) of Participants: All
Age(s) of Participants: Adults
Region(s) of Origin of Participants: North America

Relevant Evidence Summaries:

The evidence was reviewed and included in the following summaries: