Date of Award:

10-2011

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Jean M. Lown

Abstract

Consumers need to acquire financial knowledge and confidence in order to take effectual actions to accumulate adequate retirement wealth and improve their overall financial well-being. Thus, quality financial education programs are needed to empower consumers to achieve these goals. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Utah State University (USU) Retirement and Savings Seminar as measured by participant satisfaction and participants‘ financial knowledge, financial confidence, and financial behavior change compared to a similar group of non-participants. The program evaluation was guided by a logic model developed for the seminar.

Data for this study were collected with three online questionnaires emailed to USU employees who enrolled in the seminar as well as a comparison group matched by gender and employment category. A total of 188 individuals responded to the surveys, with subsamples of 54 treatment group participants and 134 comparison group participants. Results from chi-square crosstabulations and an independent samples t test revealed that age, total household income, and current retirement assets were the only significant group differences between seminar participants and non-participants.

Based on the results of this study, it can be concluded that the Retirement and Savings Seminar is a beneficial program. Overall, seminar participants reported that they were very satisfied with the seminar and would recommend it to other university employees in the future. Results from the hierarchical regression models found a significant increase in seminar participants‘ financial knowledge and financial confidence from the pretest to the posttest. Additionally, seminar participants improved their financial knowledge and financial confidence scores more than non-participants above and beyond group differences in age, total household income, and pretest scores. A one-way repeated measures ANOVA found that financial behavior also increased more for seminar participants than for non-participants two months after completing the seminar.

According to the Transtheoretical Model of Change (TTM), individuals progress through five stages of behavior change to modify a problem behavior or acquire a positive behavior. Consistent with this theory, a Wilcoxon signed-ranks test indicated that the seminar helped seminar participants to progress to a higher TTM stage of change more than non-participants.

Comments

This work made publicly available electronically on November 21, 2011.

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