Date of Award:

5-2013

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Jean M. Lown

Abstract

It is important that consumers are not only financially literate, but that they are also capable of making prudent financial decisions. Effective financial education programs should empower individuals to make wise financial decisions and avoid financial scams. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Investor Education Seminars taught by the Utah Division of Securities. The effectiveness of the educational program was measured by changes in financial knowledge, confidence, attitudes, and behavior compared to individuals who did not participate in the course. A logic model was used to outline program objectives and to determine the research questions. Data for this study were collected from participants through three online questionnaires. A comparison group, who had not yet attended the Investor Education Seminars, was asked to answer the same three surveys. Initially, there were 81 respondents in this study, 46 seminar participants, and 35 comparison group participants. Results from chi-square crosstabulations showed that age, ethnicity, and employment status were the only significant group differences between seminar participants and the comparison group. The results of this study suggest that the Investor Education Seminars were beneficial in helping participants increase their financial confidence and progress to a higher stage in the Transtheoretical Model of Change (TTM). Hierarchical regression analyses found a significant increase from pretest to posttest in financial confidence for seminar participants. Although there was no significant change in financial knowledge from pretest to posttest for the treatment group, the knowledge scores were high on the pretest. The average financial attitude score decreased for the treatment group. Results for the Transtheoretical Model for Change (TTM) showed that many participants in the treatment group moved from struggler to saver in the Stages of Change. The majority of participants reported being satisfied with the seminar and would recommend it to others.

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