Date of Award:

2001

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Environment and Society

Department name when degree awarded

Human Environments

Advisor/Chair:

Jean M. Lown

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to evaluate The Financial Checkup program. The program consisted of a booklet called The Financial Checkup and a 1-1 y, hour workshop explaining the booklet. The booklet helps individuals evaluate their financial situation on an annual basis. It includes a net worth statement, an income and expense statement, financial ratios, a revolving savings worksheet, a retirement worksheet, a life insurance worksheet, a financial goals worksheet, and a budget worksheet. The Financial Checkup covers the topics of debt, savings, retirement, taxes, insurance, goals, and budgeting.

The stages of change model developed by James Prochaska was used to evaluate the financial situation of the participants. The model includes five stages that individuals advance through as they make behavior changes. The stages are precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance.

The Financial Checkup helped individuals progress along the stages of change. Twenty-nine percent of the individuals who participated in The Financial Checkup program advanced at least one stage compared to 2 1% of the control group. Seven percent of the treatment group regressed one or more stages compared to 17% of the control group.

The Financial Checkup program was especially effective in helping individuals complete and understand a net worth statement and an income and expense statement. On the posttest, all participants in the treatment group indicated that they knew what a net worth statement and an income and expense statement were. On the 3-month follow-up survey, 50% of the treatment group had completed a net worth statement and 63% had completed an income and expense statement.

The Financial Checkup program was most effective for helping participants advance along the stages of change and improve their financial situation in the area of debt. Of the treatment group participants, 51% indicated an improvement in stages for their debt situation. Other areas of substantial improvement were the areas of savings, taxes, homeowners insurance, retirement, and auto insurance.

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