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Building a Financially Capable America Through Education and Research

The People We Help

The FINRA Foundation helps Americans build financial stability, invest for life goals and guard against fraud.

The Knowledge We Gain & Share

Research allows us to understand and improve money decisions. The FINRA Foundation connects those who create new knowledge with those who use it.

The Networks We Strengthen

Where do we turn before making important money decisions? The FINRA Foundation empowers its partners to reach people where they live, work and learn.

Does One Size Fit All? An Examination of Risk Factors by Scam Type

This study examines factors related to responding to and losing money in four types of consumer fraud. We found that risk factors generally varied across scam types, but lacking prior knowledge of the scam, loneliness, and believing the fraudster/organization seemed “official” were tied to a higher risk of responding to and losing money in a scam.

Business women hand using cell phone in office

 

Testing Positive: The Financial Strain of COVID-19

New research from the latest wave of the National Financial Capability Study examined the role of COVID-19 on U.S. adults’ financial capability. We found that adults in households that experienced a COVID-19 diagnosis struggled far more financially than those in non-COVID-19 households. Given COVID-19-positive households were defined as those impacted by a COVID-19 diagnosis on or before October 2021, these findings provide insights into the financial strain of those affected by COVID-19 early in the pandemic.

Testing Positive - Financial Strain of COVID

 

The Ketchum Prize

The FINRA Foundation congratulates the University of Georgia’s Cesar L. Escalante, recipient of the 2022 Ketchum Prize for outstanding contributions to the advancement of financial capability and financial inclusion in the United States. Professor Escalante is a pioneering researcher on racial and gender biases in agricultural lending.

Cesar Escalante

 

 

Why Is Measured Financial Literacy Declining and What Does It Mean? Maybe We Just “Don’t Know.”

New research from the latest wave of the National Financial Capability Study found that financial literacy has steadily declined over the past 12 years. Most of the decline is due to respondents' increasingly reporting they “don’t know” the answers to the underlying questions. The findings provide insights into what these changes may mean for financial education.

Declining Financial Literacy stock image

 

Who’s at Risk? Financial Fragility May Put Older Adults at Risk for Scams

New research by the FINRA Foundation and Rush University found that older adults facing financial fragility are more susceptible to scams than those who are not financially fragile. Financial literacy and cognition are also tied to scam susceptibility. Targeted efforts to reduce financial fragility and bolster financial literacy and cognitive health may be important tools for preventing financial exploitation.

Financial Fragility

 

New Wave of the National Financial Capability Study (NFCS)

The fifth wave of the National Financial Capability provides the latest information on the financial capability of adults in the U.S., providing key insights into their financial experiences, attitudes, resources, access, and knowledge. The data can be used to help policy makers, financial educators, and everyone better understand the financial circumstances and needs of households across the country.

Father and child

 

Six Things to Know About ESG and Retail Investors

Little research is publicly available about retail investors’ understanding and approach to ESG investing, which incorporates environmental, social and governance considerations into investment decision-making. This study by the FINRA Foundation and NORC at the University of Chicago examines retail investors’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviors related ESG investing.

Six Things to Know About ESG and Retail Investors

 

Testing the Effectiveness of Financial Education Across 76 Randomized Experiments

This study examines the effectiveness of financial education using data from 76 randomized experiments across 33 different countries covering over 160,000 people. The analysis suggests that financial education is cost-effective and improves both financial knowledge and financial behaviors.

 

Misjudging Memory Skills Can Adversely Impact Financial Decision Making in Old Age

This study found that older adults who misperceive their memory skills exhibit poorer financial decision making.

 

Race and Scam Susceptibility: Key Risk Factors for Older African Americans

This study examined the major factors tied to scam susceptibility among African American older adults. Our findings suggest that key risk factors relate to deficits in semantic memory (that is, conceptual knowledge), financial and health literacy, and psychological wellbeing—all of which are also tied to scam susceptibility among white older adults.

Senior Couple Reviewing Financial Documents at Home

 

Measuring Investing Knowledge

When testing investing knowledge, language matters. This study from the FINRA Foundation and NORC at the University of Chicago suggests that investing jargon commonly used in assessments can hide what female, African American, and Hispanic/Latino consumers really know about investing.

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Understanding the Financial Capability of Americans

This research, Bridging the Divide: A Closer Look at Changes in the Racial and Ethnic Composition of Investor Households, explores the racial and ethnic composition of investors over a six-year period. The findings suggest that while African American and Hispanic/Latino adults continue to be under-represented in the investor ranks, once sociodemographic variables are controlled for, the gap in the likelihood of owning a taxable investment account between white and African American and Hispanic/Latino adults closes substantially.

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FINRA Foundation Dissertation Completion Fellowship Program

In order to expand the pipeline of researchers from racial and ethnic backgrounds, the FINRA Foundation offers fellowships to advanced doctoral candidates pursuing dissertation research centrally concerning financial services and capital markets

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