Consumer Education Initiatives in Financial and Health Literacy. Scope

12/06/2010

Our focus in this study was on financial and health literacy initiatives aimed at low-income individuals.

We define an initiative as any effort or program that seeks to educate individuals about financial or health issues and, more importantly, to engage individuals to improve their skills and behaviors relating to finances and health. These skills and behaviors may include, but are not limited to, proactive behaviors to prevent problems from occurring (e.g., budgeting to avoid overspending and monitoring blood glucose levels for diabetics to prevent high levels of glucose), general preventive behaviors that may or may not have a direct impact (e.g., reviewing ones credit scores and getting mammography screenings), managing problems (e.g., reducing debt and controlling asthma flare-ups), decision making (e.g., choosing mortgage options and health care treatments), and planning for the future (e.g., saving for expenses in retirement, including health care).

Finally, we focus on initiatives that target, or that would be valuable for, low-income individuals. Thus, we have included studies and initiatives that focus on specific income levels, that describe the setting as an underserved area, and that are likely to be valuable to all consumers, including those with low incomes. We have excluded initiatives that generally target persons with higher incomes (e.g., planning that involves paying financial planners).

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