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AARP Foundation And Charles Schwab Foundation Study Shows Positive Changes In Financial Behavior Among People 50+ Following Participation In Educational Program

A recent study conducted by AARP Foundation and Charles Schwab Foundation followed the changes in financial behavior of individuals who participated in workshops delivered by community-based organizations using the AARP Foundation Finances 50+℠ curriculum. The study, which evaluated participants’ behavior before, three months after and six months after the program, suggests the workshops made a positive impact on various aspects of individuals’ financial attitudes and behavior. Participants reported decreased anxiety about personal finance, increases in “positive” financial behaviors such as saving, and decreases in “negative” financial behaviors such as overspending, mismanaging debt and paying unnecessary fees.

In 2011, AARP Foundation collaborated with Charles Schwab Foundation in developing AARP Foundation Finances 50+ -- a three-part financial capability program designed with older Americans in mind. One of AARP Foundation’s top priorities is to assist Americans over the age of 50 who are struggling financially. Debt, inadequate savings, bad spending habits and other demands like family support and medical bills all contribute to a lack of confidence in one’s financial future and a poor prognosis for a financially stable retirement.

In the report, the following “positive” financial behaviors increased significantly six months after the class:
  • calculating net worth increased by 43 percent
  • reducing financial fees increased by 29 percent
  • reducing spending and/or increasing earnings increased by 22 percent
  • prioritizing debt payment increased by 23 percent

Also, the study saw significant decreases in negative behaviors including overdrawing accounts and taking out payday loans.

“The AARP Foundation Finances 50+ program is designed to help people 50 and older set financial goals, take action and sustain the changes that can help them to achieve those goals,” said Lisa Marsh Ryerson, president of AARP Foundation. “Our data show that nearly 20 million people over age 50 are struggling to make ends meet. We are committed to making sure older adults have the resources they need to take control of their finances, regardless of their circumstances.”

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