Positive and Negative Financial Behavior
Educational interventions have been shown to improve financial wellness on average, but the benefits are highly variable. The variability stems from both what kind of educational intervention is being employed and what financial outcomes are being measured. In this paper, we use recent data from the 2018 National Financial Capability Survey (NFCS) to address this question. We divide educational approaches into two categories, personal finance and mathematics; while we group outcomes according to whether they are positive or negative behaviors. We find that while both personal finance education and mathematics are associated with an increased likelihood of engaging in positive behaviors, only mathematics is associated with a decreased likelihood of engaging in negative financial behaviors. In addition, we find some interaction between the two variables: among people with low math levels, financial education is associated with increased negative behavior, while among people with high math levels, no such association is found.