Initial Results and Continuing the Discussion

As Financial Literacy Month comes to an end, we are excited to share the results of AFCPE’s Field Research Survey. The survey results represent the collective ideas and insights from practitioners, researchers and educators in the field of personal finance. AFCPE Members were eager to share the research and resources that they find valuable in their work, but what is also clear is that there are areas of opportunity for expansion and enhanced knowledge.

The professionals responding to the survey categorized their work as:

Educator: 57% 
Practitioner: 29% 
Researcher: 6% 

 The top research categories you expressed the most interest in included: 

  • Behavioral Economics
  • Capability
  • Counseling
  • Military
  • Practice
  • Retirement/Investing

Within these categories and among others, the research and resources listed below were repeatedly cited (in no particular order):

Behavior Change 
Many respondents included various articles by Albert Bandura and James Prochaska that provide insight to help determine a person’s readiness to change and how they might affect change.  While various follow-up studies have been done, below are two of their early impactful studies: 

Sustainable Withdrawal 
A popular question in retirement discussions is “How much do I need to retire?”  William Bengen provides insight to answering this question and more specifically to identifying the amount retirees could historically withdraw from their retirement accounts without running out of money.  Below is a link to Bengen’s initial work. Wade Pfau and others are doing further research in this area. 

Financial Counseling Theory 
While most financial professionals are not focused on the use of financial counseling theory in their daily work, when applied theory can guide the work being done in education and in practice. 

Financial Capability and Wellness 
Many respondents found reports that shed light on the current state of Americans and how they manage their personal finances to be informative and valuable.  Links are provided below for two specific sources. 

Behavioral Economics 
Behavioral Economics is an increasingly popular and influential area of personal finance. While few specific articles or studies were sited in our survey, the field in general was referenced repeatedly.  Below is one article that was cited along with a few of the leading researchers in this area: 

Financial Literacy & Outcomes 
It is important that we measure the work being done in financial counseling, literacy and education, in order to provide project managers and policy makers with the information needed to affect change.  Below are some articles recommended that discuss outcomes and how to measure them: 

This is just a preliminary look at what you shared with us. We believe that the information you provided in this survey represents the foundation of AFCPE membership. It illustrates the diversity of our members and by building upon this feedback and continuing these conversations, together we can build a bridge that: 

  • Links practitioners and educators with resources that can positively impact the work that you do and the way you approach your clientele.
  • Provides our researchers with practical implications for future research.

As we compile the comprehensive results of our survey, to be released prior to the 2015 AFCPE Symposium in November, we hope you will utilize some of the broader resources and research that was shared. But our larger hope is that this valuable conversation will continue.

We invite you to comment in the notes section below and join us for the 2015 AFCPE Research & Training Symposium this November. The symposium is a unique opportunity where researchers, educators and practitioners come together to continue these valuable dialogue, share ideas and resources and work together to advance our field. Additional questions or comments, email Thomas Duffany at

What research do you think is missing?  Are there topic areas that should be added?

April 30, 2015

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