The efficacy of family budgeting programs is often measured purely in terms of financial outcomes. There has been less research on its potential impacts on cognitive outcomes. The present study investigated whether an existing financial counseling intervention could help people improve their deliberative cognitive capacity. A community sample of participants in Auckland, New Zealand who identified that they wanted to better manage their money were randomly assigned to a month-long financial counseling intervention or a wait-list control group. Results showed that participants exposed to the intervention had a greater improvement in self-control than participants in the control group, and that self-control improved more for people with a low income than a high income. Financial counseling interventions may impart broader cognitive benefits that help people escape further financial hardship.

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