Written By: Lu Fan
This study develops a conceptual framework to investigate the relationship between households’ information search behavior and financial management outcomes. Consumers’ information search behavior is examined from both internal and external perspectives. The internal information sources include human capital and psychological and attitudinal factors, whereas the external information sources comprise financial professionals from different financial service areas. Financial management behaviors examined in this study consist of consumers’ savings and credit-using behavior. This study uses the 2012 National Financial Capability Study and structural equation modeling methodology. The results suggest that (1) both internal and external information sources used by consumers are significantly associated with savings and credit-using behavior, and (2) seeking external financial advice from professionals mediates the relationship between consumers’ internal sources and financial management outcomes. The findings of this study provide practical implications for financial professionals when counseling and communicating with clients and challenge policymakers to develop pathways that can enhance the quality and accessibility of internal and external information sources for clients, including customized financial education programs and affordable professional financial services.