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Financial Security

Research-based Framework

What do we know about financial security in later life? A Research Review

What are the key factors that affect a person's financial security in later life? A review of existing research on financial security in later life suggests that there are multiple and complex factors that interact to influence financial security. One way to understand these factors is from a risk perspective, or identifying the factors that work together to increase the risk of being financially insecure (see Figure 1). This vantagepoint is important, but needs to be reframed to really be of help from a prevention or educational standpoint. Another way to understand the factors affecting financial security is from a protective factors perspective, focusing on what factors help strengthen and/or protect against the risk of being financial insecure. Figure 2 presents the protective factors using a systems framework to help understand the factors that are ideally in place at the micro level (individual and family) and macro-environmental (or outside the family) system levels. A systems perspective of protective factors is helpful when trying to understand which factors can be influenced and in what ways. This research-based framework provides a solid conceptual foundation on which needed educational programming can be built.

To Learn More:

A detailed review of literature was recently conducted to identify these protective factors. This review focused on identifying key sources of information for financial security research. An annotated bibliography is available in order to help provide additional insight into what is known regarding certain aspects of financial security. The bibliography was last updated November 2004 and it is representative of pertinent research done in the field of family economics. Research included has been conducted since 1995 and some entries appear under more than one category as they pertain to more than one of the identified topic areas.

The topic areas addressed include the following. For current research, select one of the categories below.

The research articles were found in various places:

  • Older Americans 2000 web site.
  • Employee Benefit Research Institute.
  • Journals including but not limited to:
    • The Gerontologist
    • Financial Counseling and Planning
    • Journal of Family and Economic Issues
    • Consumer Interests Annual
    • Journal of Consumer Affairs.
  • Urban Institute.
  • Brookings Institute.
  • Social Science Index.
  • AARP
    • Andrus Foundation
    • AARP Foundation
    • Financial Aspects of Aging Research (FAAR)
    • AARP Public Policy Institute.
  • Center for Policy Research.
  • Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.
  • US Census Bureau.
  • Administration on Aging.

Implications for Education: A Roadmap to Financial Security in Later Life

What is it that individuals and family members need to do to prepare for a financially secure future? The research-based framework discussed earlier provides a solid conceptual foundation on which to build needed educational resources. A review of the protective factors identified in the existing literature suggests that there are three key “stops” involved in achieving financial security in later life. Consumers who plan, act, and evaluate are more likely to achieve a financially secure later life (see Figure 3).

Community, Outreach, Quality Of Life

Specific tasks known to help protect financial security related to planning, acting, and evaluating are highlighted in Figure 4. Descriptions of why consumers indicate achieving financial security is important, and what motivates them to plan, act, and evaluate are also included in Figure 4.

A roadmap to Financial Security in Later Life curriculum has been developed. The primary objective of the curriculum will be to introduce consumers to the importance of achieving financial security for themselves and others and what critical stops they must make along that road. The curriculum includes a facilitator's guide, a PowerPoint presentation, participant handouts, and suggestions for marketing these materials to individuals.

Developed by Marlene Stum, Suzann Knight, Janet Bechman, Barbara Rowe, and Sommer Clarke, 2002.

Current research developed by Sharon DeVaney, Sookeun Byun, Jie Chen, Duleep Delpechitre,
Eduardo Esteva-Armida, Lynn Goetzinger, Sze-Wan Kwong, Jung-Kook Lee, Ya-Ping Lee, Sujin Oh,
Stacy Presley, Robert Scherer, Meifang Xiang, and Yuan Yang, 2004.


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