Financial Literacy and Behavioral Biases among Traditional Age College Students

Ohaness Paskelian, Kevin Jones, Stephen Bell, Robert Kao


Financial literacy and planning are crucial for everyone. This is especially true for college students who as the decisions they make in this stage of their lives can haunt them throughout their income earning years and beyond. In this paper, we examine several financial literacy issues facing college students. We identify college students’ perceptions about their own financial situation, assess student financial literacy knowledge, as well as evaluate their awareness about the status of their savings and retirement positions. 

We find that basic financial literacy is not the only factor in making sound financial decisions. Our results show the majority of the college students surveyed are financially literate and have the ability to make informed decisions about their personal finances in the short-run. While our respondents appear confident in making short-run financial decisions, their behavior tends to suggest that their confidence is somewhat misguided. In addition, a large number of the students surveyed feel they do not have the requisite knowledge to make wise retirement planning choices. Furthermore, several respondents report a distrust of retirement plans offer by private companies, which may lead to suboptimal retirement savings.

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Accounting and Finance Research
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