Alternatives to Financial Education

23 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2021 Last revised: 15 Jun 2021

Date Written: 2021


“Financial education” typically is used to refer to what might more accurately be called personal money management education. As conventionally conceived, it includes teaching information and skills directly related to saving, spending, investing, borrowing, insurance, remittances, and taxes, and planning or managing each of these. Many believe that this kind of financial education improves personal financial behavior and that this leads to increased financial well-being. But does financial education do this? Can it? Do we have any better alternatives for improving people’s financial lives?

The main points of the chapter are three-fold. First, financial education cannot produce financial well-being in the current marketplace. Second, alternative interventions have the potential to enhance individual capacity for, and reduce marketplace obstacles to, good financial outcomes. Third, even programs that arm individuals with optimized capacities and a marketplace that facilitates individually optimal actions will not be enough to ensure widespread financial well-being. That would require changes in our socioeconomic order that might require a different intervention—finance-informed citizenship education.

Keywords: financial education, citizenship education, financial well-being, brain health, executive function, social insurance, financial decisions

JEL Classification: A20, P46, O15, D14, D1, I26, I38, I14, G02

Suggested Citation

Willis, Lauren E., Alternatives to Financial Education (2021). Loyola Law School, Los Angeles Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2021-11, Available at SSRN:

Lauren E. Willis (Contact Author)

Loyola Law School Los Angeles ( email )

919 Albany Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015-1211
United States
213-736-1086 (Phone)
213-380-3769 (Fax)

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