Trigger Events and Financial Outcomes over the Lifespan

This research identifies demographic groups vulnerable to trigger events to inform efforts to improve financial education. Specifically, we examine the effects of trigger events on net worth throughout the life course. After reviewing relevant literature, we analyze two panel data sets to examine whether populations that may be identified as more financially literate are more resilient to negative shocks. In general, we find that educational attainment is a better predictor of resilience than intelligence and that effects vary across age groups and by type of shock. The findings provide an opportunity to target financial education where it is most needed.

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