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Socio-Economics

Financially fallible folk: Are they really that different and what does behavioural economics tell us about their problems with money?

Jeroen nieboer

Nationality Dutch

Year of selection 2013

Institution London School of Economics and Political Science

Country United Kingdom

Risk Socio-Economics

Post-Doctoral Fellowship

2 years

120000 €

In Money Matters, We’re Only Human

Did you know that when people are shown a digitally aged picture of themselves they are more likely to save money for the future? It doesn’t sound rational, does it? But, then, our financial choices are just like any other behavior: influenced by our emotions and other aspects of our psychology. For Dr. Jeroen Nieboer, it is crucial to understand this point when designing financial education programs. And, given that a recent survey in the UK showed over half the population struggling to keep up with the bills, this information could impact many lives.
Dr. Nieboer conducted a systematic study of the many financial education opportunities available. He found that the few successful in helping people change their behavior had something in common: they took into account our human psychology. Specifically, he has identified three factors key to successful financial education. It should be timely, coming around a major life event, perhaps, like having a baby or losing one’s job, when the recipient will be most receptive. It needs to be relevant: Does this person truly need investment advice or, rather, to save money on the shopping? Finally, financial guidance needs to be very specific, helping turn good intentions directly into concrete actions. Jeroen Nieboer’s research involves working with people to track their finances over time, but his goal is bigger than that. Better control over our own financial situation promises to reduce stress, help us become better members of our family and community, and lead to increased wellbeing, overall.

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