APLUS Wave 2: Changing Financial Behaviors of First Year College Students

In the Wave 2 round of APLUS, researchers again surveyed more than 1,500 students and drop-outs four years after they entered the University of Arizona in the fall of 2007. The findings show young adults begin to display three distinct financial identities that reflect varying degrees of parental influence and autonomy: Pathfinders, Followers and Drifters. The researchers link the most positive financial attitudes and behaviors to "Pathfinders," those who actively choose their own financial management style.

Also, parents, more than anything, exert the most influence over their children when it comes to developing positive financial attitudes and behaviors—1.5 times more than continuing financial education and more than twice as much as what children hear from their friends.

Researchers documented a "snowball effect" that showed that early efforts of financial education (in high school and again in college) exponentially increase the likelihood that students will pursue more financial education as time goes on, including informal learning through books, magazines and seminars.

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