Field Experiments on the Impacts of Financial Planning Interventions for Recent Homebuyers

Low and moderate-income households are less likely to plan for long term financial goals, including retirement, and are less likely to seek out assistance with long term financial planning.  Offering behavior-based financial planning interventions that leverage technology at teachable moments may prove to be an efficient and effective strategy to reach this vulnerable population.  Stephanie Moulton, Cazilia Loibl, J. Michael Collins, and Anya Savikhin conduct a randomized field experiment to explore this strategy during a teachable stage in the life-cycle: the purchase of a first home.

A sample of 600 homebuyers will be randomly assigned to varying combinations of interventions, including an online financial assessment tool, interactive financial planning modules, and telephone-based financial coaching.  Current results are based on 203 homebuyers who had participated in the study as of August 2011.  We describe the study sample and methodology, present preliminary findings, and discuss early implications.  Ongoing follow-up with homebuyers and outcome evaluation will be completed in subsequent years.