COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A new, free online financial self-assessment tool made available by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) is based on work done in part at Ohio State University.
The MyMoneyCheckUp tool, available at http://www.nfcc.org or http://www.MyMoneyCheckUp.org, is designed to provide an assessment of a consumer's overall financial health and behavior in four areas of personal finance: budgeting and credit management, saving and investing, planning for retirement, and managing home equity. In the first week it became available, more than 550 consumers made use of the tool, many of whom provided feedback saying the tool helped them identify potential areas of concern with their finances.
The tool was originally developed by researchers who are currently studying financial literacy interventions in a project funded by the Social Security Administration's Center for Financial Services. Cäzilia Loibl, an Ohio State University Extension specialist in family finances and associate professor in the College of Education and Human Ecology's Department of Consumer Sciences, is one of four researchers involved in the project. The principal investigator is Stephanie Moulton of Ohio State's John Glenn School of Public Affairs. Other researchers are J. Michael Collins of the University of Wisconsin and Anya Savikhin of the University of Chicago.
To use the tool, consumers input information about their income, savings and debts. The tool identifies potential areas to improve -- such as automating savings deposits, a method that previous research has shown to increase a person's savings -- and makes suggestions about where to find reliable information. The tool should take about 20 minutes to complete.
"The National Foundation for Credit Counseling has been a partner and sponsor in the field experiments we've been conducting," said Loibl, who also has an appointment with the university's Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). "The tool will continue to be refined, and people who are using it are providing constructive feedback as well as positive comments. We're excited the NFCC was able to share the tool widely with their member agencies and the general public -- it's quite a big deal."
OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach and research arms, respectively, of Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.