Date of Conferral







John Tripps


Individuals are faced with making important economic decisions regarding retirement, savings, investing, and insurance. Across the globe, developed and emerging economies are experiencing growth in the sophistication of financial markets and products. Individuals require a greater degree of financial literacy to understand and explore these sophisticated and emerging financial markets and products. A review of literature revealed African Americans, however, lack the decision-making tools to function in the financial world. The purpose of this study was to assess the extent to which African Americans have financial knowledge. The sample size was 382 African Americans residing in Columbus, Ohio. The study was based on the planned behavior theory, self-determination theory, and transtheoretical theory, all of which emphasize autonomy and competency. Data were collected utilizing the Jump-$tart Coalition survey instrument for measuring financial knowledge. Survey questions focused on personal finance topics including income, money management, savings and investment, and spending and credit. Data were analyzed using t test and ANOVA. On average, participants demonstrated a lower knowledge level of personal finance. Results (M = 45%) were compared with the Jump-$tart Coalition national average (M = 48%). Results however, indicated that, formal financial education has a positive impact on knowledge of personal finance. There was significant knowledge difference (t = 12.921, p = .00) between participants who took courses in finance and economics and participants who did not. This study has positive social change implications in that it could lead to improvement in economic well-being of African Americans as well as the health of the nation's economy.