Editor: David Reiss
Brooklyn Law School

August 6, 2014

Testing The CFPB’s New Financial Literacy Tools

By David Reiss

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced the launch of its “new online toolkit called Your Money, Your Goals, a comprehensive guide to empowered financial decision-making that covers topics like budgeting daily expenses, managing debt, and avoiding financial tricks and traps.”  The toolkit addresses

  • Making spending decisions that help reach goals
  • Ordering and fixing credit reports
  • Avoiding tricks and traps in choosing financial products
  • Making decisions about repaying debts and taking on new debt
  • Keeping track of income and bills
  • Deciding whether to open a checking account and understanding what’s needed to open one

This sounds like a great initiative and it is central to the statutory mandate of the CFPB. The press release states that the toolkit has been “rigorously field tested.” It sounds from the press release that this means that it had a pilot program launch. But absent from the press release is any discussion of how the success of the program will be measured and why the field test was deemed a success.

I have been critical of the CFPB’s financial literacy agenda before because the scholarship about financial education does not demonstrate that it works all that well. I hope that the CFPB will release the metrics of success by which we should measure Your Money, Your Goals.

Merely providing education is insufficient. The CFPB must demonstrate that the education actually leads to better outcomes for those who receive it.


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