Research provides the foundation of the Institute’s activities. To support and enhance its outreach programs the Institute works with scholars from the UA and other research universities, drawing from a wide variety of academic disciplines including behavioral finance and economics, psychology, sociology, consumer sciences and family studies. This interdisciplinary approach is expanding the research agenda to generate insights regarding consumer financial decisions. These insights guide the development of the Institute’s financial education workshops, curriculum and delivery methods. In addition, the Institute’s research agenda includes studies of the impact of existing financial education programs across the country to measure program effectiveness, including measures of subsequent change in behavior.

Take Charge America Institute Research Projects 2021-2022



The Bridges Financial Management Class: Piloting a promising program in Southern Arizona

The Bridges Financial Management Class (BFMC) is a promising financial education program with coaching components. It adapts FDIC’s Money Smart curriculum to better address issues faced by adults in poverty. Created in South Bend, BFMC educates participants on topics including credit, spending plans, banking, and financial predators. It aims to increase participants’ financial knowledge, commitment to practicing what they’ve learned, and confidence in navigating financial systems. This project will work with Interfaith Community Services (ICS) to evaluate the pilot of BFMC in Southern Arizona, documenting participants’ experiences, changes in financial behaviors, and suggestions for adjusting the program to best serve the population here.




PI: Madeleine deBlois Co-I: Kara Haberstock Tanoue


Factors Associated with Student Loan Indebtedness in Retirement


The student-loan debt has reached $1.5 trillion, with about $250 million owed by retired households. Existing research shows that having student-loan debt in retirement is associated negatively with life satisfaction, suggesting that student debt is a bane of retiree well-being. The rationale for this study is to find out the factors that are associated with people’s decision to carry student debt into retirement, given the adverse effects on their well-being using a secondary data analysis of a nationally representative sample of retired Americans aged 65 years and older (N~ 8,000). The research outcome will assist financial planners and educators identify practical ways to shape decisions regarding student-loan debt holdings in retirement.




PI : Thomas Korankye, Ph.D., CFP® Co-PI: Melissa Curran, Ph.D.