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A Random Control Trial of Financial Coaching

Submitted by Natasha Pei on November 10, 2016 - 12:46pm

Authors: Haidee Cabusora, Karina Ron, Alexandra Hernandez and Josh Blankenbeckler

Publisher: The Financial Clinic and Branches, 2015


One critical reason why this Study was initiated is that although there is a perceived value to financial education and coaching, there was scarce empirical evidence indicating which strategies are effective. We wanted to fill that gap, understand better the populations we serve, and see which strategies were working and which were not.

We also believe that having empirical evidence about financial coaching strategies could have an impact that would be an incredible impetus to the growth of the field, and may generate interest from stakeholders (policymakers and funders) seeking to improve financial security outcomes.

Both organizations [The Financial Clinic and Branches] were at a point of financial coaching program maturity, with tested service models and stable quantifiable outcomes frameworks. We also had the supports necessary to sustain the rigors of enhanced data collection and deep staff commitment and capacity to initiate and implement a randomized controlled trial. But the process of undergoing this type of evaluation would teach us to be quicker at program management analysis and more flexible in creating solutions.

We anticipated that the results would inform a new set of financial coaching strategies and solutions that would allow us to embed these strategies into new sectors and populations, and inform how we could accomplish this work at scale with greater efficiencies.

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