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Awarding Financial Wellness Research

Four awardees representing three different Lundquist College departments earned special funding to continue and expand the study of financial literacy and wellness.

They are assistant professor of finance Maria Chaderina, associate professor of accounting and Scharpf-Knight Chair in Accounting Dane Christensen, assistant professor of management Alex Murray, and associate professor of finance and John B. Rogers Research Scholar Youchang Wu.

The awards were funded by a generous gift from Nancy Petrone and Dave Petrone ’66 (economics), MBA ’68 (finance) in support of financial wellness education at the University of Oregon. The Petrones are longtime backers of University of Oregon initiatives across campus.

Said Chaderina of her work, “We aim to quantify a link between financial literacy and academic outcomes, above and beyond a given level of indebtedness. The ultimate goal is to use this insight to devise an effective educational intervention through the Financial Wellness Center and tailor program offerings of the center to improve students’ academic outcomes.”

Senior associate dean for faculty and research and Gerry and Marilyn Cameron Professor of Finance Diane Del Guercio highlighted some of the areas each faculty member is studying that led to them earning the new award.

“Our faculty have significant research around innovative financial wellness or disruptive industries impacting personal finance,” said Del Guercio. Examples could include fin-tech, cryptocurrencies, and new tax laws.

  • Alex Murray (management) has several published and ongoing projects on disruptive industries impacting personal finance, such as crowdfunding for entrepreneurs.
  • Maria Chaderina (finance) is studying how the programs by UO’s Financial Wellness Center can best improve financial literacy and will measure the effects of these interventions on wellness and academic success.
  • Youchang Wu (finance) has research related to how individuals’ savings and retirement funds are affected by the type of pension plan their employer provides. He also has research on misconduct in the financial advice industry.
  • Dane Christensen (accounting) has research on ESG (environmental, social, and governance) ratings,which are relied on by providers of financial products catering to individuals interested in sustainable and socially responsible investment strategies.

The college and university identified financial literacy as a top priority and in 2021 established the Financial Wellness Center—a collaborative effort between the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships and the Lundquist College of Business.

Supporting this research not only advances the understanding of financial wellness theory around the world but also directly benefits UO students in practice.

Few colleges and universities offer student programs as robust as the Financial Wellness Center. Led by financial literacy expert Gilbert Rogers, the initiative goes beyond the usual static list of tips for managing money, instead providing an interactive experience with peer financial coaches, workshops, and access to faculty and alumni expertise in areas including tax planning and major life purchases such as vehicles.

—AnneMarie Knepper-Sjoblom ’05 Lundquist College Communications