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College of Health and Human Sciences

For the third year: HanNa Lim earns outstanding research paper award from national organization

Thursday, November 19, 2020

HanNa Lim, assistant professor of personal financial planning, has continued her streak of claiming the Outstanding Research Symposium Award from the Association for Financial Counseling & Planned Education for the third year in a row.

This year, Lim and co-author Jodi Letkiewicz, associate professor at York University, received the top award for their paper “Consumer experience of mistreatment and fraud in financial services: Implications from integrative consumer vulnerability framework”.

Describing the paper, Lim said, “Previous literature used “disadvantaged consumer perspectives”, which means certain demographic characteristics (such as low income, less education, minority status, and old age) render a consumer disadvantaged. Our study used “integrative consumer vulnerability framework”, which combines class-based 'disadvantaged consumer perspectives' and state-based 'vulnerable consumer perspectives' together. We assumed everyone has the potential to be vulnerable depending on the situations where a person is powerless or not in control. This is very relevant with the current situations with COVID-19 pandemic. For example, increase in fraudulent unemployment claims. Not just disadvantaged consumers but everyone can be the victims. Using the data from National Financial Well-Being Survey (NFWBS), we found that the profiles of the victims of mistreatment and fraud are quite different from the typical profiles of disadvantaged consumers. Instead of low income, less education, minority status, and older age, situational factors such as recent experience of cognitive ability decline, material hardship, and negative life events were related with mistreatment experience in financial services. Furthermore, more educated and higher income individuals were more likely to experience financial fraud. Situational factors were also strongly related with financial fraud experience. The findings of this study offer valuable implications for consumer education and consumer policy. First, more individual and external factors need to be considered to identify vulnerable consumers. Like the victims of fraud in this study, those who have been considered as capable consumers can be vulnerable to other issues. This becomes more important considering the development of new financial services and adoption of technologies in them. Domain-specific consumer vulnerability approach needs to be taken to accurately identify vulnerable consumers in specific areas.   Second, both preventive and protective approaches are needed to increase consumer financial capability and reduce the cost of taking action to redress problems in the market. More oversight and scrutiny is required on the part of lawmakers to insure that financial products and services are not unnecessarily complex nor predatory and that consumers are not disadvantaged or mistreated in the financial services industry. More practical education to increase consumer financial skill and caution for non-traditional financial products, such as money transfers and virtual currencies, need to be delivered to consumers to prevent potential risks of becoming victims in the financial market.”

Lim joined the K-State faculty in 2017 and teaches both undergraduate and doctoral students. Her research interests include the relational aspects of financial behaviors, such as family financial socialization and marital bargaining, and the behavioral aspects of financial behaviors, such as loss aversion and self-efficacy.

The Association for Financial Counseling & Planned Education ensures the highest level of knowledge, skill and integrity of the personal finance profession by certifying, connecting and supporting diverse professionals who serve communities worldwide.

This article was posted on Thursday, November 19, 2020, and is filed under College News, Faculty Research, Personal Financial Planning.