Financial Education Delivery


Savings Goals and Saving Behavior from a Perspective of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



psychological barriers, financial education, life event barriers, retirement


The purpose of this study was to examine associations between saving goals and saving behavior from a perspective of Maslow’s Hierarchy. Using 1998-2007 Surveys of Consumer Finance data, we analyzed responses given to an open-ended saving reason question, and categorized responses into six saving goals. The retirement/security goal was the most frequently mentioned, and the self-actualization goal was the least frequently mentioned. We tested two models to ascertain whether the order of response differed in the likelihood of saving, measured as whether households spent less than income. Model 1 tested the effects of whether particular goals were given as the first response to the open-ended question, and Model 2 tested the effects of whether particular goals were given as any response. In both analyses, self-actualization and retirement/security had the strongest associations with saving behavior.