On the association of debt attitudes with socioeconomic characteristics and financial behaviors

This study investigates time trends in debt attitudes, the socioeconomic profiles of members in three debt attitudes groups, implications for borrowing, banking, and spending behaviors, and the relationship of debt attitudes with planned borrowing and saving behaviors. Based on a representative online survey data of the German population, gender, income, and educational attainment are found to distinguish a larger group of emergency debtors from two smaller, about equally-sized, groups of debt refusers and debt pragmatists. Debt refusers report less engagement in current borrowing, banking, and spending behaviors compared with emergency debtors and debt pragmatists. Results hold after controlling for psychological responses such as economic outlook, financial planning, and debt stress. Implications for attitude-focused interventions are discussed.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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