Miranda Reiter and a team of researchers works to apply solutions to diverse populations
Miranda Reiter, Ph.D., CFP®, is an assistant professor in the Texas Tech University School of Financial Planning. While pursuing a graduate certificate in financial therapy, she learned about the Klontz Money Script Inventory-Revised (KMSI-R), a scale measuring individuals' core money beliefs. The four beliefs are money avoidance, money worship, money status, and money vigilance. Studies show that one's money beliefs are unconscious and learned in childhood but are often responsible for our financial behaviors and outcomes as adults.
Reiter recently finished a research project titled An Examination of the KMSI-R: Relationship to Financial Literacy and Cross-Racial Validity. She was introduced to the KMSI-R assessment through a homework assignment, where she administered the assessment to family members. After viewing the results, she wondered if the KMSI assessment was as valid for assessing money beliefs among non-White consumers as it was for White consumers.
When she reviewed research papers in which the KMSI-R had been deemed valid, the samples were often 80-90% White and mostly college students. According to Reiter, if the research finding used to inform solutions are obtained from non-diverse respondents, applying those solutions to diverse populations may yield a different result.
“As such, those groups may not get the proper advice, assistance, treatment, or intervention even though the recommended solutions were backed by “objective” research,” Reiter said. “We must ensure we are being thoughtful about our samples and respondents, particularly when making implications that findings are generalizable to the greater population.”
Kimberly Watkins, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Georgia, informed Reiter that the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) had opened a call to receive letters of intent and encouraged her to apply. After viewing NEFE's funding priorities, Reiter saw that they were interested in projects related to measurement and underrepresented populations. She and a group of researchers then applied for the grant.
In addition to Watkins and Reiter, the research team includes Kenneth White, Ph.D., Megan McCoy, Ph.D., and Jesse Jurgenson, Ph.D. With support from the grant, partnering institutions, and colleagues, Reiter and her team provided a successful proposal aligned with the organization's mission, vision, core values, and funding priorities. Her team was awarded the grant and was able to continue their research.
“Support is critical to be successful in the grant process,” Reiter said. “This was especially true for me, given that it was my first time applying for a large grant as a first-year assistant professor. I received guidance from the Institutional Review Board, the College of Human Sciences Research Office, and many others during the process.”