Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Studies

First Advisor

Yvonne S. Gentzler


The purpose of this study was to investigate unsecured debt and the practice of saving early for retirement by recent female college graduates. An electronic survey was conducted to assess graduates from the calendar years 1994--2004. An over-sampling of Family and Consumer Sciences majors was conducted for comparison. The amount of debt, amount of retirement savings, attitudes toward retirement, and expectations toward retirement were investigated. The study was grounded in the Theory of Reasoned Action and the findings supported the theoretical construct;The study revealed lower than national average amounts of student loan debt and a slightly larger than national average credit card debt. Twenty-six percent of the respondents had neither credit card nor student loan debt, while 39% had no student loan debt and 47% had no credit card debt. Approximately half of respondents reported they were currently saving for retirement. The average retirement savings rate was 6%. A significant correlation was found between attitude toward retirement, the amount of retirement savings, and the amount of unsecured debt respondents reported. In addition a negative correlation existed between the age of expected retirement and the amount of retirement savings.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Pamela J. Bennett



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

162 pages