This dissertation explores how financial literacy, financial capability, financial self-efficacy, and future time perspective affect the likelihood of low-moderate income (LMI) households in Los Angeles County owning a home and holding a mortgage. It draws on existing literature on financial literacy, financial capability, financial self-efficacy, future time perspective, and homeownership to develop a theoretical framework that identifies the factors that influence LMI households’ access to homeownership. Using secondary data merged from six surveys conducted by the University of Southern California (USC) Understanding America Study (UAS) from 2015 to 2022, it analyzes the relationships among financial literacy, financial behaviors, financial attitudes, and mortgage holding among 2,098 participants. The findings revealed significant positive associations between holding a mortgage and financial literacy, income, age, Hispanic ethnicity, and specific levels of educational attainment. However, financial self-efficacy, financial capability, and future time perspective did not demonstrate significant moderating effects in the relationship between financial literacy and holding a mortgage. The dissertation concludes that enhancing financial literacy among LMI households is crucial for increasing their access to homeownership and suggests possible interventions and policies for doing so.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Financial literacy; Self-efficacy; Homeowners--Los Angeles (Calif.); Poor--Los Angeles (Calif.)

Date of Award


School Affiliation

George L. Graziadio School of Business and Management



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

David Smith