Hyungsoo Kim
Associate Professor & Director of Graduate Studies

Professional Profile

My academic journey began in 1994 in Japan. After 7 years of graduate school in Japan, I was trained as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Housing and Consumer Economics at the University of Georgia for one and half years. In 2002, the University of Kentucky provided me a valuable opportunity to serve Kentuckians, as well as, students at UK. I was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2008. During my sabbatical leave in the fall semester of 2009, I stayed at Columbia University for developing non-cognitive and motivational research for retirement savings. I served as a member of Board of Directors (2010-2013) in the American Council on Consumer Interests. Now I have been supporting graduate students as Director of Graduate Studies since 2015.

I have been fascinated with research on how we can obtain financial security in our life time. One line of my research has focused on financial security and health problems in later years. I have extensively studied the effect of health on retirement savings from various perspectives: difference in race/ethnicity, older women and their poverty transition, comorbidity of chronic health problems, longitudinal effect, and financial security status of solvency, liquidity, and investment asset accumulation for retirement. I have also kept track of consequences of health problems and family/consumer debt. The other line of my research has been how to financially prepare for retirement with limited resources. This research has focused on two directions: cognitive intervention through improving health literacy and financial literacy, and non-cognitive intervention through improving self-regulatory skills/capabilities such as perseverance and motivation. I have been devoted to developing and refining conceptual underpinnings for intervention for retirement savings. Intervention focused field studies have been conducted for age 50+ population and ages 25-49 population to improve their individual and family saving’s behaviors at each life stage.

Currently projects to answer my burning research questions are underway: how to encourage people with different motivational modes ( e.g., “just do it “ person vs. “right thing to do” person ) to change their financial and health behaviors; whether inconsistent preference for choice (e.g., flip-flop ) leads to detrimental financial or savings’ outcomes; and how to measure and mitigate financial burden of cancer patients and their family.  

I have been fortunate to be surrounded by many passionate master’s and doctoral students. Their research interests are debt in young adults, cross-cultural differences in retirement planning, or extension program effect on personal financial and health literacy and so on, which are all imperative for family and consumers. Personal messages that I share with graduate students include having strong passion for their research topics, working hard, and having great communication. Intelligence has a normal distribution and is not the only factor for meaningful research outcomes and successful academic careers.

Course Instruction

FAM 251: Personal and Family Finance
FAM 402: Issues in Family Resources Management
FAM 661: Health and Financial Issues in Aging Family
FAM 668: Allocation of Family Resources


Financial Security in Life Stages of Individual and Family
Chronic Health Conditions and Financial Burdens
Health Events and Consumer Debts
Financial Literacy and Retirement Savings
Noncognitive Skills/Traits and Financial Outcomes
Self-regulation and Financial Behaviors


Ph.D., Agriculture & Natural Resource Economics, Kyoto University, 2000
M.S., Agriculture & Natural Resource Economics, Kyoto University, 1997
B.S., Food Science & Technology, Chungang University, 1983