Financial literacy

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Financial literacy is the possession of the set of skills and knowledge that allows an individual to make informed and effective decisions with all of their financial resources. Raising interest in personal finance is now a focus of state-run programs in countries including Australia, Canada, Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom. [1] [2] Understanding basic financial concepts allows people to know how to navigate in the financial system. People with appropriate financial literacy training make better financial decisions and manage money better than those without such training. [3]

Contents

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) started an inter-governmental project in 2003 with the objective of providing ways to improve financial education and literacy standards through the development of common financial literacy principles. In March 2008, the OECD launched the International Gateway for Financial Education, which aims to serve as a clearinghouse for financial education programs, information and research worldwide. [4] In the UK, the alternative term "financial capability" is used by the state and its agencies: the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in the UK started a national strategy on financial capability in 2003. The US government established its Financial Literacy and Education Commission in 2003. [5]

International findings

An international OECD study was published in late 2005 analysing financial literacy surveys in OECD countries. A selection of findings [6] included:

"Yet it is encouraging that the few financial education programmes which have been evaluated have been found to be reasonably effective. Research in the US shows that workers increase their participation in 401(k) plans (a type of retirement plan, with special tax advantages, which allows employees to save and invest for their own retirement) when employers offer financial education programmes, whether in the form of brochures or seminars." [6] [7]

However, academic analyses of financial education have found no evidence of measurable success at improving participants' financial well-being. [8] [9]

According to 2014 Asian Development Bank survey, more Mongolians have expanded their financial options, and for instance now compare the interest rates of loans and savings services through the successful launch of the TV drama with focus on the fiscal literacy of poor and non-poor vulnerable households. [10] Given that 80% of Mongolians cited TV as their main source of information, TV serial dramas were identified as the most effective vehicle for messages on financial literacy. [10]

Asia–Pacific, Middle East, and Africa

A survey of women consumers across Asia Pacific Middle East Africa (APMEA) comprises basic money management, financial planning and investment. The top ten of APMEA Women MasterCard's Financial Literacy Index are Thailand 73.9, New Zealand 71.3, Australia 70.2, Vietnam 70.1, Singapore 69.4, Taiwan 68.7, Philippines 68.2, Hong Kong 68.0, Indonesia 66.5 and Malaysia 66.0. [11]

Australia

The Australian Government established a National Consumer and Financial Literacy Taskforce in 2004, which recommended the establishment of the Financial Literacy Foundation in 2005. In 2008, the functions of the Foundation were transferred to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). The Australian Government also runs a range of programs (such as Money Management) to improve the financial literacy of its Indigenous population, particularly those living in remote communities.

In 2011 ASIC released a National Financial Literacy Strategy — informed by an earlier ASIC research report 'Financial Literacy and Behavioural Change' — to enhance the financial wellbeing of all Australians by improving financial literacy levels. The strategy has four pillars: [12]

  1. Education
  2. Trusted and independent information, tools and support
  3. Additional solutions to drive improved financial wellbeing and behavioural change
  4. Partnerships with the sectors involved with financial literacy, measuring its impact and promoting best practice

ASIC's MoneySmart website was one of the key initiatives in the government's strategy. It replaced the FIDO and Understanding Money websites.

ASIC also has a MoneySmart Teaching website [13] for teachers and educators. It provides professional learning and other resources to help educators integrate consumer and financial literacy into teaching and learning programs.

The Know Risk Network of web and phone apps, newsletters, videos and website [14] was developed by insurance membership body ANZIIF to educate consumers on insurance and risk management.

India

National Centre for Financial Education (NCFE), a non-profit company, was created under section 8 of companies act 2013, to promote financial literacy in India. [15] It is promoted by four major financial regulators Reserve Bank of India, SEBI, IRDA and PFRDA. [16]

NCFE conducted a benchmark survey of financial literacy in 2015 to find the level of financial awareness in India. [17] It organises various programs to improve the financial literacy including collaborating with schools and developing new curriculum to include financial management concepts. [18] It also conducts a yearly financial literacy test. [15] The list of topics covered by NCFE in its awareness programs includes investments, types of bank accounts, services offered by banks, Aadhaar card, demat account, pan cards, power of compounding, digital payments, protection against financial frauds etc. [18]

Saudi Arabia

A nationwide survey was conducted by SEDCO Holding in Saudi Arabia in 2012 to understand the level of financial literacy in the youth. [19] The survey involved a thousand young Saudi nationals, and the results showed that only 11 percent kept track of their spending, although 75 percent thought they understood the basics of money management. An in-depth analysis of SEDCO's survey revealed that 45 percent of youngsters did not save any money at all, while only 20 percent saved 10 percent of their monthly income. In terms of spending habits, the study indicated that items such as mobile phones and travel accounted for nearly 80 percent of purchases. Regarding financing their lifestyle, 46 percent of youth relied on their parents to fund big ticket items. 90 percent of the respondents stated that they were interested in increasing their financial knowledge.

Singapore

In Singapore, the National Institute of Education Singapore established the inaugural Financial Literacy Hub for Teachers [20] in 2007 to empower school teachers to infuse financial literacy into core curriculum subjects to embed pedagogically sound activities to engage students in learning. Such day-today relevant and authentic illustrations enhance the experiential learning to build financial capability in youth. Integral to evidence-based practices in schools, research on financial literacy is spearheaded by the Hub, which has published numerous impact studies on the effectiveness of financial literacy programs and on the perceptions and attitudes of teachers and students.

The Singapore government through the Monetary Authority of Singapore funded the setting up of the Institute for Financial Literacy [21] in July 2012. The institute is managed jointly by MoneySENSE [22] (a national financial education programme) and the Singapore Polytechnic. [23] This Institute aims to build core financial capabilities across a broad spectrum of the Singapore population by providing free and unbiased financial education programmes to working adults and their families. From July 2012 to May 2017, the Institute reached out to more than 110,000 people in Singapore via workshops and talks.

Europe

Belgium

The FSMA is tasked with contributing to better financial literacy of savers and investors that will enable individual savers, insured persons, shareholders and investors in Belgium to be in a better position in their relationships with their financial institutions. As a result, they will be less likely to purchase products that are not suited to their profile. [24]

Switzerland

A study measured financial literacy among 1500 households in German-speaking Switzerland. [25] Testing the three concepts compound interest, inflation, and risk diversification, results show that the level of financial literacy in Switzerland is high compared to results for other European countries or the US population. Results of the study further show that higher financial literacy is correlated with financial market participation and mortgage borrowing. A related study among 15-years old students in the Canton of Fribourg shows substantial differences in the level of financial literacy between French- and German speaking students. [26]

The Swiss National Bank aims at improving financial literacy through its initiative iconomix that targets upper secondary school students. [27] The new public school curriculum will cover financial literacy in public schools.

United Kingdom

The UK has a dedicated body to promote financial capability—the Money Advice Service.

The Financial Services Act 2010 included a provision for the FSA to establish the Consumer Financial Education Body, known as CFEB. From April 26, 2010, CFEB continued the work of the FSA's Financial Capability Division independently of the FSA, and on April 4, 2011, was rebranded as the Money Advice Service.

The strategy previously involved the FSA spending about £10 million a year [28] across a seven-point plan. The priority areas were:

A baseline survey [28] conducted 5,300 interviews across the UK in 2005. The report identified four themes:

"In short, unless steps are taken to improve levels of financial capability, we are storing up trouble for the future." [28]

There are also numerous charities in the United Kingdom working to improve financial literacy such as MyBnk, Citizens Advice Bureau and the Personal Finance Education Group.

Financial literacy within the UK's armed forces is provided through the MoneyForce program, run by the Royal British Legion in association with the Ministry of Defence and the Money Advice Service. [29]

Americas

Canada

In 2006, Canadian securities regulators commissioned two national investor surveys [30] [31] to gauge people's knowledge and experience with investments and fraud. The results from both studies demonstrated there is a need better to educate and inform investors about capital markets and investment fraud. Education in this area is particularly important as investors take on more risk and responsibility of managing their retirement savings, and a large baby boomer population enters the retirement years across North America.

In 2005, the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) funded the Eron Mortgage Study. [32] It was the first systematic study of a single investment fraud, focusing on more than 2,200 Eron Mortgage investors. Among other things, the report identified that investors approaching retirement without adequate resources and affluent middle-aged men were vulnerable to investment fraud. The report suggests investor education will become even more important as the baby boomer generation enters retirement.

In Canada, Financial Literacy Month takes place during the month of November to encourage Canadians to take control of their financial well-being and invest into their financial futures by learning about topics of personal finance. Canada has also established a government entity to "promotes financial education and raises consumers' awareness of their rights and responsibilities". [33] The agency also "ensures federally regulated financial entities comply with consumer protection measures. [33]

United States

In the US, a national nonprofit organization, the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, is a collection of corporate, academic, non-profit and government organizations that work for financial education since 1995.

The United States Department of the Treasury established its Office of Financial Education in 2002; and the US Congress established the Financial Literacy and Education Commission under the Financial Literacy and Education Improvement Act in 2003. The Commission published its National Strategy on Financial Literacy [1] in 2006. [34]

While many organizations have supported the financial literacy movement, they may differ on their definitions of financial literacy. In a report by the President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, the authors called for a consistent definition of financial literacy by which financial literacy education programs can be judged. They defined financial literacy as "the ability to use knowledge and skills to manage financial resources effectively for a lifetime of financial well-being." [35]

The Council for Economic Education (CEE) conducted a 2009 Survey of the States and found that 44 states currently have K-12 personal finance education or guidelines in place. [36] However, "only 17 states require high school students to take a course in personal finance." [37]

The Center For Financial Literacy at Champlain College conducts a biannual survey of statewide high school financial literacy requirements across the nation. The 2017 survey found that Utah had the highest state requirement in the nation, while in Alaska, Delaware, Washington, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Rhode Island and South Dakota, students are entirely dependent on the initiative of their local school board. [38]

In July 2010, the United States Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act), which created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB has been tasked, among other mandates, with promoting financial education through its Consumer Engagement & Education group. [39]

Brazil

Between 2018 and 2019, a lot of surveys were performed for a myriad of players in the Brazilian financial market. Among them, B3 (stock exchange), ANBIMA, CVM e Ilumeo Institute. [40] After that, Brazil defined a lot of action plans, called National Strategy about Financial Education (ENEF). [41]

Academic research

Accounting literacy

The 1999 Blue Ribbon Committee on Improving the Effectiveness of Corporate Audit Committees recommended that publicly traded companies have at least three members with "a certain basic 'financial literacy'. Such 'literacy' signifies the ability to read and understand fundamental financial statements, including a company's balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement." [42]

Academic researchers have explored the relationship between financial literacy and accounting literacy. In this context Roman L. Weil defines financial literacy as "the ability to understand the important accounting judgments management makes, why management makes them, and how management can use those judgments to manipulate financial statements". [43]

Critical financial literacy

Some financial literacy researchers have raised questions about the political character of financial literacy education, arguing that it justifies the shifting of greater financial risk (e.g. tuition fees, pensions, health care costs, etc.) to individuals from corporations and governments. Many of these researchers argue for a financial literacy education that is more critically oriented and broader in focus: an education that helps individuals better understand systemic injustice and social exclusion, rather than one which understands financial failure as an individual problem and the character of financial risk as apolitical. Many of these researchers work within social justice, critical pedagogy, feminist and critical race theory paradigms. [44] [45] [46] [47] [48] [49]

See also

Related Research Articles

Finance Academic discipline studying businesses and investments

Finance is a term for matters regarding the management, creation, and study of money and investments. Specifically, it deals with the questions of how and why an individual, company or government acquires the money needed – called capital in the company context – and how they spend or invest that money. Finance is then often split into the following major categories: corporate finance, personal finance and public finance.

Consumer education is the preparation of an individual to be capable of making informed decisions when it comes to purchasing products in a consumer culture. It generally covers various consumer goods and services, prices, what the consumer can expect, standard trade practices, etc. While consumer education can help consumers to make more informed decisions, some researchers have found that its effects can drop off over time, suggesting the need for continual education. New dimensions of consumer education are also beginning to emerge as people become more aware of the need for ethical consumerism and sustainable consumer behaviour in our increasingly globalized society.

An investor is a person that allocates capital with the expectation of a future financial return (profit) or to gain an advantage (interest). Through this allocated capital most of the time the investor purchases some species of property. Types of investments include equity, debt securities, real estate, infrastructure,currency, commodity, token, derivatives such as put and call options, futures, forwards, etc. This definition makes no distinction between the investors in the primary and secondary markets. That is, someone who provides a business with capital and someone who buys a stock are both investors. An investor who owns a stock is a shareholder.

Personal finance

Personal finance is the financial management which an individual or a family unit performs to budget, save, and spend monetary resources over time, taking into account various financial risks and future life events.

The London Institute of Banking & Finance

The London Institute of Banking & Finance is the oldest training and professional body for banking and financial services in England and Wales, and works internationally with partners to establish high ethical and professional standards across the sector around the world. In 2019, the Institute celebrated its 140th anniversary with a series of events and the publication of Banking on Change. It also hosted the 23rd World Conference of Banking Institutes.

Economic forecasting is the process of making predictions about the economy. Forecasts can be carried out at a high level of aggregation—for example for GDP, inflation, unemployment or the fiscal deficit—or at a more disaggregated level, for specific sectors of the economy or even specific firms.Economic forecasting is a measure to find out the future prosperity of a pattern of investment and is the key activity in economic analysis.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is an independent commission of the Australian Government tasked as the national corporate regulator. ASIC's role is to regulate company and financial services and enforce laws to protect Australian consumers, investors and creditors. ASIC was established on 1 July 1998 following recommendations from the Wallis Inquiry. ASIC's authority and scope are determined by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001.

Momentum investing is a system of buying stocks or other securities that have had high returns over the past three to twelve months, and selling those that have had poor returns over the same period.

International business refers to the trade of goods, services, technology, capital and/or knowledge across national borders and at a global or transnational scale.

Dollar cost averaging (DCA) is an investment strategy that aims to reduce the impact of volatility on large purchases of financial assets such as equities. Dollar cost averaging is also called the constant dollar plan, pound-cost averaging, and, irrespective of currency, unit cost averaging, incremental trading, or the cost average effect.

Korea Development Institute South Korean government policy research organisation

Early in its development, South Korea lacked home-grown research and policy expertise needed to support the country's economic development. To address this, the Korea Development Institute (KDI) was established in 1971 to conduct policy research and analysis on fundamental economic and social issues using scientific methods to support the nation's development efforts. It was the first of its kind in the republic's young history.

Socially responsible investing Any investment strategy which seeks to consider both financial return and social/environmental good to bring about social change regarded as positive by proponents

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Retirement spend-down

At retirement, individuals stop working and no longer get employment earnings, and enter a phase of their lives, where they rely on the assets they have accumulated, to supply money for their spending needs for the rest of their lives. Retirement spend-down, or withdrawal rate, is the strategy a retiree follows to spend, decumulate or withdraw assets during retirement.

Offshore financial centre Corporate-focused tax havens

An Offshore Financial Centre or OFC is defined as a country or jurisdiction that provides financial services to nonresidents on a scale that is incommensurate with the size and the financing of its domestic economy.

Moneysmart is a project of the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) that comprises a website, publications and education programs. It provides information and tools to help people make financial decisions. Its tagline is "Simple guidance you can trust".

Annamaria Lusardi Italian economist

Annamaria Lusardi is an Italian-born economist and the Denit Trust Distinguished Scholar and Professor of Economics and Accountancy at The George Washington University School of Business, where she also serves as the Academic Director of the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center. Her interests focus on financial literacy and financial education.

Financial social work is an interactive and introspective, multidisciplinary approach that helps individuals explore and address their unconscious feelings, thoughts and attitudes about money. This self-examination process enables people to improve their relationship with their money and thus establish healthier money habits that lead to improved financial circumstances.

Financial Quotient (FQ), sometimes also referred as financial intelligence (FI), financial intelligence quotient (FiQ) or financial IQ, is the ability to obtain and manage one's wealth by understanding how money works. Like emotional quotient (EQ), FQ derived its name from IQ.

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Further reading