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Financial Literacy: An Essential Tool for Informed Consumer Choice?

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  • Annamaria Lusardi
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    Abstract

    Increasingly, individuals are in charge of their own financial security and are confronted with ever more complex financial instruments. However, there is evidence that many individuals are not well-equipped to make sound saving decisions. This paper demonstrates widespread financial illiteracy among the U.S. population, particularly among specific demographic groups. Those with low education, women, African-Americans, and Hispanics display particularly low levels of literacy. Financial literacy impacts financial decision-making. Failure to plan for retirement, lack of participation in the stock market, and poor borrowing behavior can all be linked to ignorance of basic financial concepts. While financial education programs can result in improved saving behavior and financial decision-making, much can be done to improve these programs' effectiveness.

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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14084.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14084

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    1. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia Mitchell, 2006. "Financial Literacy and Retirement Preparedness: Evidence and Implications for Financial Education Programs," Working Papers wp144, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    2. Marianne A. Hilgert & Jeanne M. Hogarth & Sondra G. Beverly, 2003. "Household financial management: the connection between knowledge and behavior," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jul, pages 309-322.
    3. de Mel, Suresh & McKenzie, David & Woodruff, Christopher, 2008. "Who Are the Microenterprise Owners? Evidence from Sri Lanka on Tokman v. de Soto," IZA Discussion Papers 3511, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "The Role of Information and Social Interactions in Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," NBER Working Papers 8885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Annamarie Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2005. "Financial Literacy and Planning: Implications for Retirement Wellbeing," Working Papers wp108, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    6. Suresh de Mel & David McKenzie & Christopher Woodruff, 2010. "Who are the Microenterprise Owners? Evidence from Sri Lanka on Tokman versus De Soto," NBER Chapters, in: International Differences in Entrepreneurship, pages 63-87 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2008. "Planning and Financial Literacy: How Do Women Fare?," CeRP Working Papers 72, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
    8. Xavier Gabaix & John C. Driscoll & David Laibson & Sumit Agarwal, 2008. "The Age of Reason: Financial Decisions Over the Lifecycle," 2008 Meeting Papers 322, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Garrett, Daniel M., 2003. "The effects of financial education in the workplace: evidence from a survey of households," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1487-1519, August.
    10. John Y. Campbell, 2006. "Household Finance," NBER Working Papers 12149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. M.C.J. van Rooij & Annamaria Lusardi & R. Alessie, 2007. "Financial Literacy and Stock Market Participation," Working Papers 07-23, Utrecht School of Economics.
    12. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2005. "Reducing the Complexity Costs of 401(k) Participation Through Quick Enrollment(TM)," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000966, UCLA Department of Economics.
    13. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia Mitchell, 2007. "Financial Literacy and Retirement Planning: New Evidence from the Rand American Life Panel," Working Papers wp157, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    14. Esther Dufluo & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "The role of information and social interactions in retirement plan decisions: Evidence from a randomized experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00141, The Field Experiments Website.
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    Cited by:
    1. Giuseppe Cappelletti & Giovanni Guazzarotti & Pietro Tommasino, 2011. "What determines annuity demand at retirement?," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 805, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    2. Elsa Fornero & Annamaria Lusardi & Chiara Monticone, 2009. "Adequacy of Saving for Old Age in Europe," CeRP Working Papers 87, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
    3. Orlando Gomes & Alexandra Ferreira-Lopes & Tiago Neves Sequeira, 2012. "Exponential Discounting Bias," Working Papers Series 2 12-05, ISCTE-IUL, Business Research Unit (BRU-IUL).
    4. Crosetto, Paolo & Gaudeul, Alexia, 2012. "Do consumers prefer offers that are easy to compare? An experimental investigation," MPRA Paper 41462, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. John Gathergood, . "Self-Control, Financial Literacy and Consumer Over-Indebtedness," Discussion Papers 12/02, University of Nottingham, Centre for Finance, Credit and Macroeconomics (CFCM).
    6. John Gathergood & Joerg Weber, 2012. "Self-Control, Financial Literacy and Co-Holding Puzzle," Discussion Papers 2012-02, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    7. Wilko Bolt & David Humphrey, 2012. "A Frontier Measure of U.S. Banking Competition," DNB Working Papers 359, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    8. Binswanger, J. & Carman, K.G., 2010. "The Miracle of Compound Interest: Does our Intuition Fail?," Discussion Paper 2010-137, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    9. Webley, Paul & Nyhus, Ellen K., 2013. "Economic socialization, saving and assets in European young adults," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 19-30.
    10. Marieke Huysentruyt & Daniel Read, 2010. "How do people value extended warranties? Evidence from two field surveys," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 197-218, June.
    11. Scott Schuh & Joanna Stavins, 2008. "Summary of the workshop on Consumer Behavior and Payment Choice," Public Policy Discussion Paper 08-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    12. Jinhee Kim & Jaslean LaTaillade & Haejeong Kim, 2011. "Family Processes and Adolescents’ Financial Behaviors," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 32(4), pages 668-679, December.
    13. Bucher-Koenen, Tabea, 2011. "Financial Literacy, Riester Pensions, and Other Private Old Age Provision in Germany," MEA discussion paper series 11250, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    14. Oliver Williams & Stephen Satchell, 2011. "Social welfare issues of financial literacy and their implications for regulation," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 1-40, August.
    15. Singh, Ardhendu & Venkataramani, Bhama, 2012. "Financial Education: Institutes of Higher Education as delivery channels," MPRA Paper 43336, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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