Financial Literacy and Remittance Behavior of Skilled and Unskilled Immigrant Groups in Australia
The growing literature on financial literacy suggests people in many countries are poorly prepared for making major financial decisions. One important sub-population rarely examined by financial literacy studies is immigrants, who have specialized financial needs related to remittances. This paper examines variation in financial literacy amongst two actively remitting immigrant groups in Australia – Sri Lankans and Samoans – using surveys designed and supervised by the authors. Paying attention to remittance-related and credit-related literacy, large gaps in the level of financial literacy of the two groups are shown, which are due especially to differences in educational attainment. The wide variation in the transactions costs of various remittance channels available to these two groups suggest that many immigrants could save several hundred dollars per year if improved financial literacy helped to produce more efficient remittance choices.
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