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Financial Literacy and Financial Sophistication Among Older Americans

Author

Listed:
  • Annamaria Lusardi
  • Olivia S. Mitchell
  • Vilsa Curto

Abstract

This paper analyzes new data on financial literacy and financial sophistication from the 2008 Health and Retirement Study. We show that financial literacy is lacking among older individuals and for the first time explore additional questions on financial sophistication which proves even scarcer. For this sample of older respondents over the age of 55, we find that people lack even a rudimentary understanding of stock and bond prices, risk diversification, portfolio choice, and investment fees. In view of the fact that individuals are increasingly required to take on responsibility for their own retirement security, this lack of knowledge has serious implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell & Vilsa Curto, 2009. "Financial Literacy and Financial Sophistication Among Older Americans," NBER Working Papers 15469, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15469
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell & Vilsa Curto, 2009. "Financial Literacy among the Young: Evidence and Implications for Consumer Policy," NBER Working Papers 15352, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. van Rooij, Maarten & Lusardi, Annamaria & Alessie, Rob, 2011. "Financial literacy and stock market participation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(2), pages 449-472, August.
    3. David Bravo Urrutia & Olivia S. Mitchell & Petra Todd, 2007. "Learning from the Chilean Experience: The Determinants of Pension Switching," Working Papers wp266, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
    4. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2008. "Planning and Financial Literacy: How Do Women Fare?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 413-417, May.
    5. Lusardi, Annamaria & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2007. "Baby Boomer retirement security: The roles of planning, financial literacy, and housing wealth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 205-224, January.
    6. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S Mitchelli, 2007. "Financial Literacy and Retirement Preparedness: Evidence and Implications for Financial Education," Business Economics, Palgrave Macmillan;National Association for Business Economics, vol. 42(1), pages 35-44, January.
    7. Annamaria Lusardi, 2008. "Financial Literacy: An Essential Tool for Informed Consumer Choice?," NFI Working Papers 2008-WP-13, Indiana State University, Scott College of Business, Networks Financial Institute.
    8. John Y. Campbell, 2006. "Household Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(4), pages 1553-1604, August.
    9. Lusardi, Annamaria & Tufano, Peter, 2015. "Debt literacy, financial experiences, and overindebtedness," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(04), pages 332-368, October.
    10. French, Kenneth R & Poterba, James M, 1991. "Investor Diversification and International Equity Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 222-226, May.
    11. James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2010. "Why Does the Law of One Price Fail? An Experiment on Index Mutual Funds," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(4), pages 1405-1432, April.
    12. 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.
    13. Annamaria Lusardi, 2008. "Household Saving Behavior: The Role of Financial Literacy, Information, and Financial Education Programs," NBER Working Papers 13824, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2017. "How Ordinary Consumers Make Complex Economic Decisions: Financial Literacy and Retirement Readiness," Quarterly Journal of Finance (QJF), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 7(03), pages 1-31, September.
    15. repec:use:tkiwps:2323 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Guiso, Luigi & Sodini, Paolo, 2013. "Household Finance: An Emerging Field," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, Elsevier.
    2. Lusardi, Annamaria & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2011. "Financial literacy around the world: an overview," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(04), pages 497-508, October.
    3. Jonathan D. Ketcham & Claudio Lucarelli & Eugenio J. Miravete & M. Christopher Roebuck, 2012. "Sinking, Swimming, or Learning to Swim in Medicare Part D," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2639-2673, October.
    4. Joanne W. Hsu, 2011. "Aging and Strategic Learning: The Impact of Spousal Incentives on Financial Literacy," NFI Working Papers 2011-WP-06, Indiana State University, Scott College of Business, Networks Financial Institute.
    5. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2013. "Older Adult Debt and Financial Frailty," Working Papers wp291, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    6. Annamaria Lusardi, 2010. "Financial Capability in the United States: Consumer Decision-Making and the Role of Social Security," Working Papers wp226, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    7. Agarwal, Sumit & Amromin, Gene & Ben-David, Itzhak & Chomsisengphet, Souphala & Evanoff, Douglas D., 2015. "Financial literacy and financial planning: Evidence from India," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 4-21.
    8. Najat El Mekkaoui de Freitas & Berangere Legendre Lunven & Gordon Clark, 2013. "Individual Private Retirement Insurances: holding behaviours among pensioners," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(1), pages 812-827.
    9. repec:dau:papers:123456789/11143 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance

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