Financial Knowledge and Financial Literacy at the Household Level
This paper uses data from the Health and Retirement Study to explore the mechanism that underlies the robust relation found in the literature between cognitive ability, and in particular numeracy, and wealth, income constant. We have a number of findings. First, the more valuable the pension, the more knowledgeable are covered workers about their pensions. We suggest that causality is more likely to run from pension wealth to pension knowledge, rather than the other way around. Second, most measures of cognitive ability, including numeracy, are not significant determinants of pension and Social Security knowledge. Third, standardizing for incomes and other factors, a pension of higher value does not substitute for other forms of wealth. Rather, counting pensions in total wealth, those with more valuable pensions save more for retirement, other things the same. Fourth, there is no evidence that wealth held outside of pensions is influenced by knowledge of pensions. In sum, numeracy does not influence wealth in whole or in part by affecting financial knowledge of one's pension plan, where financial knowledge of the pension then influences other decisions about retirement saving. These findings raise questions about the mechanism that underlies the relation between cognition, especially numeracy, and wealth. From a policy perspective, they suggest that the numeracy-wealth relation should not be taken as evidence that increasing financial literacy will increase the wealth of households as they enter into retirement.
|Date of creation:||Oct 2010|
|Publication status:||published as Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier & Nahid Tabatabai, 2012. "Financial Knowledge and Financial Literacy at the Household Level," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 309-13, May.|
|Note:||AG LS PE|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- John J. McArdle & James P. Smith & Robert Willis, 2011.
"Cognition and Economic Outcomes in the Health and Retirement Survey,"
in: Explorations in the Economics of Aging, pages 209-233
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- John J. McArdle & James P. Smith & Robert Willis, 2009. "Cognition and Economic Outcomes in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 15266, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- McArdle, John J. & Smith, James P. & Willis, Robert, 2009. "Cognition and Economic Outcomes in the Health and Retirement Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 4269, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Kristopher S. Gerardi & Lorenz Goette & Stephan Meier, 2010. "Financial literacy and subprime mortgage delinquency: evidence from a survey matched to administrative data," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2010-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
- Lusardi, Annamaria & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2006.
"Baby boomer retirement security: The roles of planning, financial literacy, and Housing wealth,"
CFS Working Paper Series
2006/20, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
- 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.
- Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2006. "Baby Boomer Retirement Security: The Roles of Planning, Financial Literacy, and Housing Wealth," Working Papers wp114, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
- Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2006. "Baby Boomer Retirement Security: The Roles of Planning, Financial Literacy, and Housing Wealth," CeRP Working Papers 54, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
- Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2006. "Baby Boomer Retirement Security: the Roles of Planning, Financial Literacy, and Housing Wealth," NBER Working Papers 12585, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- James Banks & Zoë Oldfield, 2006.
"Understanding pensions: cognitive function, numerical ability and retirement saving,"
IFS Working Papers
W06/05, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
- James Banks & Zoe Oldfield, 2007. "Understanding Pensions: Cognitive Function, Numerical Ability and Retirement Saving," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 28(2), pages 143-170, 06.
- Victor Stango & Jonathan Zinman, 2009. "Exponential Growth Bias and Household Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(6), pages 2807-2849, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16500. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.