Americans' Financial Capability
This paper examines Americans' financial capability, using data from a new survey. Financial capability is measured in terms of how well people make ends meet, plan ahead, choose and manage financial products, and possess the skills and knowledge to make financial decisions. The findings reported in this work paint a troubling picture of the state of financial capability in the United States. The majority of Americans do not plan for predictable events such as retirement or children's college education. Most importantly, people do not make provisions for unexpected events and emergencies, leaving themselves and the economy exposed to shocks. To understand financial capability, it is important to look not only at assets but also at debt and debt management, as an increasingly large portion of the population carry debt. In managing debt, Americans engage in behaviors that can generate large expenses, such as sizable interest payments and fees. Moreover, more than one in five Americans has used alternative (and often costly) borrowing methods (payday loans, advances on tax refunds, pawn shops, etc.) in the past five years. The most worrisome finding is that many people do not seem well informed and knowledgeable about their terms of borrowing; a sizeable group does not know the terms of their mortgages or the interest rates they pay on their loans. Finally, the majority of Americans lack basic numeracy and knowledge of fundamental economic principles such as the workings of inflation, risk diversification, and the relationship between asset prices and interest rates.
|Date of creation:||Jun 2011|
|Date of revision:|
|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.:
- Christelis, Dimitris & Jappelli, Tullio & Padula, Mario, 2006.
"Cognitive Abilities and Portfolio Choice,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
5735, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Christelis, Dimitris & Jappelli, Tullio & Padula, Mario, 2008. "Cognitive abilities and portfolio choice," CFS Working Paper Series 2008/35, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
- Dimitrios Christelis & Tullio Jappelli & Mario Padula, 2006. "Cognitive Abilities and Portfolio Choice," CSEF Working Papers 157, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
- Dimitris Christelis & Tullio Jappelli & Mario Padula, 2008. "Cognitive Abilities and Portfolio Choice," Working Papers 2008_19, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
- 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.
- van Rooij, Maarten & Lusardi, Annamaria & Alessie, Rob J. M., 2007. "Financial literacy and stock market participation," CFS Working Paper Series 2007/27, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
- Maarten van Rooij & Annamaria Lusardi & Rob Alessi, 2007. "Financial literacy and stock market participation," DNB Working Papers 146, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
- Maarten vanRooij & Annamaria Lusardi & Rob Alessie, 2007. "Financial Literacy and Stock Market Participation," Working Papers wp162, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
- Maarten van Rooij & Annamaria Lusardi & Rob Alessie, 2007. "Financial Literacy and Stock Market Participation," NBER Working Papers 13565, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Maarten van Rooij & Annamaria Lusardi & Rob Alessie, 2007. "Financial Literacy and Stock Market Participation," CeRP Working Papers 66, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
- M.C.J. van Rooij & A. Lusardi & R. Alessie, 2007. "Financial Literacy and Stock Market Participation," Working Papers 07-23, Utrecht School of Economics.
- Annamaria Lusardi & Pierre-Carl Michaud & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2011. "Optimal Financial Literacy and Saving for Retirement," Working Papers 905, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
- Victor Stango & Jonathan Zinman, 2009. "Exponential Growth Bias and Household Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(6), pages 2807-2849, December.
- John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2002. "Wealth Accumulation and the Propensity to Plan," NBER Working Papers 8920, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2003. "Wealth Accumulation and the Propensity to Plan," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1007-1047.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17103. 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.