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Financial Literacy and Retirement Planning in the United States

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  • Annamaria Lusardi
  • Olivia S. Mitchell

Abstract

We examine financial literacy in the United States using the new National Financial Capability Study, wherein we demonstrate that financial literacy is particularly low among the young, women, and the less-educated. Moreover, Hispanics and African-Americans score the least well on financial literacy concepts. Interestingly, all groups rate themselves as rather well-informed about financial matters, notwithstanding their actual performance on the key literacy questions. Finally, we show that people who score higher on the financial literacy questions are also much more likely to plan for retirement, which is likely to leave them better positioned for old-age. Our results will inform those seeking to target financial literacy programs to those in most need.

Suggested Citation

  • Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2011. "Financial Literacy and Retirement Planning in the United States," NBER Working Papers 17108, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17108 Note: AG
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sumit Agarwal & John C. Driscoll & Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2007. "The Age of Reason: Financial Decisions Over the Lifecycle," NBER Working Papers 13191, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Adele Atkinson & Stephen McKay & Sharon Collard & Elaine Kempson, 2007. "Levels of Financial Capability in the UK," Public Money & Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(1), pages 29-36, February.
    5. Jere R. Behrman & Olivia S. Mitchell & Cindy Soo & David Bravo, 2010. "Financial Literacy, Schooling, and Wealth Accumulation," NBER Working Papers 16452, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Christelis, Dimitris & Jappelli, Tullio & Padula, Mario, 2010. "Cognitive abilities and portfolio choice," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 18-38, January.
    7. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2002. "Wealth Accumulation and the Propensity to Plan," NBER Working Papers 8920, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Annamaria Lusardi & Pierre-Carl Michaud & Olivia Mitchell, 2011. "Optimal Financial Literacy and Saving for Retirement," Working Papers WR-905-SSA, RAND Corporation.
    2. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2014. "The Economic Importance of Financial Literacy: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 52(1), pages 5-44, March.
    3. Corsini, Lorenzo & Spataro, Luca, 2011. "Optimal decisions on pension plans in the presence of financial literacy costs and income inequalities," MPRA Paper 30946, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell & Vilsa Curto, 2012. "Financial Sophistication in the Older Population," NBER Working Papers 17863, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. M. Fort & F. Manaresi & S. Trucchi, 2012. "Banks Information Policies, Financial Literacy and Household Wealth," Working Papers wp852, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    6. Dick, Christian D. & Jaroszek, Lena M., 2013. "Knowing what not to do: Financial literacy and consumer credit choices," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-027, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    7. Leonardo Bursztyn & Florian Ederer & Bruno Ferman & Noam Yuchtman, 2012. "Understanding Peer Effects in Financial Decisions: Evidence from a Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 18241, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Christopher B. Bumcrot & Judy Lin & Annamaria Lusardi, 2011. "The Geography of Financial Literacy," Working Papers WR-893-SSA, RAND Corporation.
    9. Annamaria Lusardi, 2011. "Americans' Financial Capability," NBER Working Papers 17103, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Olivia S. Mitchell & Stephen Utkus, 2012. "Target-Date Funds in 401(k) Retirement Plans," NBER Working Papers 17911, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Carvalho, Carlos & Nechio, Fernanda, 2014. "Do people understand monetary policy?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, pages 108-123.
    12. Martin Brown & Matthias Hoffmann, 2016. "Relationship Banking in the Residential Mortgage Market? Evidence from Switzerland," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 152(I), pages 23-48, March.
    13. Alexander Klos, 2013. "Myopic loss aversion: Potential causes of replication failures," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 8(5), pages 617-629, September.
    14. Klapper, Leora & Lusardi, Annamaria & Panos, Georgios A., 2013. "Financial literacy and its consequences: Evidence from Russia during the financial crisis," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 3904-3923.
    15. Annamaria Lusardi & Carlo de Bassa Scheresberg, 2013. "Financial Literacy and High-Cost Borrowing in the United States," NBER Working Papers 18969, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Robin L. Lumsdaine & Rogier J.D. Potter van Loon, 2013. "Wall Street vs. Main Street: An Evaluation of Probabilities," NBER Working Papers 19103, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Julie Agnew & Joshua Hurwitz, 2013. "Financial Education and Choice in State Public Pension Systems," NBER Working Papers 18907, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Robert L. Clark & Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2014. "Financial Knowledge and 401(k) Investment Performance," NBER Working Papers 20137, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Annamaria Lusardi, 2012. "Numeracy, financial literacy, and financial decision-making," NBER Working Papers 17821, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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