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Financial Literacy and Financial Education: Review and Policy Implications

  • Annamaria Lusardi

In recent years, as workers have gained an unprecedented degree of control over their pensions and savings, the importance of financial literacy and financial education has increased considerably. Large changes in the structure of financial markets, labor markets, and demographics in developed countries have led to this change. Consumers have a bewildering array of complex financial products – from reverse mortgages to annuities – to choose from, making saving decisions increasingly complex. Knowledge about the working of compound interest rates, the effects of inflation, and the working of financial markets is essential to make saving decisions. Several initiatives have been undertaken to improve financial literacy. The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) comprehensively defines financial education as "the process by which financial consumers/investors improve their understanding of financial products and concepts and, through information, instruction and/or objective advice, develop the skills and confidence to become more aware of financial risks and opportunities, to make informed choices, to know where to go for help, and to take other effective actions to improve their financial well-being." Building upon this definition, I provide a review of the current state of financial literacy and financial education programs, and discuss whether workers possess the financial literacy necessary to process information and formulate saving plans.

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File URL: http://indstate.edu/business/NFI/leadership/briefs/2006-PB-11_Lusardi.pdf
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Paper provided by Indiana State University, Scott College of Business, Networks Financial Institute in its series NFI Policy Briefs with number 2006-PB-11.

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Length: 13 pages
Date of creation: May 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nfi:nfipbs:2006-pb-11
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  1. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1995. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-02, McMaster University.
  2. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "The Role of Information and Social Interactions in Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," NBER Working Papers 8885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Emmanuel Saez & Esther Duflo, 2003. "The role of information and social interactions in retirement plan decisions: Evidence from a randomized experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00141, The Field Experiments Website.
  4. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Garrett, Daniel M., 2003. "The effects of financial education in the workplace: evidence from a survey of households," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1487-1519, August.
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