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Financial literacy among the young: Evidence and implications for consumer policy

  • Lusardi, Annamaria
  • Mitchell, Olivia S.
  • Curto, Vilsa

We examined financial literacy among the young using the most recent wave of the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. We showed that financial literacy is low; fewer than one-third of young adults possess basic knowledge of interest rates, inflation, and risk diversification. Financial literacy was strongly related to sociodemographic characteristics and family financial sophistication. Specifically, a college-educated male whose parents had stocks and retirement savings was about 45 percentage points more likely to know about risk diversification than a female with less than a high school education whose parents were not wealthy. These findings have implications for consumer policy.

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Paper provided by Center for Financial Studies (CFS) in its series CFS Working Paper Series with number 2010/09.

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Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfswop:201009
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  1. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
  2. Justine S. Hastings & Lydia Tejeda-Ashton, 2008. "Financial Literacy, Information, and Demand Elasticity: Survey and Experimental Evidence from Mexico," NBER Working Papers 14538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Lusardi, Annamaria & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2007. "Financial literacy and retirement preparedness: Evidence and implications for financial education programs," CFS Working Paper Series 2007/15, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  4. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2009. "How Ordinary Consumers Make Complex Economic Decisions: Financial Literacy and Retirement Readiness," NBER Working Papers 15350, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. James Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte Madrian, 2006. "Reducing the Complexity Costs of 401(k) Participation Through Quick Enrollment(TM)," NBER Working Papers 11979, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S Mitchelli, 2007. "Financial Literacy and Retirement Preparedness: Evidence and Implications for Financial Education," Business Economics, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 42(1), pages 35-44, January.
  8. Lusardi, Annamaria & Tufano, Peter, 2009. "Debt literacy, financial experiences, and overindebtedness," CFS Working Paper Series 2009/08, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  9. 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).
  10. 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.
  11. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2008. "Planning and Financial Literacy: How Do Women Fare?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 413-17, May.
  12. Annamaria Lusardi & Ricardo Cossa & Erin L. Krupka, 2000. "Savings of young parents," Working Paper Series WP-00-23, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  13. Sumit Agarwal & John C. Driscoll & Xavier Gabaix & David I. Laibson, 2007. "The age of reason: financial decisions over the lifecycle," Working Paper Series WP-07-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  14. Harrison Hong & Jeffrey D. Kubik & Jeremy C. Stein, 2001. "Social Interaction and Stock-Market Participation," NBER Working Papers 8358, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Annamarie Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2005. "Financial Literacy and Planning: Implications for Retirement Wellbeing," Working Papers wp108, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  16. Mitchell, Olivia S. & Utkus, Stephen P. (ed.), 2004. "Pension Design and Structure: New Lessons from Behavioral Finance," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199273393, July.
  17. Geng Li, 2009. "Information sharing and stock market participation: evidence from extended families," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-47, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  18. Daniel J. Benjamin & Sebastian A. Brown & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Who is “Behavioral”? Cognitive Ability and Anomalous Preferences," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001334, David K. Levine.
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  20. Jeffrey R. Brown & Zoran Ivkovic & Paul A. Smith & Scott Weisbenner, 2008. "Neighbors Matter: Causal Community Effects and Stock Market Participation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(3), pages 1509-1531, 06.
  21. Stephan Meier & Charles Sprenger, 2007. "Selection into financial literacy programs: evidence from a field study," Public Policy Discussion Paper 07-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  22. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "The Role of Information and Social Interactions in Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 815-842.
  23. 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.
  24. Frank P. Stafford & Ngina S. Chiteji, 1999. "Portfolio Choices of Parents and Their Children as Young Adults: Asset Accumulation by African-American Families," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 377-380, May.
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