Department of the Treasury’s Office of Economic Policy
Areas of Research Interest: Public Finance, Social Insurance, Pensions, Savings, Disability, and Aging
Using data from nine waves of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), Jason Seligman and Maximilian Schmeiser examine whether existing measures of financial literacy are descriptive and/or predictive of successful household financial management, as well as resilience in the recent financial crisis. We find that once individual characteristics are carefully accounted for in our analysis, correct responses to many of the financial literacy questions in widespread use are not significant predictors of asset accumulation or resilience to financial shocks.
Following a survey of employees estimated to be one year from retirement Seligman analyzed responses to a twelve item financial literacy quiz relating scores to evidence of planning exercises, self-assessed proficiency with economics, education, wealth, IRA ownership and a battery of demographic controls. He find evidence of difficulty self-assessing understanding of economics and concepts related to financial literacy.
Date: April 19 and 20, 2010
Description: The CFS convened researchers, practitioners and policymakers to explore challenges and opportunities in consumers’ financial literacy and stability. The event, “Family Financial Security: Implications for Policy and Practice,” introduced some of the most recent and cutting-edge studies that bring new insights into economic behavior.