Boettner Center for Pensions and Retirement Research
Working Paper

Financial Literacy among the Young: Evidence and Implications for Consumer Policy

Annamaria Lusardi, Olivia S. Mitchell, and Vilsa Curto
BWP2009-01

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Abstract

We examined financial literacy among the young using data from the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. We showed that financial literacy is low among the young; fewer than one-third of young adults possess basic knowledge of interest rates, inflation, and risk diversification. Financial literacy is strongly related to sociodemographic characteristics and family financial sophistication. Specifically, a college-educated male whose parents had stocks and retirement savings is about 50 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.