Financial Literacy: Implications for Retirement Security and the Financial Marketplace

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As financial markets grow ever more complex and integrated, households must make increasingly sophisticated and all-too-often irreversible economic decisions. This is particularly evident in retirement decision-making. Traditional defined benefit pension schemes are being replaced with defined contribution pensions; employer and government judgment regarding how much to save and where to invest has been replaced by employees having to make these choices on their own (sometimes assisted by advisers); and retirees have become responsible for managing their own pension assets. This volume explores how financial literacy can enhance peoples' ability to make informed economic choices. It proposes that financial literacy determines how well people make and execute saving, investing, borrowing, and planning decisions. It examines causality using controlled settings to disentangle whether financial literacy causes saving or vice versa, and demonstrates that financial education programs do indeed enhance financial decision-making and asset accumulation.