Financial literacy and retirement planning in Canada

In this paper, we draw on internationally comparable survey evidence on financial literacy and retirement planning in Canada to investigate how financially literate Canadians are and how financial literacy is linked to retirement planning. We find that 42% of respondents are able to correctly answer three simple questions measuring knowledge of interest compounding, inflation, and risk diversification. This is consistent with evidence from other countries, and Canadians perform relatively well in comparison with Americans but worse than individuals in other countries, such as Germany. Among Canadian respondents, the young and the old, women, minorities, and those with lower educational attainment do worse, a pattern that has been consistently found in other countries as well. Retirement planning is strongly associated with financial literacy; those who responded correctly to all three financial literacy questions are 10 percentage points more likely to have retirement savings.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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