How Ordinary Consumers Make Complex Economic Decisions: Financial Literacy and Retirement Readiness

by Annamaria Lusardi and Olivia Mitchell; CeRP WP N. 90/09



This paper reports on several self-assessed and objective measures of financial literacy newly added to the American Life Panel (ALP), and it links these performance measures to efforts consumers make to plan for retirement. We evaluate the causal relationship between financial literacy and retirement planning by exploiting information about respondents’ financial knowledge acquired in school – before entering the labor market and certainly before starting to plan for retirement. Results show that those with more advanced financial knowledge are those more likely to be retirement-ready.

September 2009

WP_90 (PDF File 536 KB)