The results of the OECD/INFE International Survey of Adult Financial Literacy Competencies
have been released. Surveying 51,650 adults from 30 countries, the report discovered that, compared to their global peers, Canadians score quite well on financial literacy overall.
Overall financial literacy was determined by scoring three dimensions – knowledge, behavior, and attitude – and adding them up. Ranking countries based on this score, Canada was in fourth place, getting an average grade of 14.6 out of 21. Topping the list was France with 14.9, and at the bottom was Poland with 11.6.
Behavior was one literacy dimension where Canadians fared well. A majority of respondents from Canada reported being active savers, as well as carefully considering whether they can afford something before buying it, paying their bills on time, and closely monitoring their financial affairs. One dark spot was with regards to goal-setting, with only 58% saying that they set long-term goals and strive to achieve them. Along a similar vein, only 63% reported having a household budget.
The other literacy dimension Canadians did well at was attitude. Most respondents tended to not gratify themselves immediately, saying that they do not tend to live for today. A little less than half said they find more satisfaction in saving than spending.
When it came to financial knowledge, Canadians were just above the middle of the pack, with just a shade over 60% of Canadian respondents being able to correctly answer at least five out of seven questions on financial knowledge. The issue seemed to be with numeracy, as a breakdown of the correct responses by question showed Canadians struggling on questions involving calculation of interest and time value of money.
The results of the survey also showed female Canadians outdoing males in terms of financial attitude (68% vs. 60%) and behavior (68% vs. 67%), but not financial knowledge (50% vs. 72%).
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