Financial education and consumer protection

Improving Financial Literacy: Analysis of Issues and Policies


Publication date
10 November 2005

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Financial education has always been important for consumers in helping them budget and manage their income, save and invest efficiently, and avoid becoming victims of fraud. As financial markets become increasingly sophisticated and as households assume more of the responsibility and risk for financial decisions, financial education is increasingly necessary for individuals, not only to ensure their own financial well-being but also to ensure the smooth functioning of financial markets and the economy.


This book, the first major study of financial education at the international level, contributes to the development of consumer financial literacy by providing information to policymakers on effective financial education programmes. It is also intended to promote the exchange of views and the sharing of experience in the field of financial education. It analyses financial literacy surveys in member countries, highlights the economic, demographic and policy changes that make financial education increasingly important, and describes the different types of financial education programmes currently being offered in OECD countries. Finally, this book evaluates the effectiveness of financial education programmes and suggests actions policymakers can take to improve financial education and awareness.

Table of contents

Executive Summary

Chapter 1. Overview of the Report

  • Definition of Financial Education
  • Methodology
  • Limitations
  • Organisation of the Report

Chapter 2. Financial Education: Its Definition, its Increasing Importance, its Contributions to Market Efficiency and Consumer Well-Being, and the Role of Financial Intermediaries


Chapter 3. Assessment of the Financial Literacy of Consumers

  • Key Findings of Financial Literacy Surveys
  • Implications for Financial Literacy Surveys
  • Lessons for Financial Literacy Programmes

Chapter 4. Investment/Retirement Saving and Financial Education

  • Current Financial Education Programmes on Saving and Investment for Retirement
  • Evaluations of Financial Education Programmes with Respect to Investment/Retirement
  • Effects of Individual Behaviour on Financial Decisions
  • Conclusions and Implications for Design and Implementation of Financial Education Programmes

Chapter 5. Financial Education on Credit and Debt

  • The Importance of Resolving Over-Indebtedness and the Benefits of Financial Education
  • Key Findings on Financial Education Programmes on Credit and Debt
  • Key Findings of Evaluations of Credit Education Programmes
  • Summary of Policy Implications for Financial Education Programmes on Credit and Debt

Chapter 6. The Unbanked and Financial Education

  • Background
  • Benefits of Financial Education for the Unbanked
  • Description of Current Programmes on the Unbanked
  • Summary of Evaluations of Programmes on the Unbanked
  • Summary of Policy Implications for Programmes on the Unbanked

Chapter 7. Conclusions and Future Directions for Financial Education

Annex A. Assessment of Financial Literacy of Consumers

  • Australia: Seleced Questions from the Financial Literacy Survey
  • Japan: Selected Questions formt he Consumer Survey on Finance
  • United States: Selected Questions from the JumpStart Financial Literacy Survey

Annex B. Investment/Retirement Saving and Financial Education

Annex C. Financial Education on Credit and Debt

Annex D. The Unbanked

Annex E. Recommendation on Principals and Good Practices for Financial Education and Awareness


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