NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Financial Sophistication in the Older Population

Annamaria Lusardi, Olivia S. Mitchell, Vilsa Curto

NBER Working Paper No. 17863
Issued in February 2012
NBER Program(s):   AG   LS   PE

This paper examines data on financial sophistication among the U.S. older population, using a special-purpose module implemented in the Health and Retirement Study. We show that financial sophistication is deficient for older respondents (aged 55+). Specifically, many in this group lack a basic grasp of asset pricing, risk diversification, portfolio choice, and investment fees. Subpopulations with particular deficits include women, the least educated, persons over the age of 75, and non-Whites. In view of the fact that people are increasingly being asked to take on responsibility for their own retirement security, such lack of knowledge can have serious implications.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w17863

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