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Got the know-how, time for some action


Got the know-how, time for some action

New Zealanders have come out near the top of an international survey into financial knowledge, behaviours and attitudes.

The OECD/INFE International Survey of Financial Literacy Competencies interviewed nearly 52,000 people in 30 countries, including 1,300 aged between 18-79 in New Zealand.

The French scored highest for overall financial literacy (14.9 out of a possible score of 21, compared to an OECD average of 13.7), with New Zealanders coming in 5th equal at 14.4.

However, the study found New Zealanders underestimate their ability and know more about financial matters than they realise: when asked to assess how good their knowledge was, only a third rated themselves higher than average, but when tested on the subject two-thirds scored above average.

And New Zealand had the highest score of all 30 countries and economies for positive financial attitudes, including disagreeing that ‘money is there to be spent’; they did not find it ‘more satisfying to spend (than to save)’; and did not ‘tend to live for today’.

The findings were revealed at the NZ-OECD Global Symposium on Financial Education, which is being held in New Zealand for the first time.

Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell said: “The results suggest that many New Zealanders are good at thinking about the longer-term. The more important question is whether that translates into action – are they doing something about it?

“The challenge is to find ways of coping with the financial demands of today, while trying to think about and plan for tomorrow. These are some of the things we are addressing at this week’s symposium.”

The study also found that New Zealand women significantly outperformed men when it came to their behaviour (NB it is unclear whether this is short-term or long-term planning).

They were measured around eight areas including having a budget, being an active saver, paying bills on time, having long-term financial goals, and whether they borrowed to make ends meet.

The theme of the two-day event is “Today vs Tomorrow?” and it is being jointly hosted in Auckland by the Commission for Financial Capability and the OECD.

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