Singapore rises to No 2 in Asia-Pac for financial literacy, behind NZ

PHOTO: Singapore rises to No 2 in Asia-Pac for financial literacy, behind NZ

SINGAPORE - Singapore has advanced in the latest MasterCard Index of Financial Literacy, coming in second only to New Zealand among the 16 Asia-Pacific markets polled. With a score of 74 index points, the Kiwis moved up from No 2 last year, pipping Singapore (72 points) which is up from No 5, and Taiwan (71 points), which is down from No 1.

The bottom three in the region consisted of Indonesia (60 points), which dropped seven places to 14th, as well as India (59 points) and Japan (57 points). Consumers from the developing markets of Thailand, Philippines and China showed the most significant progress in the region.

The index was based on a survey of 7,756 respondents aged 18 to 64, which was conducted between April and May this year. It polled consumers on three aspects of financial literacy: basic money management skills, investment knowledge and financial planning.

This year, Singapore overtook Hong Kong and Taiwan to take third spot in the Asia-Pacific for basic money management skills, which include day-to-day budgeting, keeping up with bills, credit commitments and setting money aside for big purchases.

The New Zealanders again came in top for this component with a score of 77 points, just ahead of Australia (75 points).

Respondents from Myanmar and India were the least literate in terms of basic money management, both scoring 54 points.

At the same time, the survey found that married respondents aged over 30 tended to have higher levels of financial proficiency in all countries except the Philippines. In general, those under 30 years old tended to have lower financial literacy.

MasterCard said on Thursday that this suggests a more pronounced need to be financially savvy as married couples manage more financial commitments over time.

Earlier this week, another financial literacy survey was launched by the Financial Education Steering Committee (FESC). Based on its assessments from the survey, FESC will be developing relevant programmes under its national financial education scheme, MoneySENSE.

The nationwide survey of 2,000 Singapore residents across different age groups is slated to end on Sept 26.

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