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Financial literacy: World's top 20 nations, India lags

Last updated on: June 14, 2012 13:02 IST

Financial literacy: World's top 20 nations, India lags

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Indians are among the least financially literate people across the globe with youngsters and women struggling most with their finance knowledge due to lack of discussions within the families on money management issues, says a report by credit card firm Visa.

As per the 'Global Financial literacy barometer', India is ranked 23rd among the 28 countries surveyed, with 35 per cent of its population termed financially literate.

More than 70 percent of survey respondents cannot endure a personal economic emergency spanning more than three months.

Moreover, the survey found that the average savings set aside by Indians for an emergency is 1.9 months – close to the survey average of 2 months.

Chinese respondents were the best at saving, with an average of 3.9 months of expenses saved. Pakistani respondents had the least saved, with 0.8 months of expenses set aside.

Click NEXT to find out the top 20 financially literate nations...


Image: A shopkeeper staples Indian currency notes to make garlands at a market in Jammu.
Photographs: Mukesh Gupta/Reuters.
Tags: India , Visa

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1. Brazil

Financial literacy: 50.4%

Brazil tops the financial literacy chart. Brazilians believe that schools should start financial education at the age of nine. Brazil topped the list of places that parents talk with their kids about money, says the Visa's International Financial Literacy Barometer.

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Image: Brazilian real coins are seen in this picture illustration taken in Rio de Janeiro.
Photographs: Bruno Domingos/Reuters.

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2. Mexico

Financial literacy: 47.8%

Mexicans talk with their kids about money 42 days a year, on average, and Brazilians 38. American families talk with their kids about finances 26 days a year.

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Image: Dollars in cash are seen in this photograph released by Mexico's tax office in Mexico City.
Photographs: Handout/ Mexico tax office/Reuters.
Tags: , Mexico , India , American

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3. Australia

Financial literacy: 46.3%

More than half of the citizens Australia cannot financially survive a personal economic emergency lasting more than three months.

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Image: A man holds Australian banknotes in this photo illustration in Sydney.
Photographs: Tim Wimborne/Reuters.

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4. United States

Financial literacy: 44.6%

In the US, the average person had 2.9 months of expenses saved. More than half of the citizens in the United States cannot financially survive a personal economic emergency lasting more than three months, says the Visa's International Financial Literacy study.

The United States has the worst opinion of its teenagers' money management skills, with 70.5 per cent of respondents saying that U.S. teens don't understand money management basics. 

54% of respondents said that they follow a budget closely or most of the time. 44.4% said that they didn't have a budget.

High-income and low-income respondents had similar rates in terms of failure to budget, with  24.8% of those earning under $20k per year and 24.7% of those earning over $75k per year saying they did not maintain a budget.

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Image: A departmental store worker checks through dollar bills after releasing Apple's new iPad to a customer in Manhattan, New York.
Photographs: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters.

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5. Canada

Financial literacy: (43.8%)

Among individuals across the globe who report that they do not have enough resources to cover a personal emergency lasting less than three months, a significant percentage fall into high-income categories.

In Canada, for example, 39 percent of individuals with less than three months' worth of living expenses saved fall into the high-income category, while 34 percent fall into the low-income  category.

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Image: A man holds the new Canadian 100 dollar bills made of polymer in Toronto.
Photographs: Mark Blinch/Reuters.
Tags: Canada , India

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6. New Zealand

Financial literacy: 43.7

More than half of the citizens in New Zealand cannot financially survive a personal economic emergency lasting more than three months.

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Image: Reserve Bank of New Zealand dollar notes are pictured in Singapore.
Photographs: Dennis Owen/Reuters.
Tags: , New Zealand , India

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7. Japan

Financial literacy: 42.3%

People in Japan had an average of more than 3 months of expenses saved.

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Image: Yuan and Yen banknotes are seen in this picture illustration taken in Tokyo.
Photographs: Issei Kato/Reuters.
Tags: Japan , India

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8. Belarus

Financial literacy: 41.9%

More than 70 percent of survey respondents in these countries cannot endure a personal economic emergency spanning more than three months.

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Image: A woman holds a new 200,000 Belarusian ruble note ($24.48) during a presentation to the media in Minsk.
Photographs: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters.
Tags: , Belarus , India

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9. Thailand

Financial literacy: 41.7%

In Brazil, for example, more than half of the people surveyed believe government and school-supported financial education should begin before  children reach the age of nine. Other high-ranking countries in this regard include Morocco and Thailand.

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Image: A bank employee counts Thai baht notes at Kasikornbank in Bangkok.
Photographs: Sukree Sukplang/Reuters.

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10. Malaysia

Financial literacy: 41.7%

More than 70 percent of survey respondents in Malaysia cannot endure a personal economic emergency spanning more than three months.

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Tags: Malaysia , India

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11. United Arab Emirates

Financial literacy: 40.8%

When it comes to speaking with children about finances, some of the highest-ranking countries include Brazil, Lebanon, Pakistan and the UAE.

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Image: A customer exchanges money at a currency exchange center in Dubai.
Photographs: Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters.

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12. Lebanon

Financial literacy: 40.3%

When it comes to ensuring that their children will be financially savvy, parents  from the most economically stressed situations are among those spending the most time talking with their children about money management, budgeting, saving, responsible spending and debt.

When it comes to speaking with children about finances, some of the highest-ranking countries include Lebanon.

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Image: A Lebanese banker counts U.S. dollars at BLOM Bank's head office in Beirut.
Photographs: Jamal Saidi/Reuters.
Tags: Lebanon , India

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13. Taiwan

Financial literacy: 39.9%

Asian respondents have the best chance of surviving a personal financial struggle.

In Hong Kong and Taiwan, nearly 60 percent of survey respondents could survive a personal economic downturn lasting more than three months,  and a third or more could survive a personal economic emergency that  spanned more than six months.

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Image: Taiwan's new banknotes the T$500, T$1,000 and T$2,000 notes, pictured, will feature images with modern themes such as technology, education and sport.
Photographs: Reuters.

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14. Egypt

Financial literacy: 39.4%

Egypt is ranked 7th in terms of people planning a household budget.  Around 48% people said they have a planned household budget.

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Image: An Egyptian woman walks into a currency exchange office in downtown Cairo.
Photographs: Asmaa Waguih/Reuters.
Tags: Egypt , India

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15. Bosnia

Financial literacy: 39.1%

In Bosnia, 41.7% people said they have a planned household budget.

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Image: An employee counts money in a bank in Sarajevo.
Photographs: Dado Ruvic/Reuters.
Tags: Bosnia , India

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16. China

Financial literacy: 38.6%

In China, about half of respondents could survive a personal financial calamity lasting six months or longer.

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Image: A bank clerk counts Chinese yuan banknotes at a branch of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in Huaibei, Anhui province.
Photographs: Reuters.
Tags: China , India

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17. Hong Kong

Financial literacy: 38%

In Hong Kong, nearly 60 percent of survey respondents could survive a personal economic downturn lasting more than three months, and a third or more could survive a personal economic emergency that  spanned more than six months.

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Image: The latest edition of Hong Kong dollar notes launched by HSBC are seen during an exhibition organized by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority in Hong Kong.
Photographs: Bobby Yip/Reuters.
Tags: , Hong Kong , India

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18. Saudi Arabia

Financial literacy: 38%

Saudi Arabia ranks top among nations where people plan a household budget.

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Image: Men make donations, to help the people of Somalia, in Riyadh.
Photographs: Fahad Shadeed/Reuters.

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19. Russia

Financial literacy: 37.4

In Russia, there are more individuals in the high-income category who have less than three months of expenses saved than there are in the low-income category.

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Image: A detail of a decorative heirloom necklace made from coins worn by a member of the singing group "Buranovskiye Babushki" during a rehearsal in the village club in Buranovo in the central Russian region of Udmurtia.
Photographs: Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters.
Tags: Russia , India

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20. Serbia

Financial literacy: 38%

In Serbia, individuals in the low-income category outpace savers  in all other income categories.

The situation is worse in countries such as Indonesia, Lebanon, Pakistan and  Serbia, where only 13 to 14 percent of the population could endure a personal  economic emergency lasting more than three months.



Image: A student from the technical science faculty at the University of Belgrade wears an oversized 100-dinar banknote with a portrait of Nikola Tesla during a masked ball in Belgrade.
Photographs: Marko Djurica/Reuters.

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