Financial Literacy Barometer for 28 Nations – Brazil Ranks First; US Ranks Fourth

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and Visa Inc. convened their annual summit on financial literacy on April 23rd in Chicago. The event was moderated by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine Editor Janet Bodnar, with a global roster of guest speakers including Gail Hillebrand of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Governor Jose Dario Uribe of the Colombian Central Bank and Canadian Parliamentary Finance Committee Chair James Rajotte.

Global Financial Literacy Barometer: Key Findings

As part of the Summit, Visa and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine released the results of the 2012 Global Financial Literacy Barometer that assessed and ranked the financial literacy levels of people in 28 nations.  Brazil topped the list as having the most financially literate people, followed by Mexico, Australia, the United States and Canada.

Among the other key findings of the survey:

  • 68% of survey respondents have fewer than three months’ worth of emergency reserves on hand to fund basic needs in the event of an unexpected financial event like job loss.
  • 25% of respondents who report they don’t have enough funds to cover a personal economic emergency fall into high income categories.
  • Respondents in more than half of the 28 countries surveyed believe that overall, teenagers and young adults do not understand money management basics, such as budgeting, savings, debt and spending responsibly.
  • In wealthier countries, many parents don’t speak as regularly with their children about the financial future, and the United States falls into the middle of this group.
  • Across the globe, the youngest and oldest citizens face the most personal economic risk in the sense that they have the smallest emergency reserves and they are least likely to follow a budget.

“The Barometer clearly demonstrates that while there have been great strides made in advancing financial education, there is still much more to be done,” said Oliver Jenkyn, Group Executive, North America, Visa Inc.  “Visa and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago share a commitment to helping people of all ages gain the financial tools necessary to become better money managers.  Today’s annual Summit is an important part of this effort.”

A more detailed summary of the key findings of the Global Financial Literacy Barometer can be found

Today, Visa also unveiled a new personal finance high school curriculum called the “Practical Money Skills Course.”  This free, comprehensive program covers an array of vital subjects, including budgeting, saving, loans, insurance and more.  The curriculum can be downloaded online at or at iTunes as an iPad e-book.

The Summit also featured a panel presentation of original financial education research that explored ways financial knowledge and behavior can be improved. The summit can be viewed online at:

About the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that, along with the Board of Governors in Washington, DC, makes up the nation’s central bank. The Chicago Reserve Bank serves the Seventh Federal Reserve District, which encompasses the northern portions of Illinois and Indiana, southern Wisconsin, the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, and the state of Iowa. In addition to participation in the formulation of monetary policy, each Reserve Bank supervises member banks and bank holding companies, provides financial services to depository institutions and the U.S. government, and monitors economic conditions in its District.

About Visa Inc.
Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world’s most advanced processing networks—VisaNet—that is capable of handling more than 20,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank, and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa’s innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: Pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit

SOURCE Visa Inc. and Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Elizabeth Gooding

Elizabeth Gooding is the editor of the Insight Forums blog and president of Gooding Communications Group

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About Elizabeth Gooding

Elizabeth Gooding is the editor of the Insight Forums blog and president of Gooding Communications Group