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Basic money management? Check. Financial planning? Check. Investments? Check.
Knowledge and skills in all three areas have brought the Taiwanese to the top of the region’s financial literacy index, beating the Kiwis, who have dropped to second place.
The findings came on the back of MasterCard’s new research of 8,087 respondents in 16 Asia Pacific countries, which also found that 30-year-olds from both countries are among the best performing on all metrics.
Singapore saw the biggest regional drop in financial knowledge, from second to sixth position; while the Japanese maintained the bottom spot for the third consecutive year, despite developed market tending to rank higher than emerging ones.
Among the latter, India advanced the most, coming 12th in the region, followed by South Korea in 13th spot. Neighbouring China topped the region in ‘investment know-how’ but was among the worst in ‘basic money management.’
Despite APAC being a “region of savers,” as listed in the report, with a majority of people knowing how to budget and save regularly, the knowledge of retirements funds needed was lacking in both developed countries and emerging markets.
T.V. Seshadri, group executive of global products and solutions, at MasterCard Asia Pacific, explained: “There is no one reason for the falling level of financial literacy across the region but the data clearly shows that the young and unemployed need additional support.”
“It is not enough to provide access to financial services, we must ensure that everyone knows how to save, budget and invest so that their well-being can be secured over the long term.”
The report also found that the gap between male-female financial literacy scores is only slight in countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Bangladesh.
It attributed this to financial systems being in their infancy, which requires both genders to be equally aware and informed.
“It may also be because income level is lower on average, making it necessary to be even more conscious of money and track expenditure on a regular basis.”