Media Releases
Published Date: 30 July 2005

First National Financial Literacy Survey Reveals Encouraging Findings About Singaporeans' Approach to Money Matters



Singapore, 30 July 2005...Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister for Education and Deputy Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) today announced findings of the first National Financial Literacy survey at the Taman Jurong Community Club Official Opening and Singapore's 40th National Day Celebration.

2   Commissioned by the MoneySENSE national financial education programme, the survey revealed encouraging findings about Singaporeans' approach to money matters.  The survey findings also indicate that Singaporeans have healthy attitudes toward managing their finances. However, there are areas for improvement as many have not translated these positive attitudes to concrete actions.  While the findings are not surprising, the survey provides empirical data confirming anecdotal evidence of how Singaporeans approach financial matters.  It also includes an aggregate Financial Literacy Score to benchmark improvements in financial literacy over time. 

Key Survey Findings

3   The majority of Singaporeans save, monitor their spending and are generally responsible in the use of credit. Most Singaporeans recognize the importance of financial planning and have taken some basic steps. Among those who invested, many considered the risks before doing so.  They also monitored their investments.

4   While these findings are positive, the survey showed that many do not have a clear idea of how much they would need for their retirement.  Many have also not set aside sufficient cash savings to meet emergency needs. In addition, the majority are not aware of the key features of common financial products such as life insurance policies and unit trusts.

Segmented Approach To Address Different Groups

5   As the survey revealed varying levels of financial literacy among different segments, MoneySENSE will adopt a segmented approach and introduce specific initiatives to address the needs of different target groups.

6   However, financial literacy levels cannot be improved solely through the efforts of MoneySENSE.  Consumers also need to take the initiative to enhance their own financial literacy and be responsible for their own financial decisions. 

7   The National Financial Literacy survey covered 2,023 Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents between 18 to 60 years, and was undertaken in March and April 2005. 

8   The survey covered three main areas - basic money management, financial planning and investment know-how. The survey aimed to: (i) understand what actions Singaporeans have taken to manage their finances; (ii) assess their level of knowledge about common financial products and services; (iii) gauge the attitudes of Singaporeans towards financial matters; (iv) identify areas where more consumer education is required; and (v) measure the level of awareness of MoneySENSE.

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Notes to Editor

1   MoneySENSE is a national financial education programme launched by Mr. Lee Hsien Loong, then Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the MAS on 16 October 2003.  MoneySENSE brings together industry and public sector initiatives to enhance the basic financial literacy of consumers.

2   The MoneySENSE programme covers 3 tiers of financial literacy:

  • Tier I - Basic Money Management - which covers skills in budgeting and saving, and provides tips on the responsible use of credit; 
  • Tier II - Financial Planning - to equip Singaporeans with the skills and knowledge to plan for their long-term financial needs; and 
  • Tier III - Investment Know-How - which imparts knowledge about the different investment products and skills for investing.

3   The MoneySENSE Financial Education Steering Committee was formed in February 2003 to provide strategic direction and oversight of financial education programmes in Singapore.  It comprises representatives from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Manpower, Central Provident Fund Board, and People's Association.

4   More information on MoneySENSE is available at www.moneysense.gov.sg