Wharton Pension Research Council Working Papers

Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version



Financial literacy in Singapore has not been analyzed in much detail, despite the fact that this is one of the world’s most rapidly aging nations. Using the Singapore Life Panel®, we explore older Singaporeans’ levels of financial knowledge and compare them to those observed in the United States. We assess portfolio complexity for these older households, to examine how financial literacy is related to outcomes of interest. We show that older Singaporeans’ levels of financial literacy are comparable overall to those in the United States, even though older Singaporeans score slightly lower on some dimensions (knowledge of interest and inflation), and slightly higher on their knowledge of risk diversification. We document that women are less informed than men about stock diversification, and educated people tend to be more financially knowledgeable than their less educated counterparts. We also find that financial literacy is positively associated with respondents having both more wealth and more diversified and complex portfolios.


The research was supported by the Singapore Ministry of Education (MOE) Academic Research Fund Tier 3 grant with the MOE’s official grant number MOE2013-T3-1-009, the Singapore Management University, and the Pension Research Council/Boettner Center at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


financial literacy, investment, portfolio diversification, pension, Central Provident Fund, retirement, saving

JEL Code

D14, E21, G11, J32

Working Paper Number


Copyright/Permission Statement

All opinions are solely those of the authors. © 2018 Koh, Mitchell, and Rohwedder. All rights reserved.


The authors acknowledge excellent programming assistance from Yong Yu and the Singapore Life Panel (SLP®) team at Singapore Management University, as well as the RAND SLP® team.

Included in

Economics Commons



Date Posted: 06 February 2019