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ASIC launches National Financial Literacy program

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has launched a new program to boost the financial literacy of business owners and the broader Australian public.

The National Financial Literacy Strategy aims to improve the overall financial decision-making abilities of individuals, families and communities through a combination of formal education programs, expanding the use of free information and resources, and providing quality financial guidance and support.

Launched by Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, Steven Ciobo MP, the rollout of the strategy is the culmination of 12 months of consultation with over 200 stakeholders.

“With almost every Australian owning one or more financial products, improved financial literacy can benefit anyone, regardless of age or income, in terms of having greater understanding of financial matters and the ability to meet financial goals for the future,” Mr Ciobo said.

ASIC Chairman Greg Medcraft said ASIC has a strategic priority to promote confident and informed consumers and investors in the financial system, whether they are taking out a home loan, planning for their retirement or investing in the market.

Under the Strategy, ASIC will continue to enhance its popular MoneySmart website for consumers and investors and reach more schools through its MoneySmart Teaching program, designed to promote and support financial literacy for schools.

“Over 400,000 Australians already benefit from visiting ASIC’s MoneySmart website each month to access free and impartial tools and resources to help them make their financial decisions,” Mr Medcraft said.

According to the most recent ANZ Survey of Adult Financial Literacy in Australia, Australians have varying levels of financial knowledge and proficiency in that they perform well on some aspects of financial literacy but poorly on others. For example, the survey found that:

  • one-third (36%) of Australians found dealing with money stressful, even when things are going well
  • one-third (33%) found their superannuation statements difficult or very difficult to understand
  • one-quarter (27%) were likely to consider the level of cover when renewing an insurance policy, and
  • three-quarters (73%) had not identified how much they would need to live on when they retire.

The strategic priorities set out in the National Financial Literacy Strategy 2014–17 are to:

  • educate the next generation, particularly through the formal education system
  • increase the use of free, impartial information, tools and resources
  • provide quality targeted guidance and support
  • strengthen co-ordination and effective partnerships, and
  • improve research, measurements and evaluation.

Organisations involved in the delivery of financial literacy initiatives in support of the Strategy are listed at the dedicated National Financial Literacy Strategy website. The Strategy builds on the foundations of the first National Financial Literacy Strategy, published by ASIC in 2011.