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Roundtable Series 2: Financial Literacy and Retirement Preparedness

Event Summary

On 14 July 2017, CREA’s Financial Literacy & Retirement Preparedness Roundtable opened to a packed seminar room at SMU’s School of Economics.

Various government agencies, banks, life insurance companies, financial associations, ethnic self-help organisations and financial literacy institutes participated in the afternoon event.

To ensure that all participants were on the same page, the first presentation of the afternoon was on the operation of CREA’s data collection, the Singapore Life Panel® by Associate Director Jiaming Ju.

This was followed by the presentation by Professor Olivia S. Mitchell of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She defined financial literacy as “the ability to use knowledge/skills to manage financial resource effectively for a lifetime of financial well-being.”

Professor Mitchell drew much laughter when she said that generally, women were less knowledgeable about financial matters than their male counterparts and were more ready to admit their ignorance. Respondents who are more educated, are older in the 50 to 70 age group, and who own property, are more financially literate.

On retirement preparedness, an average,  46% of respondents expect to struggle financially with retirement; those who are married think they are in better shape than the non-married; those in the wealth quadrant still worry about struggling financially with retirement; and those in poor health are most concerned about their retirement financials.

After the break, Tsao Foundation’s Director of International Longevity Centre Singapore, Susana Harding, talked about the oldest-old being women and the challenges they face if they are not prepared financially. This vulnerable group were also presented the hard truth that the female elderly need to be equipped for three to five years of widowhood & disability.

Taking the floor next was a very passionate Dr Koh Noi Keng, Director of the Centre for Financial Literacy, at the National Institute of Education. She had been training educators to equip their students so as to make informed financial decisions and exercise discipline in managing their personal finance. The Ministry has built mobile apps and games to reach out to the young. More importantly, financial literacy is not about making money, it’s about making the right decisions about money, having the knowledge and skills and right attitude towards money.

The roundtable ended after a lively and interesting discussion with participants wanting to know how CREA has managed 8,000 completed responses monthly; the role of family education on one’s level of financial literacy; whether there are programmes in Singapore that keep elderly aware of phone scams and which age group is best equipped with financial literacy skills. The discussion session provided CREA with food for thought and more research topics to investigate.

Please find the programme here.

News Coverage

The event was covered by AsianScientist, see the following:



Friday, 14 July 2017 - 12:30pm to 4:00pm


Singapore Management University, Seminar Room 5.1, 90 Stamford Road, Singapore 178903