Over the last two decades there has been robust discussion by many governments and financial community leaders generally, that financial security can only be achieved when a country’s population is considered to be financially literate. Hence individuals need to be financially literate if they are to make informed decisions about savings, investments, debt and most importantly when considering retirement issues. No longer can there be a reliance on social security in retirement due to the ever increasing ageing population and a declining tax base worldwide.
In both Australia and New Zealand, governments have put structures in place as a result of external evidence suggesting both populations have questionable levels of financial literacy. Both governments have formulated policies and embarked upon initiatives to address this issue. The strategies and structures used, whilst similar, encompassed some unique elements which makes a comparative investigation and discussion interesting. The outcomes of this research paper highlight that even with similar desired outcomes there can be multiple pathways.
The rationale for this paper was the lack of any published academic literature in both Australia and New Zealand that reported on the stated government policies and there subsequent initiatives that related to the improvement of financial literacy. Whilst structures to address government concerns have been put in place, the ability to assess the effectiveness of these initiatives has proven difficult, due to the sparse nature of publicly available information and the lack of access to the survey design, development and analysis. It should be noted that this is an exploratory paper primarily to raise questions rather that provide a critical assessment of either countries policies.
While this research paper primarily seeks to describe and review both the policies and strategies implemented by the Australian and New Zealand governments in respect of financial literacy, additionally, it briefly makes mention of the existing education programs currently on offer.