Financial literacy, is defined by the Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income (CFLRI) as "the ability to make informed judgements and effective decisions regarding the use and management of money. It is about having financial knowledge and the understanding, confidence and motivation to make financial judgements and decisions". Financial literacy comprises a range of activities that everyone needs to engage in at different times to live in a modern economy.
Financial literacy is important to an economy as it contributes to the financial wellbeing of individuals and communities. In New Zealand, as in other countries, perceptions of financial wellbeing vary between individuals and cultural groups.
Financial education at all ages contributes to financial literacy and financial wellbeing. New Zealand has been delivering financial education to a number of sectors and CFLRI has developed a National Strategy for Financial Literacy.5 New Zealand’s National Strategy for Financial Literacy focuses on developing quality, extending the delivery of financial education, sharing what works, and working together to achieve the outcome of a financially literate population.
However, there is limited objective information from evaluation about what financial education works best and how it should be delivered. There is some indication from the ANZ Retirement Commission Financial Knowledge Survey5 that it is possible to improve financial knowledge, but that it may be difficult and may take more time to improve from a low base.
CFLRI has developed an eight-week Financial Literacy Programme that has been piloted and evaluated within the Warehouse Distribution centre in Auckland. The Sorted Workplace programme provided an introduction to basic financial education through a series of workshops run by an external facilitator. The programme aimed to encourage and support longer-term behavioural change within workplaces and communities. The pilot programme was evaluated to build on existing knowledge about works best in financial education, how it should be delivered and to provide information that could be used to refine the programme for a national course.