In a study called “Measuring Financial Literacy: Results of the Organization for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD) International Network on Financial Education (INFE) Pilot Study,” it was noted that 97 percent of the Malaysian participants were actively saving in the past 12 months. Malaysia and 13 other countries participated in this study. Some of the other countries were the United Kingdom, Albania, South Africa, Germany, Poland, Norway and the British Virgin Islands.

In this study, around 1046 people, 18 years old and above participated in a face-to-face interview in Malaysia. The study which ended in early 2011, started in the second-half of 2010. A questionnaire, “OECD INFE Core Questionnaire” was used to determine a person’s financial literacy that covered three elements namely financial knowledge, financial behavior and financial attitude. The same questionnaire was used by the other 13 countries in this study. All the respondents were tested on their knowledge of financial concepts and in applying their numeracy skills.

One of the core question was “In the past 12 months, have you been saving money in any of the following ways?” These include putting aside money at home, in saving accounts, in investment accounts or through saving clubs. The highest result was reported by three countries namely Malaysia, Germany and the British Virgin Islands where more than 80 percent of the respondents were active in saving money.

When it came to managing money responsibly and having a budget, Malaysia had the highest percentage at 74 percent. This relates to the handling of household finances and budgeting. It was also observed that there is a positive relationship between financial knowledge and financial behavior. Examples of good or positive financial behaviors are giving some thoughts before buying something, having a budget, saving money and paying the bills consistently. The following countries showed higher financial behavior results compared to the rest

Education plays an important role as analysis of every country showed that

• High financial literacy scores came with increased levels of education
• Individuals with higher education are more likely to practice good or positive financial behaviors and attitudes. In addition, they also tend to possess more advanced knowledge in the area.

Another conclusion from the study showed that financial literacy varies with age and income. Middle age people tend to have a higher level of financial literacy as reflected in most of the 14 countries. The youngest and oldest respondents gave lower scores. What about income level? If you guessed that a higher income correlates to higher financial know-how, then you are right. Participants with higher incomes tend to score higher in financial knowledge compared to those earning lower incomes.

Jacquelyn is the co-author of the books “Teaching Your Kids About Money” and “Top 93 Personal Finance FAQs in Malaysia” with KC Lau. Jacquelyn is the pseudonym used by Amy Sipagal.

    3 replies to "Malaysians Have Good Savings Attitude"

    • Netmask8

      Greetings + G’Day,

      Like that :- M’sia is already developed country, not developing country. It is on par with Germany, and the good thing is, higher than Norway and UK.. Should compare with countries in Asia or Asean for similiarity.

      Are the participated in a face-to-face interview situated in same Demograhic ‘s Segmentation or Demographic’s Questionnaire in one location, gender, race, age class ..etc ? The sampling rate of 1046 ppls are insufficient compared to M’sia population more than 28M .. Does the data/record/interview source are reliable, can be trusted + accurate ?

      Be rational(quality + quantitive) + Wisdom in Life .. I treat it as reference and informative thoughts. Hope that our humble leaders / ppls mentality + thinking also improve ..

      Who entitled to have the title / designation? What does it based/means from?

    • Shahrul Ezani

      Are you sure? Salary in Malaysia is so low I find it hard to believe we can actually save.

    • The 8th Voyager

      I think the more important factor is the psychology of feeling financial security. If people is feeling financially insecured, they will tend to save more and prepare for the possible hard time ahead; if people is feeling very financially secured, they don’t mind spending all as they are confident to be able to earn easily for future spending.

      This psychological factor is not so much linked with education or literacy. If you take a look at our elder generation, those who born before World War II and gone through the hard time, they are the hard core money savers, and some of them even don’t trust the banking system – they either never apply for ATM facility, or feel more secure to keep their money with them in own safe than putting in the bank.

      The observation of 97 percent of the Malaysian participants were actively saving in the past 12 months somehow reflects that Malaysian are not so confident in our near future financial security. Do you agree?

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