Millions of people are financially illiterate—are you one of them?

Research shows that huge portions of the population lack even the most basic knowledge of money and finance

 
A maze in the shape of a dollar sign
(Baris Simsek/Getty)

Millions of people are basically helpless about money. That’s the upshot of a recent paper published by economists Annamaria Lusardi and Olivia S. Mitchell. The researchers surveyed thousands of people around the world and posed three rudimentary questions about money and investing. The results were not encouraging.

Here, take it yourself first:

To the average reader of a business magazine, these may seem like ridiculously simple questions, but Lusardi and Mitchell’s research over the last few years shows that, in general, you cannot count on even this base level of knowledge about how money works. Only 57% of Germans were able to answer all three questions correctly, and they were the highest-scoring nation studied: in the Netherlands it was 46%, in the U.S. 35%, and in Italy 28%. In Russia just 3% of people got all three questions correct.

If you scored 100% on the quiz, congratulations! If you didn’t, well, perhaps you’d like to brush up by subscribing to a magazine we can recommend….

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