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Countries with the Most Financially Literate Women


Around the world, women are less likely to follow a budget most of the time and they mostly had less than three months worth of emergency savings

Around the world, women are less likely to follow a budget most of the time and they mostly had less than three months worth of emergency savings, according to a new study.

Visa’s International Barometer of Women’s Financial Literacy report gauged the strength and weaknesses of financial education worldwide by surveying men and women (in equal numbers) in 27 countries. The survey results were released at the annual Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago / Visa Financial Literacy and Education Summit, which brought together government leaders from around the world to focus on the unique personal finance challenges facing women.

The study gave countries an overall score (0 to 100) based on five individual scores (again, 0 to 100): budgeting (25%); emergency savings (25%); frequency in talking to children about money (25%); perception of young peoples’ money skills (12.5%); and desired age to begin formal personal finance lessons (12.5%).

In the country where women were deemed the most financially literate, women’s overall ranking was slightly lower than men’s; however, in three of the top five, women’s overall rankings were higher than men’s. In the U.S., women’s overall ranking were virtually identical to men’s, according to the survey results.

According to the study, having enough money saved to cover emergencies is a key indicator of an individual’s economic stability. However, the three countries where women had accrued more than an average of three months of savings (Taiwan, China and Hong Kong) didn’t actually make the top 10 for most financially literate women.

10. United Arab Emirates

Dubai skyline from Zabeel Park. Copyright Ranjit Laxman.

Overall score: 42.6

Budget rank: 11

Emergency savings rank: 10

Women in the UAE consistently ranked tenth in all categories except for one. When it came to budgeting, they were just beaten out by women in Belarus (42.8 to 42.9).

9. Thailand

Aerial view of Lumphini Park, Bangkok. Copyright Terence Ong.

Overall score: 42.8

Budget rank: 20

Emergency savings rank: 6

Women in Thailand were among the highest ranked for what age school-supported financial education should begin. According to the report, while Asian mothers generally rank low for talking to their children about money, Thai mothers spoke to their children more frequently than any other Asian country surveyed.

8. Belarus


Overall score: 42.9

Budget rank: 10

Emergency savings rank: 15

Women in Belarus are more likely than men to follow a budget most of the time, making the country one of just 10 out of the 27 surveyed where this is true. They ranked fairly highly when it came to discussing money issues with their children, which is reflected in how confident they are in their children’s ability to handle money (ranked eight overall).

7. Malaysia

View of retail in Kuala Lumpur. Copyright Sham Hardy.

Overall score: 43.3

Budget rank: 5

Emergency savings rank: 9

The highest ranked Asian country, nearly three-quarters of Malaysian women try to stick to a budget. They are one of the few countries where the women are equal to men when it comes to emergency savings (2.2 months).

6. Canada

View of downtown Vancouver from Lookout Tower. Copyright MagnusL3D | Flickr.

Overall score: 44.3

Budget rank: 3

Emergency savings rank: 5

Canadian women are more likely to have a budget than their male counterparts. While Canadian women ranked third in this category, men ranked seventh. However, like the U.S., they are not confident in the ability of their teens and young adults to manage their own money.

5. New Zealand

Tasman Valley on the road to Mount Cook village. Copyright David Briody.

Overall score: 44.4

Budget rank: 9

Emergency savings rank: 8

Although New Zealand mothers spend slightly less time talking to their children about financial issues than mothers in the U.S., New Zealand women are far more confident in the ability of the country’s youth to understand financial basics, ranking 17 to the America’s last-place 27.

4. United States

The financial district as viewed from Brooklyn. Copyright Hu Totya | Wikipedia.

Overall score: 44.6

Budget rank: 2

Emergency savings rank: 7

American women have the worst opinion of the country’s teens and young adults with 72.9% responding that U.S. teens don’t understand money management basics. However, they also answered one of the oldest ages (11.8) for when children should have formal financial literacy schooling.

3. Mexico

Mexico City Cathedral. Copyright Jeff Kramer | Flickr.

Overall score: 47.8

Budget rank: 17

Emergency savings rank: 17

Mexican women speak to their children about money management issues approximately 42 weeks a year, as a result, just a small minority believe teens and young adults do not have basic money skills.

2. Australia

Sydney Opera House

Overall score: 48.8

Budget rank: 6

Emergency savings rank: 4

Australian women were the only ones who save more than men and they far surpassed men when it came to speaking with children about finances, which half of Australian mothers do compared to only 31% of Australian fathers.

1. Brazil

Paulo. Copyright

São Alexandre Giesbrecht.

Overall score: 50.2

Budget rank: 1

Emergency savings rank: 18

Brazilian women rank first in having a budget and the desired age for children to learn about money (8.7 years), plus they ranked second in talking to children about finances. However, half of Brazilian women have no savings compared to 41% of men who do not have savings.

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