Journalism and Mass Communications, College of


Date of this Version

Summer 2010


Journal of Consumer Affairs 44:2 (Summer 2010), pp.276–295.

doi: 10.1111/j.1745-6606.2010.01169.x


Copyright © 2010 by The American Council on Consumer Interests. Used by permission.


This study explicates the concept of financial literacy, which has blossomed in use this century. Scholars, policy officials, financial experts, and consumer advocates have used the phrase loosely to describe the knowledge, skills, confidence, and motivation necessary to effectively manage money. As a result, financial literacy has varying conceptual definitions in existing research as well as diverse operational definitions and values. This study dissects the differing financial literacy definitions and measures, urging researchers toward common ground. A clearer definition should improve future research, in turn helping consumers better understand and adapt to changing life events and an increasingly complex economy.