Optimistic But With Low Financial IQ

I recently had a blog about a survey showing the Filipino males being the most narcissistic among Asian men. Not many agreed to the survey results and to quote a Facebook friend’s reaction, “hygiene and vanity conscious, but narcissistic? no way !”. That’s how surveys work, once the results are out, we can only react but they will not change what had been published until the next survey on the subject is done. Let us see what you can say about the survey results below.

American banking giant Citibank NA commissioned a survey in 2010 and results showed that despite being more optimistic about our financial future, we, Filipinos continue to get a low score when it comes to financial intelligence quotient. We got a financial intelligence quotient of 48.9, or less than half the maximum score of 100 in Citibank’s latest Financial Quotient (Fin-Q) Survey. The annual survey measures the Financial Quotient or financial well-being of consumers.

Our financial intelligence quotient in last year’s survey was a bit lower than the 49 we had in 2009; however, the score is much better than the 46.6 in 2008 and the 47.8 baseline score in 2007 when the survey was launched.

Filipino respondents were scored on eleven (11) different areas closely related to financial well-being for a maximum possible score of 100. The questionnaire consisted of over forty (40) questions and covered a range of topics closely related to financial decision-making and smart financial habits.

On the positive side, the survey showed that more than seventy-one (71%) percent of the respondents were either ‘very satisfied’ and ‘satisfied’ about their overall quality of life. This is a double digit increase from the previous year’s results. The survey also showed that optimism about one’s financial future is also up from last year at eighty-two (82%) percent while fifty-six (56) percent confirmed they know how much they would need and have some savings set aside.

The survey pointed out that fifty-seven (57%) percent of the respondents feel they have a ‘good’ or ‘very good’ understanding about money management and personal finances. About sixty-five (65%) percent of the respondents believed that they are better off today than their parents were at the same age, a sentiment that is significantly stronger for those earning PhP700,000 or more annually.

The major financial concerns of Filipinos involve building savings back up in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, meeting monthly expenses, and doing a better job of saving for retirement, according to the survey. The survey likewise showed that forty-one (41%) percent of respondents believe they have enough insurance to protect them and their families, and forty (40%) percent are confident they have enough savings to last for three (3) months or more. However, Filipinos on average have only nine (9) weeks of savings in reserve.

The news release did not contain the questions asked in the survey and based on the results, we can conclude that the respondents are Citibank credit card holders. By this alone, I can say that the survey results do not reflect the true picture as far as our financial well-being is concerned. How can we be judged to have low intelligence quotient when, in the first place, we do not have the finances to manage?