Higher incomes do not improve Brazilians’ financial behavior, says an unprecedented Serasa Experian’s financial education indicator

Serasa Experian’s Financial Education Indicator Launch – 2013

Serasa Experian’s Consumer Financial Education Indicator rated Brazilians as 6.0 in average. In the sub-item Behavior, which weights most for composing the indicator, the overall rate was 5.2, showing that consumers who earn minimum wages or more than ten minimum wages are behave similarly in terms of finances

More money in a bank account does not warrant a better financial behavior. This is one of the conclusions that can be drawn from Serasa Experian’s Consumer Financial Education Indicator, which was launched today in São Paulo. This Indicator addresses three dimensions: Knowledge, Attitude, and Behavior of the Brazilian population in terms of personal and family finances. People earning more than ten minimum wages a month have been rated as 5.1 on the sub-item Behavior, while those earning one minimum wage scored 5.0, reflecting a technical tie.





The new indicator ranges from 0 to 10, and Brazilians were rated as 6.0 in average. The higher the index, the better the level of financial education. On the sub-item Behavior, the overall rate was 5.2; while the sub-item Attitude reported 6.3, and the sub-item Knowledge received the highest rate: 7.5. Each dimension is differently weighted for composing the indicator: Behavior (50%); Attitude (24%) and Knowledge (26%).

The sub-item Knowledge assesses the level of knowledge about financial concepts; the sub-item Attitude assesses how respondents see their relationship with money, and, lastly, the sub-item Behavior measures respondents’ daily actions (such as, for example, if they spend more than they earn, if they save money, and if they plan for their future) .






Both for family and personal income brackets, the level of financial education gets higher as the income brackets raise. For consumers with incomes above 10 minimum wages a month, the indicator reported a rate of 6.5, while for those earning up to on minimum wage, the score was 5.9. However, as we have noticed, it is not the Behavior dimension that improves with higher incomes, but the Attitude and Knowledge dimensions.





The indicator also shows different results by social class. Class AB scored as high as 6.3, while class C was rated 6.0, and class D/E, 5.7. Differences are driven by sub-items Knowledge and Attitude, since, in Behavior, they all show very close levels.


Individuals with university degree scored 6.4, while those with no access to education scored 5.6, showing that the level of education influences the way Brazilians deal with money, but at leaps: the first leap is illiteracy/never went to school to elementary school, with the second leap being university degree.

But, when it comes to gender, no change on education level is noticed. Men and women are tied, scoring 6.1 and 6.0, respectively. Thus, the Indicator points out that there is no significant difference between men and women. Both genders are technically tied, although men have slightly superior rates on items Knowledge and Attitude. But they do tie in the behavior dimension: men and women scored the same, i.e., 5.2.






Financial education levels also increase with age. Young adults, at the age of 16-17, scored 5.9, while the highest rate on this item was 6.2, among the age group of 55-64 years old, and the age group older than 65 years.






The Indicator also points out that people tend to have a higher financial education level the higher the number of family members who are involved on financial decision-making processes. The “rate” of the group of people who make decisions together with other family members is 6.3.  


Among individuals who reported saving money, the level of financial education is higher. The new index also reveals that 76% of consumers earning more than ten minimum wages a month have a savings account. This percentage is as low as 18% among those earning up to one minimum wage .







“The new Serasa Experian indicator shows that the sub-item Behavior was rated the lowest, because consumers tend to spend more than they earn, do not save money and do not plan for the future. They are beginners in terms of credit. The lack of information from credit grantors about consumers’ real indebtedness level contributed to millions of Brazilian families experiencing super indebtedness. The implementation of a positive credit file can, over time, avoid super indebtedness and improve Brazilians rate in terms of financial education”, said Serasa Experian Managing Director, Ricardo Loureiro.

For developing this new index, 2,002 individuals were interviewed in the first quarter of 2013. All respondents were over 16 years old, and lived in 142 different cities throughout all Brazilian states and the Federal District, including capital cities, in rural and urban areas. With the answers on hands, the researcher in charge of developing the method came up with the three assessment sub-items that resulted into the Serasa Experian’s Consumer Financial Education Indicator.

“With the Serasa Experian’s Consumer Financial Education Indicator, Brazil is now the first country in the world to have a methodology that allows us to know the level of financial education of the population. We will publish the Indicator on a yearly basis in order to support the measurement of results in companies, in the organized civil society, and in government bodies, which face the tough challenge of educating our consumers population on finances ”, said Loureiro.

The Serasa Experian’s Consumer Financial Education Indicator has been developed based on a university study, awarded in the third edition of the Serasa Experian’s Applied Research Incentive Program. This launching is a SerasaConsumidor initiative, a concept that encompasses company’s activities to help consumers to manage their finances, so as to support them in managing their credit reputation for their own well-being and development .

Serasa Experian’s Applied Research Incentive Program

Introduced in 2009, the Serasa Experian’s Applied Research Incentive Program aims to encourage and continuously foster innovation, as well as to develop further education, by offering scholarships for researchers, Master degree candidates, and coaching professors who conduct research on subject matters that are related to Serasa Experian business. This is the result of a close relationship between Serasa Experian and the university community, which started back in 1995. The collaboration for sharing knowledge has been adding new values to Serasa Experian’s mission, in addition to substantially contribute to education and to Brazilian society as a whole.

Eligible to the program are Master degree candidates and their coaches, as well as master and/or Ph.D.-level researchers, who are associated to a university or research institute.

In its fifth edition, the program has already received 255 project submissions, of which 21 have been awarded, benefiting 38 academicians. So far, over half million BRL has been invested on scholarships, which are provided during the twelve-month period of each edition of the program.

The Serasa Experian’s Consumer Financial Education Indicator has been developed based on a university study by professor Celso Matos, Ph.D., from UNISINOS/ Rio Grande do Sul, awarded in the third edition of the Research Incentive Program.

To learn more about the program, please visit: