The goal of the current project was to examine whether engagement in intellectual/cultural activities explains the long-term effects of education on cognitive abilities throughout adulthood, and whether it compensates for educational differences in cognitive abilities throughout adulthood. Participants between 18 and 96 years of age completed a comprehensive questionnaire about intellectual/cultural activities that they participated in and performed a wide variety of cognitive tests. There were no mediation effects of engagement in intellectual/cultural activities on the relationship between education and cognitive functioning. In contrast, engagement in intellectual/cultural activities was found to moderate the relations between education and the level of fluid ability, working memory, speed of processing, and episodic memory. Findings suggest that the risk of cognitive decline in people with less education can be reduced via engagement in intellectual and cultural activities throughout adulthood.