THE CASE FOR FINANCIAL LITERACY IN HIGH SCHOOL

Just 39% of Americans say they have enough savings to cover $1,000 unexpected expense. A recent FINRA study indicated that only 24% of Millennials (ages 18 to 34) surveyed could answer four out of five questions correctly in a financial literacy quiz.

In 2017 Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College in Vermont looked at high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine how well they are delivering personal finance education. Only five states – Utah, Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee and Virginia – scored an A.

Overall less than half got an A or B – you know the kind of grade that a parent would love to see on their kids’ report card.

Twenty-seven states received C, D or F; 30% had grades D or F.

While the stats above are disappointing, in a recent survey we conducted via Finhive blog, only 10% of the respondents correctly answered their State’s grade. Most respondents believed their State was doing better than it really did, which shows how few of us know state of the state of financial education in our schools.

The grades received by the States on their FinLit programs demonstrate that 90% of the States have significant improvements to make, and then there is the issue of how few of us actually know where our State stands when it comes to financial literacy. A potential silver lining would be if the kids were getting their financial education at home. But, unfortunately, a Charles Schwab survey indicated that parents are nearly as uncomfortable talking to their children about money as they are discussing sex. So, if kids don’t learn it in school, they are definitely not learning it at home.

See how your State scored using the chart below*.


The Champlain College study is conducted every 2 years, but don’t expect the grade to change the next time unless the citizens demand that personal finance education be imparted at our schools. Together, let’s improve the sobering stat that currently 76% of adults in the country live paycheck-to-paycheck (CFSI). It will take more than the right education to make a change, but financial literacy is certainly a good first step.


* Findings from the 2017 National Report Card on State Efforts to Improve Financial Literacy in High Schools (published by the Center For Financial Literacy at Champlain College)

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