Check out these personal finance questions, courtesy of the National Institute on Aging's Health and Retirement Study:
That's not the toughest test in the world, but only 34 percent — 34 percent! — of Americans surveyed correctly answered all three questions.
Here's the problem:
“If two-thirds of Americans were to fail a basic reading test, most people would call it a national crisis,” writes David Nicklaus in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We should hear a similar hue and cry about financial illiteracy, but we don't.”
If we expect people to accept responsibility for their own fiscal health, aren't we obligated to give them the tools they need to succeed? Don't we owe it to ourselves — and our economy — to teach them how to answer the questions above?
When people are illiterate, we teach them and make them literate — and we all benefit from that literacy.
Personal finance is no exception.
“At a time when budgets are tight, some administrators may complain that they can't afford to invest in financial literacy programs,” Nicklaus writes. “As a society, however, we can't afford not to.”
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