In a weak, recovering economy and at a time when information is more easily available than ever before, it seems logical that households – particularly lower-income households, would have improved their financial literacy. Unfortunately, according to polls conducted by the National Finance Center and other research groups cited below, the problem is worse than it was last year.
There is plenty of blame to pass around for the shock of the 2007-09 financial crisis, but one party includes borrowers who took advantage of historically low financing rates without having the cash reserves necessary to withstand market fluctuations. As one panelist at the 2012 Financial Literacy and Education Summit hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago put it, “Individuals without emergency savings lack a buffer against unexpected financial shocks, threatening their personal financial stability, as well as decreasing [the] stability of the economy as a whole.”
In America, the financial literacy report card isn’t pretty. The U.S. ranked next to last in international surveys; most kids learn money management skills from their parents, and most parents aren’t very good at managing their money.
While some states quarrel over whether or not to add creationism into their curriculum, only 13 states require personal finance courses. See the full results in the infographic below: