Survey: Americans Benefit From Financial Education but Receive Too Little of It – Especially Women

New research from MoneyRates.com indicates that financial education in high school helps people feel more comfortable with money as adults, but that most adults today received little or no instruction of this sort. This problem appears especially acute among women.

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Time and again we hear that people who are overwhelmed with debt didn’t know what they were getting into. And yet, our schools continue to fail to prepare students with this essential set of life skills.

Foster City, Calif. (PRWEB) August 21, 2014

Nearly two-thirds of American adults say they received little or no instruction on financial matters in high school, according to new research from MoneyRates.com, and this group reports being significantly less comfortable with money today than adults who say they received more instruction.

Of the 64 percent who said they received little or no financial instruction in high school, only 19 percent said they consider themselves fluent today in matters of personal finance. Respondents who said they received a lot of instruction in high school were more than three times as likely to consider themselves fluent, at 61 percent.

Additionally, compared to those who reported receiving some or a lot of financial education, respondents who reported receiving little or no financial education were twice as likely to say that they lack a strong understanding of personal finance basics (32 percent versus 16 percent).

“This represents a serious gap in our educational system,” says Richard Barrington, CFA, senior financial analyst for MoneyRates.com. “We have a society that’s riddled with debt problems, and time and time again we hear that people who are overwhelmed with debt didn’t know what they were getting into. And yet, our schools continue to fail to prepare students with this essential set of life skills.”

While this overall lack of financial education may seem striking, the problem was even more pronounced among women. Only 29 percent of the women surveyed reported receiving some or a lot of financial education in high school, compared to 43 percent of men. The results indicate that both men and women feel more comfortable with money as adults when they receive more financial education in high school.

Despite the lack of education reported by respondents, 88 percent said they believe financial education should be at least available to high school students today. Sixty-two percent said they believe that financial education should be compulsory for high school students.

Barrington says that parents can help improve their children’s financial educations by searching for elective classes in financial subjects at their children’s schools and looking for teachable moments in everyday life that can help impart financial lessons.

“The ideal solution would be for schools to step up to the plate and fill the gap in financial education,” says Barrington. “But you can’t count on that happening anytime soon. So, the best way to make sure your kids get the financial skills they need is to take the responsibility upon yourself.”

For more details on the survey, as well as more detailed tips from Barrington on improving children’s financial educations, please see the full feature on MoneyRates.com.

Methodology

The survey was conducted for MoneyRates.com by Op4G in June 2014. It surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults age 25 or older, with an even split between men and women.

About MoneyRates.com

MoneyRates.com has been a leading source of information on bank rates, personal finance, savings accounts and investing since 1999. The site seeks to provide the highest rates on CDs, money market accounts and high-yield savings accounts. MoneyRates.com is owned and operated by QuinStreet, Inc. (NASDAQ: QNST), one of the largest Internet marketing and media companies in the world. QuinStreet is committed to providing consumers and businesses with the information they need to find, research and select the products, services and brands that best meet their needs. The company is a leader in visitor-friendly marketing practices. For more information, please visit QuinStreet.com.

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