The (NFEC) released their report from the National Financial Literacy Test and the results were depressing. The NFEC surveyed 11,000 people from all 50 states and the average score from 15-18-year-olds was 60.35%. By accepted , that is a failing grade.
What was the most missed question among 15-18-year-olds? “If I invest $100 per month starting at age 21, and that money earns a 7% return, how much will I have after 70 years?” It was a multiple-choice question with the possible answers being:
If you are scratching your head, don’t scare me; I’ll help you out. The correct answer is “C.”
When asked the question “… [What] financial product(s) can help you lower your personal risk?” The adults fared a little better, with 77 percent of 50+ adults answering the question correctly. Sixty percent of 15-18-year-olds got it. The answer is “Insurance.” Again, these are pathetic results from both age groups.
How can adults feel good about their financial knowledge and planning when they are flunking real life tests? For me, they are talking the talk, but not walking the walk. The , prepared for The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and Boeing Employees’ Credit Union (BECU), proves the point. Of 1,668 adults in the United States sampled, “Once again, in 2016, two in five U.S. adults (40%) – a proportion that has held roughly steady since 2007 – say they have a budget and keep close track of their spending.” The survey goes on to say, that most respondents feel knowledgeable about money. “In 2016, a little over half of U.S. adults (56%) – down a little from the last 3 years… give themselves a grade of A or B on their knowledge of personal finance.”
The “feel good” part may belie the facts. According to a report from the (EPI), “The State of American Retirement,” nearly half of families have no retirement savings at all. EPI reports that the mean retirement savings are just $95,776. If half have this amount, it indicates that many have no savings at all and the super savers are pulling up the numbers. A better gauge is the medium for all families. Hold on to your hats; the median retirement savings is $5,000.