As many young Americans continue to struggle with financial literacy and money management, national financial education nonprofit survey reveals a strong demand for increased financial education in the classroom.
Boston, MA – May 6, 2014
Ninety-one percent of Americans believe personal finance should be a required subject to graduate from high school, according to a recent online poll conducted by American Consumer Credit Counseling. This survey comes as teens’ knowledge of money, including how to balance a checkbook or check the accuracy of a bank statement, declined from 52 percent in 2007 to 36 percent in 2011. And it’s not just parents who are looking for more financial education in the classroom. A recent Sallie Mae poll found that eighty-four percent of high school students also would like more emphasis on the topic at school.
While the demand for early financial education is high, there is still a lack of communication about the topic. According to the Council for Economic Education, one-third of parents are more comfortable talking about smoking, drugs, and bullying than discussing personal finance with their kids.
“There is a growing financial literacy gap acknowledged by parents and teens alike,” said Steve Trumble, president and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “Money is never an easy topic to discuss, but by not doing so, we are failing to equip students with the necessary skills to succeed in the future.”
Of the 337 consumers surveyed in the recent ACCC web poll, 93 percent say that the importance of saving is a financial topic that should be taught to children and 87 percent believe that children benefit from learning about credit cards. Additionally, 43 percent of those surveyed believe children should start learning about personal finance and money management as early as age five to ten.
Even though a majority of Americans believe that schools should include personal finance training in their curriculums, few schools actually test student aptitude on the subject. According to a survey conducted by the Council for Economic Education, only six states require the testing of student knowledge in personal finance. Moreover, the study found that students from states with required financial education courses are more likely to display positive financial behaviors and dispositions.
“Financially literate students translate into financially savvy adults” added Trumble. “There is tremendous value in personal financial education, especially in today’s struggling and unstable economy.”
The survey also found that many parents are uneasy when it comes to talking to their children about personal finance – only 37 percent of parents talk to their children about personal finance more than once a month.
“Conversations about money aren’t easy, especially if you feel that your own financial literacy leaves much to be desired, but the lack of conversation, coupled with the absence of classroom training, puts the youth at a significant disadvantage,” Trumble added. “But one of the best gifts we can provide our children is to teach them to avoid some of the mistakes that we may have made in our own youth, and to give them the opportunity of a debt-free future.”
In April, ACCC launched a parent’s guide to teaching children about money to help youth of all ages, from kindergarten through high school, understand the basics of money management issues including saving, credit, and the value of a dollar.
The online resource provides parents with interactive workbooks and guides to help their children develop healthy financial habits. The program identifies five critical money management steps for each age group including the value of a dollar, knowing the difference between needs and wants, budgeting, saving, and understanding credit cards. Each stage of the program is accompanied by an interactive workbook that provides parents with important tools and resources to engage their child.
ACCC’s Five Steps to Teach Children About Money and additional resources for parents can be found online at ACCC’s Youth and Money section. Parents can access all of the age-appropriate guides for free so that they can start talking to their kids today about topics such as saving, budgeting, and many others.
American Consumer Credit Counseling’s certified and experienced counselors offer a variety of financial education, counseling, and debt management services to help consumers achieve long-term financial health and stability. To learn more about these resources or to speak with a representative about what steps consumers need to take before signing up for a credit card, please visit ACCC’s Financial Fitness Center at www.consumercredit.com
ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management.
For more information, contact ACCC:
- For credit counseling, call 800-769-3571
- For bankruptcy counseling. call 866-826-6924
- For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
- Or visit us online at ConsumerCredit.com
About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management and debt relief through education, credit counseling, and debt management solutions. Each month, ACCC invites consumers to participate in a poll focused on personal finance issues. The results are conveyed in the form of infographics that act as tools to educate the community on everyday personal finance issues and problems. By learning more about financial management topics such as credit and debt management, consumers are empowered to make the best possible financial decisions to reach debt relief. As one of the nation’s leading providers of personal finance education and credit counseling services, ACCC’s certified credit advisors work with consumers to help determine the best possible debt solutions for them. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. To participate in this month’s poll, visit ConsumerCredit.com and for more financial management resources visit TalkingCentsBlog.com.