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Financial Literacy: Facts For Parents

Did You Know?

Financial literacy is a big problem nationally.

Americans' understanding of how to manage money is decreasing, not increasing. According to, the amount that Americans owe on loans for houses, cars, credit cards, and other purchases adds up to nearly 100% of their annual income after taxes, up from 75% in 1992. Another study found that 20 percent of families earning less than $50,000 a year spend nearly half of their income on debt payments. Sources: Business Week Online 8/3/2002, Credit Union National Associates 2002.

Most teens handle money poorly.

In a survey by Teenage Research Unlimited, teens said they spend 98% of their money instead of saving it. Of the 4,000 students who took the Jump$tart personal finance survey in 2002, 68.1% received failing scores. Sources: Teenage Research Unlimited 2001, and Jump$tart Coalition 2002, reported on

Most teens know very little about finances.

In a survey, only 21% of students aged 16 to 22 said they have taken a personal finance course in school. Only 26% of 13- to 21-year-olds said their parents taught them how to manage money. And only 7% of parents said their children have a good understanding of financial matters. Source: Youth and Money Survey, ASEC, 1999 and/or 2001, reported on

For more helpful information for families on school topics, call 410/727-0448.