And they blame their parents for their ignorance

They clothe, feed, and house you for years. But your parents have failed you when it comes to your personal finance knowledge.

Equifax’s second annual financial literacy survey shows that only one-third of respondents would say they’re average when it comes to financial literacy; 40 percent gave themselves a grade of “B.” When asked where they learned their (lack of) smarts, 41 percent said their parents.

“Without an understanding of credit and your own behaviors, it can become challenging to do some of the basic fundamentals such as save for retirement, establish an emergency savings account, or move beyond living paycheck to paycheck,” says Dann Adams, president of Global Consumer Solutions at Equifax.

Credit confusion

One-third of respondents believe checking your credit report impacts your credit score, says the survey . Thirty percent believe an interest rate on credit cards or car loans influences credit scores. Another 23 percent believe a change in salary has an effect. None actually do.

Despite the lack of knowledge on what influences credit scores many still make their financial goals. More than 60 percent of those surveyed are confident or extremely confident about their short-term financial futures. Baby boomers are the most confident in their financial futures, while Gen Xers are the least, according to the survey.

2017 Equifax Financial Literacy Survey (PRNewsfoto/Equifax Inc.)

Where should we get our education?

According to the Equifax survey, one in five Americans know more about national politics than they do about their own credit histories. Even though many of the respondents are taking steps to educate themselves by reading financial articles online (45 percent are doing this), 38 percent admitted they aren’t doing anything specific at all.

Just because we don’t know much about credit now doesn’t mean we want the same for future generations. Ninety percent believe personal finance should be a required course to graduate high school.

Financial illiteracy is a huge problem in America. Last year, an in-depth study showed that no state in the United States has an A in financial literacy, and only four states achieved an A-. Almost half got a C or worse. Mississippi was the lone state with a failing grade.

It’s never too early in life to learn

Experts believe we need to learn financial literacy at a young age, with testing just like math or reading. Even starting in high school would be beneficial to young people to encourage them to talk about finances at home.

And home is where money talk should be encouraged. Many parents are interested in talking to their kids about saving, but that’s about it. And it could be because they don’t actually know enough about the ins and outs of money to educate their children.

Because parents are vastly misinformed about money, they are passing along their bad money habits to their children. So how can older Americans learn financial literacy?

Experts suggest workplaces as a great place to start, and employees are interested in it. Before 401(k)s and investments, employees are looking for general financial advice to teach them even the basics of saving, spending, budgeting, investing, and others. The more younger generations know about financial literacy early on, the sooner they can educate those that come after them.

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Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn


Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Budgeting & Saving, Retirement

financial literacy, infographic, parents, save money

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Article last modified on September 12, 2018 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Americans Agree with Research: They Aren’t Financially Literate - AMP.