The Pulse

Are You Financially Smarter Than A 12th Grader?

Students at top ten schools score an “F” in financial literacy assessment

A new report from Goalsetter shows quiz results expose concerning gaps in personal finance knowledge among the country’s brightest minds. Download the report here or take the quiz here.

NEW YORK, April 1, 2024 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Goalsetter, an award-winning family financial education-focused spending and savings platform, today released the findings of its latest study, “Are You Financially Smarter Than a 12th Grader?”, a revealing look at the state of financial literacy for students in America’s top universities. The results of the quiz found widespread deficiency in the understanding of core personal finance concepts, with students scoring an average of 51% on the quiz.

The assessment, conducted by Goalsetter, evaluated the financial literacy levels of 1065 undergraduate students at three of the Top Ten universities through an online quiz mapped to Jumpstart.org and the Council for Economic Education (CEE) high school financial literacy standards. The results exposed a startling gap in basic financial knowledge, indicating a pressing need for enhanced financial education initiatives for U.S. teens and young adults.

Prior to taking the quiz, 55% of students believed that they had “a solid understanding of core personal finance concepts.” After responding to the 15 quiz questions, the percentage of students who felt confident about their knowledge dropped to 30%.

Key findings of the assessment include:

  • Below Average Scores: On average, students scored 51% with underclassmen scoring even lower at 48%, both of which would be considered failing grades.
  • Budgets and Saving: Not surprisingly, 93% of students surveyed have a debit card, indicating their familiarity with spending. However, only 48% understood the power of compound interest, and only 47% knew the 50/30/20 rule of budgeting.
  • Credit and Debt Management: While 70% reported having a credit card, the majority don’t understand recommended strategies for managing credit card debt.
  • Investing and Retirement: Of the 1,065 students who took the quiz, 58% plan to retire early, but only about half of those who do understand what an IRA is.

“The results of this study underscore the critical need for earlier preparation when it comes to financial education,” said Tanya Van Court, CEO of Goalsetter. “When we put debit and credit cards into kids’ hands as teenagers, but don’t teach them core concepts of saving, investing, and budgeting, we are teaching them to be proficient “senders and spenders” of money rather than savers and investors. No single socio-economic group is immune from the danger that a lack of financial literacy poses. Cultivating a financially literate future generation contributes to ensuring the economic security of our nation.”

The Need For Early Preparation

When we put debit and credit cards into kids' hands as teenagers, but don't teach them core concepts of saving, investing, and budgeting, we are teaching them to be proficient "senders and spenders" of money rather than savers and investors...

The results of the Goalsetter quiz are in line with the 2022 TIAA Institute-GFLEC Personal Finance index, which found that when testing adults on their financial literacy, on average, they could only answer about 50% of the 28 basic money questions that were used to gauge their knowledge. More importantly, approximately (23%) got seven or fewer questions correct, the worst results of any year the survey was administered.

“When we fail to prepare our children with the financial knowledge they will need for everyday decisions, we set them up to learn by trial and error, making them susceptible to expensive mistakes,” said Van Court. “Moreover, we prevent them from starting their wage-earning years with the foundational knowledge that is essential for building wealth. Time is a critical component of the wealth-building equation. Every year they lack financial knowledge is a year that will likely detract from their eventual net worth. Learning concepts when you’re 28 that you should have learned by the time you were 18 is a costly delay.”

Learn Before You Burn

As part of its advocacy, Goalsetter is leading efforts to provide game-based financial education built into teen debit cards, including features like “Learn Before you Burn”, which freezes kids’ debit cards if they haven’t taken their financial literacy quiz for the week yet.

Goalsetter also offers weekly financial education quizzes for Kindergarten through College, mapped to National financial literacy standards published by the Council for Economic Education and Jumpstart.org.

Finally, Goalsetter partners with banks, credit unions, and wealth management institutions to provide its next-generation education and banking solution to kids across the nation. The Goalsetter platform allows financial institutions to provide a white-label youth banking product, and also sponsor a robust suite of middle school, high school and community college curriculum.

The curriculum covers basic concepts such as budgeting, saving, interest rates and debt management, as well as investing, retirement planning, and long-term wealth building.

For more information on the “Are You Financially Smarter Than a 12th Grader?” quiz and to access the full report, visit https://goalsetter.co/financial-literacy-quiz/.

 

 

 

About Goalsetter
Founded in 2016, the affiliated Goalsetter Companies are family saving, investing, financial education, and smart spending platforms that make it easy for the whole family to go cashless while teaching them how to be money smart. Centered around fun, relevant, and engaging financial education content, Goalsetter companies’ smart money platform for families provides users with an FDIC-Insured Savings Account; an investment platform powered by Goalsetter Advisors, LLC (an SEC registered investment advisor); the Mastercard Cashola teen and tween debit card with parental controls, game-based financial education quizzes; the “Learn before you Burn” parental control feature on the debit card and the “Learn to Earn” financial reward program; as well as the latest cybersecurity features to protect user privacy. Goalsetter was founded by former Nickelodeon and Discovery Education children’s digital programming executive Tanya Van Court. For more about Goalsetter visit www.goalsetter.co.

 

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