Financial Literacy

How Financially Savvy Are Today’s Young Adults?

Money Management Knowledge test indicate there is ‘room for improvement’

A new survey from the National Financial Educators Council (NFEC) suggest many lack the ‘basic financial knowledge’ needed to make informed decisions. Access the test results here. Take the test here.

LAS VEGAS, March 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The National Financial Educators Council (NFEC) highlights results from its financial literacy testing data annually and has reported on 119,813 across the past decade. Over the past year, the NFEC recently asked 7,246 people across all 50 US states to respond to a test measuring their current personal finance knowledge. The results were broken down into six age groups as follows:


  • Average score of those aged 10 – 14 years old: 57.41%
  • Average score of those aged 15 – 18 years old: 65.82%
  • Average score of those aged 19 – 24 years old: 71.11%
  • Average score of those aged 25 – 35 years old: 75.57%
  • Average score of those aged 36 – 50 years old: 75.44%
  • Average score of those aged 51+ years old: 76.54%

Notably, among the 15-18 age range, a proportion of 1.13:1 “failed” the quiz by earning a score lower than 70%, indicating significant room for improvement in youth and young adult financial literacy.

Test questions were designed to measure knowledge around the 10 topic areas covered in the NFEC’s Financial Literacy Framework & Standards, the first national standards guiding money management education and educator training. The test evaluated three essential areas defining an individual’s financial wellness: learning motivation, subject understanding, and identification of the first steps toward securing one’s financial future.

Many Americans Lack ‘Basic Knowledge’

“This nationwide test demonstrates that many Americans lack the basic financial knowledge they need to make informed financial decisions. This knowledge gap can have consequences that extend into many other areas of their lives.” – Vince Shorb, CEO, National Financial Educators Council

The NFEC acknowledges that while testing represents an indicator of content knowledge, unlike other subjects typically taught in school, financial literacy requires more than just understanding content. Learners also must be able to modify their daily financial behaviors and possess enough confidence in their abilities to make qualified financial decisions.

This nationwide test demonstrates that many Americans lack the basic financial knowledge they need to make informed financial decisions...

In addition, the NFEC posted results from three other tests in advance of Financial Literacy Month:

Financial Foundation Test: This short, 8-question quiz determines participants’ capability to make entry-level financial decisions. A total of 27,164 people responded, with an average score of 73.52%; and 33.39% failed to score 70% or higher. See the full results here.

Advanced Financial Education Test: This money management test asked higher-level questions about financial literacy. Among 10811 participants, the average score was just 57.69% and 57.73% scored lower than 70%. See the full results here.

Student Loan Test: This quiz was designed for college-bound youth and current college students, assessing their ability to make responsible student loan decisions. Among 8361 respondents, the average score was 59.29% and 65.70% earned failing scores (below 70%). See the complete results here.

The National Financial Educators Council (NFEC)’s Financial Literacy Testing and Survey Center sponsored these quizzes. The Center offers over 30 complimentary surveys and tests online for both individuals and organizations. Assessments are automatically graded so people can view their scores immediately upon completion. Organizations can leverage these tools to move their financial education program goals forward. Learn more at the Financial Literacy Test & Survey Center assessment page.




About NFEC
The NFEC is a social enterprise organization dedicated to improving financial capabilities on a global scale. The organization enlists organizations and advocates to spread the financial literacy message throughout communities by offering free resources, training, and tools. The NFEC created the Financial Literacy Test & Survey Center to help establish baseline measures of personal finance knowledge and valid instruments to evaluate the impact of financial education programs.


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