April is National Financial Literacy Month – an entire month dedicated to underscoring the importance of learning, establishing and maintaining healthy financial habits.
But ask yourself this: what have you learned about anything financial lately? Do most of your neighbors keep a household budget or save for retirement? Does your cousin live hand-to-mouth? Do you understand compound interest? Or know what the Dow Jones Industrial Average is? Is gold worth its own weight?
Sadly, it is likely that you did not know that money habits of the average American reveal that:
Our collective debt best illustrates why we need to increase financial literacy in America. More than a third of U.S. adults worry they won’t save enough by retirement, student-loan debt is measured in the trillions and almost half of American adults say they lack enough money for emergencies.
Savings and investing go together these days, as 401(k)s and other nest eggs rise and fall in value as the markets gyrate.
But according to a Gallup poll, Americans’ opinions on long-term investments vary sharply – and reflect misconceptions – depending on income and age:
We seem frank about our financial shortcomings: Two out of five adults give themselves average or failing grades on personal finance. Moreover, only 33% of parents talk to their kids about money.
By understanding how to better manage money and make the most of limited resources, many Americans can improve personal financial situations. Where did you learn about personal finance – and do you keep trying to learn more?
We also appear ready and eager to inject financial literacy into formal education. More than half (52%) of teens want to learn more about handling money and are most interested in budgeting, saving, checking accounts and investing.
Most (85%) American parents also think high school graduation requirements need to include a course in personal finance.
The Internet offers a wealth of information on finance – but when you don’t understand why you need to use it, you’re unlikely to pursue this information on your own.
Do so anyway and lift yourself out of these grim statistics.
And talk to your financial advisor and ask for some help.