Why Are So Many Americans Financially Dumb?

by : Valerie Mills

Yeah, we are a nation of financial dummies.

1. Look at all the worthless get-rich schemes on the Net and TV. These ads exist BECAUSE people are buying.

2. Watch the confused look on the cashier’s face when you hand over extra coins AFTER the register displays your change.

3. Witness the people standing in line overnight for the privilege of “25% savings." Aren’t they waiting to SPEND money?

If you’re a non-believer, read these statistics:

1. According to fool.com, “68% PER CENT of graduating high school seniors surveyed by the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy failed a personal finance test in 2002, compared with 44% who failed in 1997."

2. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group states that “40 percent of college students are graduating with unmanageable levels of student loan debt, and half of those have an average credit card debt of $3000."

3. Near retirement age baby boomers have saved only 12% of what they think they will need for retirement.


The U.S. Public Interest Research Group attributes the debt issue to rising costs.

The deputy assistant secretary for financial education at the Treasury department testified before the House, "The downstream, adult problems of rising bankruptcy rates, low savings rates and misuse of credit can all be traced upstream to how our schools FAIL TO adequately prepare children for their financial futures."

So far, the reasons why we we’re financially dumb are because of rising costs and inadequate schooling. But clearly, these are not all the contributing factors…

There are other reasons, including...

1. Math skills are declining. This is the author’s observation. It’s based on teaching high school math 30 years ago compared to teaching college-level math in 2003. Kids in the same area are less skilled than 30 years ago.

2. Parents forget they are financial role models. They miss opportunities to develop their kids money smarts.


Hate to ride the “family values train" because there are conflicts with the conductor. And the author’s opinion is an educated guess.

But, parents, consider this...your kids reflect your money habits, attitudesFree Articles, and behavior. What are YOU teaching your kids about money?