It can be difficult for an individual to create a strong personal finance plan if they have never been taught about the importance of budgeting and financial strategies, which is why many Americans want some changes made in education.
A total of 91 percent of individuals felt that high schools should mandate personal finance education in order to graduate, a report from American Consumer Credit Counseling explained. Another 33 percent of parents noted that they feel better about talking to their children about smoking, bullying and drugs than they do about finances.
“There is a growing financial literacy gap acknowledged by parents and teens alike,” said Steve Trumble, president and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “Money is never an easy topic to discuss but, by not doing so, we are failing to equip students with the necessary skills to succeed in the future.”
Just 36 percent of teens explained in 2011 that they were able to determine if their bank statement was accurate or balance a checkbook, according to the report. In 2007, 52 percent of teens noted this.
Approximately 93 percent of those polled felt that children need to be taught about saving money, the report noted. Another 87 percent felt that children are better off learning about how credit cards work.
Close to 45 percent also said that personal finance education needs to begin when children are between the ages of 5 and 10.
Some younger Americans are managing finances well
Even with the need for financial education at young ages, some people who are just entering the working world may be in good shape. According to a report from Northwestern Mutual, 30 percent of millennials are making plans for their finances with gradual growth in mind.
“Many twentysomethings have fairly straightforward finances at this stage in their lives, so it makes sense that only a small percentage work with advisors,” said Greg Oberland, executive vice president at Northwestern Mutual. “But clearly, the appetite and attitudes make for great opportunity. For advisors, the message is clear – if they can meet in kind the interest, discipline and humility of millennials, they may very well have relationships for a lifetime.”
Some are also looking to get even better with their finances. The report added that nearly 70 percent of those polled felt that they could learn more and grow regarding financial management.