New Report Highlights Financial Literacy Challenges
Fewer than four-in-10 Americans say they have the knowledge to make “smart financial decisions” according to a new Webster Bank study.
The bank’s inaugural Financial Empowerment Study gauged awareness of available tools and resources and assessed financial education, health, and needs.
Just 27% of U.S. consumers reported receiving any type of financial education in middle or high school.
And those that did take financial literacy classes say they were more likely to feel in control of their finances (49%) than those that did not (25%).
“Over half of Americans are concerned about their financial situation and they don’t feel confident in their knowledge to address it,” said Webster Bank chief corporate responsibility officer Marissa Weidner.
Webster Bank commissioned independent market research firm 8 Acre Perspective to survey 1,500 U.S. adults aged 21-79—including 250 Connecticut residents—in September 2023.
The survey’s findings included:
- 36% feel they can make smart financial decision
- 36% say when it comes to saving and investing they “don’t know where to start”
- 55% worry a lot about their financial situation compared to 32% who feel fully in control
- 31% have no emergency fund savings and only 23% have a fund that could cover more than six months of expenses
The survey also found that almost two-thirds of Americans are not saving enough for retirement, with 36% saying they “just don’t know where to start” when it comes to saving and investing.
Over two-thirds (67%) want to improve their financial knowledge, saying they are interested in tools and resources to more effectively manage personal finances.
High School Curriculum
Connecticut is one of 23 states that requires the completion of a personal finance curriculum to graduate from high school, with the legislature enacting that requirement this year.
Weidner called Connecticut’s new law “a great step forward.”
“We have seen a lot of movement on both the statewide and community level,” she said.
“We are proud to work closely with nonprofits across our footprint to expand our Finance Lab initiative, and our Junior Achievement partners, to provide the tools and resources for youth to take control of their financial wellbeing at an earlier age.
“We know there is more to do to expand access and create opportunity, all of which helps drive economic vitality in our communities.”
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