News & Resources

Survey: Americans lack financial skills

May 22, 2012 Walt Wojciechowski

There is a growing frequency of news stories covering the ever-rising credit, medical and student debt that is plaguing American consumers. So it should come as no surprise to anyone, least of all extremely busy debt collection agents, that the majority of U.S. citizens do not know what they're doing when it comes to budgeting, bill paying or saving.   The 2012 Financial Literacy Survey published by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association shows that there is a lack of basic financial knowledge for many American adults. One-third of Americans, or approximately 77 million citizens, do not pay their bills on time, which often leads to the involvement of debt collectors. The study also found 39 percent carry credit card debt over each month and an additional 39 percent have no non-retirement savings accounts. Should an emergency or unexpected charge come up, most of these citizens would have to rely on approval of short-term loans. Many Americans learn financial planning from their families, the Boston Globe explained. Establishing good practices from a young age and knowing financial options are keystones to consumer finance, Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, senior vice president at Schwab, told the source. Americans could also further investigate credit information by contacting credit unions or credit bureaus to examine their situation.