Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What's Your Financial Fitness Score?

Most Americans need a wake-up call when it comes to personal finances. Are you one of the happy exceptions?

How bad is bad?

Click here to test your financial literacyStudy after study shows that many consumers lack an understanding of basic financial skills:

  • Personal savings as a percentage of disposable personal income is currently 2.5% in June 2008.

    Bureau of Economic Analysis

  • 30% of Americans aren't saving now for retirement, and 50% of workers have less than $25,000 in total savings and investments.

    Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2007 Retirement Confidence Survey

  • In the first quarter of 2008, household debt averaged 132.4% of disposable income.

    Center for American Progress, August 2008

  • In 2007, more than 822,000 households filed for bankruptcy.

    American Bankruptcy Institute

  • Only seven states require students to complete a course that includes personal finance before graduating from high school.

    Survey of The States by the National Council on Economic Education, June 2007

  • Less than one-fourth of college students say they feel very well prepared to deal with post-graduate financial challenges.

    The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. survey, February 2007

Why should we care?

Without a good handle on personal finances, we make poor spending decisions, max out several credit cards, don't save for emergencies, can't balance our share draft/checking accounts, don't check our credit reports for errors, pay higher interest rates, become more likely to have our identities stolen, get defrauded by unscrupulous auto dealers and Web crooks, make poor investment choices, and underestimate our financial needs in retirement.

It doesn't have to be that way. The answer: Financial literacy. Knowledge. Master a few skills and get with the program.

What's your score?

Our online financial literacy quiz is based on the quiz used for National Consumer Protection Week a few years ago. We will tally quiz responses in the aggregate (that means we can't pin any answers to any individual) and use them only for the purpose of writing more articles about financial literacy in general.

Join thousands of others taking the quiz. It will help you figure out what you know and what you don't know. It might be the reassurance that you're on track, or it just may be that wake-up call you've needed to take the first step toward improving your financial future.

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