Report: Nearly Half of Americans Lack Financial Literacy

Nearly half of Americans lack basic financial literacy, and many young people are not being educated in this crucial topic, according to a new report from Patriot Bank, N.A. Overall, 43% of U.S. adults lack a basic understanding of financial skills, including proficiency in simple concepts of saving, investing, and debt, according to Patriot.

American teens fall behind their international counterparts in an 18-country assessment by the Organization for Economic Cooperations, with 18% of American teens not reaching basic proficiency in financial literacy, as compared to 15% globally.

Patriot Bank Commitment to Financial Literacy Locally, Connecticut earned an “F” in providing financial literacy education. Additionally, half its residents are not saving for retirement.

The report Commitment to Financial Literacy 2017, by Patriot Bank, N.A., sounds the alarm on this urgent problem and helps identify opportunities for young people to acquire the financial skills that will help better secure their future. It outlines:

  • What financial literacy is and its lifelong importanc
  • Financial literacy impacts on everyday life
  • Why financial literacy education in Connecticut was graded “F” and New York “B”
  • Free resources & educational tools for educators and parents

“Patriot Bank is launching this important effort in the communities we serve to help provide the next generation with tools and resources to make smarter financial decisions,” said Richard Muskus, Patriot Bank President. “Financial literacy is a critical skill that is valuable at every stage of life and can have significant long-term effects. We are proud to partner with local schools and community organizations to help empower the younger generation to realize a stronger financial future.”

Among the topics covered in the 24-page report is the fact that Americans are beginning to experience the so-called “Great Transfer” of wealth, in which Baby Boomers will pass along an estimated $30 trillion of life savings to their children. Patriot Bank believes it is essential to equip the next generation with the financial literacy skills they need.

Financial literacy helps people judge and balance budgets, be they a teen managing a cell phone plan or dreaming of college or an adult struggling to make rent or mortgage payments, or saving for retirement.

There are no national educational standards for financial literacy, with requirements being determined at the state and local levels. In Connecticut, high schools do not require personal finance courses. In New York, the subject is incorporated in a half-year economics course.

To address some of these problems, Patriot Bank is offering educational seminars and resources to help local schools, veterans groups, community organizations, and parents teach this critical skill, including at Housatonic Community College, Trinity Catholic High School, Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester and more.

To learn more, download Commitment to Financial Literacy 2017 here.