Financial literacy: What’s your grade?
More people are giving themselves higher marks for being money-savvy, but survey indicates many still need help.
In the weeks preceding Financial Literacy Month, the fourth annual Consumer Financial Literacy Survey asked people to grade themselves. Are they getting smarter about money?
“In 2009, 41% graded themselves as C, D or F, with only 34% falling into that category in 2010,” says the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, which sponsored the survey.
The survey showed that people have gotten a bit more money-savvy in the last few years, but the results were a mixed bag. Considering that April is Financial Literacy Month, isn’t now a good time to take stock of yourself? Ask yourself these questions:
Do you budget? According to the survey results, 43% of respondents keep track of their overall spending, up from 39% in 2007. However, 56% don’t budget, and 5% don’t know how much they spend on food, housing, and entertainment and are generally clueless about where their money goes each month.
Do you have nonretirement savings? You know -- money that would come in handy if you were laid off or stuck in Europe by a cloud of volcanic ash. NFCC said 67% have savings readily available, up from 63% on 2007. However, 30% have no savings, and that number jumps to 39% for Gen Y adults. Only 24% of respondents said they’re saving more now because of the recession.
Do you pay all your bills on time? A total of 28% -- that’s 64 million people -- confessed that they don’t.
Among other findings:
- 67% pay for most purchases with debit cards or cash, but 41% have credit card debt, and 5% carry a balance of at least $10,000 from month to month.
- 65% haven’t ordered a free credit report in the last 12 months, and 31% don’t know their credit score, which means a surprising number do. Do you know yours?
Here’s another statistic that was less of a surprise: A third of the people who have a mortgage “say that the terms of their mortgage somehow turned out to be different than they expected.” Guess they didn’t read the fine print.
Also, “80% of adults feel there are situations where it is acceptable to default on a mortgage, and two of the top three most justifiable circumstances place the blame on the lender.”
- Video: Rising foreclosures hit home
You can find links to the entire survey report at this Web page.
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