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Financial Literacy Survey Exposes Significant Gaps

April 3, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) has released results of its 2012 Financial Literacy Survey, and the findings weren’t pretty.

In its sixth year, the survey revealed a disturbing lack of basic financial skills that are critical to building a stable financial future. The following are some of the findings:

• More than half of U.S. adults, 56 percent, admit that they do not have a budget;

• One-third of U.S. adults, or more than 77 million Americans, do not pay all of their bills on time;

• Thirty-nine percent of adults carry credit card debt over from month-to-month;

• Two in five adults indicated that they are now saving less than they were one year ago, and 39 percent do not have any non-retirement savings; and,

• Twenty-five percent of those who do not currently have non-retirement savings indicated that, if they did begin to save, they would keep their savings at home in cash.

“This year’s survey unveiled some disturbing trends, showing that a significant number of Americans are saving less, spending more, and carrying credit card debt over from month-to-month, suggesting that the painful financial lessons of the past are quickly being forgotten,” said Susan C. Keating, president and CEO of the NFCC.  “Coupled with the two in five adults who gave themselves a C, D, or F on their knowledge of personal finance, the need for an increase in financial education becomes not only clear, but urgent.”

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