Question: Are Your Students Smarter Than The Average American?

Nov 19, 2015
Research, Investing, Financial Literacy, Current Events, Math, Quizzes, Compound Interest

You know that sports cheer “We’re #1?” Well, when it comes to personal finance, the U.S. comes in #14 according to a recent global survey of financial literacy.

Here are the five questions asked of over 150,000 adults in 148 countries:

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How did the U.S. do?

From WSJ Blog:

To gauge financial literacy, and capture whether adults know how to make sound decisions, the researchers asked questions on four basic personal finance topics: inflation, interest, compounding and financial diversification. Anyone providing correct answers to three of the four topics was rated as financially literate.

Only 57% of Americans notched a passing grade, compared with over 70% in Norway, Denmark and Sweden, and over 60% in Israel, Canada, the U.K., the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, Finland and New Zealand.

See if your students an top the 57% of Americans that answered three of the four topics correctly. Since questions 4 and 5 are both compounding questions, in order to pass your students would need to answer:

  • Questions 1-3 correctly OR
  • Questions 1, 2 and 4 or 5 OR
  • Questions 2, 3 and 4 or 5 OR
  • Questions 1, 3 and 4 or 5

See if the gender gap which is 10% in the U.S. matches up with your class:

The survey data showed a financial literacy gender gap in most countries around the world: About 35% of men and 30% of women, globally, passed the test.

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.