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Nearly Two-Thirds of Americans Can’t Pass a Basic Test of Financial Literacy


Madeline Farber / Fortune
5:12 PM ET

Apparently the message of the financial crisis didn’t get across

Quick: If you take out a $1000 loan that has a 20% rate, how much will you owe a year in interest?

Answer: $200. But if you got that wrong, you’re not alone. Nearly two thirds of Americans can’t calculate interest payments correctly, according to a new study. About a third said they didn’t even know how.

One of the silver linings of the financial crisis was that it was supposed to have taught many Americans a lesson, albeit painful, about the dangers of debt, and financial issues in general. Apparently, the message, though, didn’t get across.

All told, a new study, which was released today, estimated that nearly two-thirds of Americans couldn’t pass a basic financial literacy test, meaning they got fewer than four answers correct on a five-question quiz. Worse, the percentage of those who can pass the test has fallen consistently since the financial crisis to 37% last year, from 42% in 2009.

5 thoughts on “Nearly Two-Thirds of Americans Can’t Pass a Basic Test of Financial Literacy

  1. That what you get in school districts like Paterson where the only requirement to advance to the next grade or graduate is attendance.
    It’s disgraceful.

  2. Bankers must love or hate those who can’t pass this test? Let’s preform a Village wide study on it, and bond it of course.

  3. It’s not news that two-thirds of Americans can’t pass a basic financial literacy test.
    National Debt is almost 20 trillion dollars.
    Ridgewood Schools annual budget is one-tenth of a billion dollars and I see those dopey Support Ridgewood Teachers signs all over the place.

  4. Well at least the other half know what they’re doing, right?

    1. 2/3 -1/3 = 1/2 ??? really

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