Can you figure out the amount of money you would owe on your loan after one year of interest? If not, you are part of about two-thirds of Americans who can’t pass a basic test of financial literacy.
The National Capability Study, conducted by the FINRA Foundation, surveyed 27,564 Americans, from June through October of last year, according to an article by Madaline Farber for Time. FINRA is a quasi-government organization that regulates brokers and Wall Street.
From the article:
Bonds presented one of the biggest problems for respondents of the survey. Just 28% knew what happens to bond prices when interest rates fall. (They rise.) And less than half of all Americans appear to be able to answer basic questions about financial risk.
In fact, more Americans failed the test today than in 2009, according to the article. While 37% of Americans could pass the test this time around, in 2009, 42% could pass it.
This inability to pass a simple financial test is despite the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s attempts to educate homebuyers.
The study also shows that some groups are worse off today than they were even during the recession.
From the article:
However, the study also showed that even eight years after the financial crisis, significant segments of the population, including African-Americans, Hispanics, women, Millennials, and people lacking a high school education — so a lot of people — are still worse off than before the recession.
Women are more likely to put off medical services like seeing a doctor, buying prescriptions, or undergoing a medical procedure due to cost. This leaves more than one in five Americans, or 21%, with unpaid medical debt, according to the study.
As for minorities, 39% of blacks and 34% of Latinos have used such high-cost forms of borrowing as pawn shops and payday loans, compared with 21% of whites and 21% of Asians.
And unlike their predecessors, 29% of Millennials, who are 18 to 34, said they had been tardy paying their mortgage, vs. 16% of those ages 35 to 54. And 45% of all respondents with no college education said that if they had an emergency requiring them to pull together $2,000 within a month, they wouldn’t be able to do so.