US high schoolers want financial education, but many schools don’t offer it: survey

US high schoolers want financial education, but many schools don’t offer it: survey

A recent survey by Intuit found that U.S. high school students want to learn about personal finance in schools but that many lack access to such courses at school, while parents may be reluctant to teach their children about financial literacy.

Intuit’s Financial Education survey found that 85% of U.S. high school students said they’re interested in learning about financial topics at school and that 95% of those who currently receive a financial curriculum find it helpful.

“Ultimately, what we learned is that 81% of students said they really try to discuss financial topics with their parents, but parents typically aren’t necessarily comfortable for a variety of reasons in having those types of conversations with their kids,” Dave Zasada, VP of education and corporate responsibility at Inuit, told FOX Business in an interview.

“It might be that they’re not financially savvy themselves, which would align with national data around financial literacy rates in adults,” Zasada said, pointing to data that found just 34% of adults can pass a basic financial literacy quiz. “But also, we find that 88% of parents feel financial education should actually be taught in schools.”

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US high schoolers want financial education, but many schools don’t offer it: survey

Intuit’s survey found that students who receive financial education school overwhelmingly thought it was useful. (iStock / iStock)

“I think what we have found in talking with kids and doing the survey and talking to parents is that the consensus is if they’re going to get it from one source, and for it to be a reputable source, it’s most likely that kids will want to get that while they’re in school and ideally taking a personal finance course,” he added.

Financial terms that were the most misunderstood by students were stocks and bonds (53%), 401(k) and retirement (45%) and taxes (28%). The top three things high school students wanted to know about managing their finances were how to become wealthy (43%), how to save money (40%) and how to avoid debt (37%).

“A really high percentage of students were interested in those particular topics, but they also just simply want to understand the basic terms – they want to be able to speak the language,” Zasada noted. “The vast majority of students can’t speak that language by the time they walk across the graduation stage and are ready to start making some personal financial decisions that are going to impact them long-term.”

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Financial terms that students had the least understanding of were stocks and bonds, 401(k) and retirement, as well as taxes. (iStock / iStock)

While students may lack access to financial literacy education at school or at home, the survey found that about one-in-five are turning to social media. It found that just 19% of students turned to social media platforms for information about personal finance and that of those who do, 59% said they’re not always sure that they can distinguish accurate financial advice from bad or inaccurate advice.

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Students were most interested in learning how to become wealthy, how to save money and how to avoid debt. (iStock / iStock)

Intuit offers a free financial education platform that was launched in September. Zasada said it provides about 150 hours of content across two courses – one focused on personal finance and the other on entrepreneurial finance.

“It’s customizable, very plug and play for a teacher. If a teacher wants to use our content for a whole course they can, and if they want to just dip in and focus on taxes during tax season they can just pull that information out,” he said.

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“We don’t just focus on trying to help kids become financially literate, we try to help them become financially capable and confident as well,” Zasada said. “We do that by, first, helping them to speak the language – understanding terms and concepts.”