Chapter 1

Improving Your Financial Literacy


check Looking at what your parents and others taught you about money

check Questioning reliability and objectivity

check Overcoming real and imagined barriers to financial success

A continuing stream of studies has indicated that many Americans, especially younger adults, are by and large financially illiterate. The vast majority of survey respondents have “failing” scores — meaning that they answered less than 60 percent of the questions correctly.

I know from my many years of work previously as a personal financial counselor and teacher and now as a writer that many folks do indeed have significant gaps in their personal financial knowledge. Though more folks have greater access today to more information than in prior generations, the financial world has grown more complicated, and there are more choices, and pitfalls, than ever before.

Unfortunately, most Americans don’t know how to manage their personal finances because they were never taught how to do so. Their parents may have avoided discussing money in front of them, and most high schools and colleges lack courses that teach this vital, lifelong-needed skill.

Some people are fortunate ...

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