American students spend about 1,000 hours in school each year, and yet very few, if any, of those hours are dedicated to learning about personal finance. It should come as no surprise then that U.S. adults perform poorly when quizzed on basic financial concepts like interest rates and inflation. Only 22% of women and 38% of men aced a 3-question test conducted by the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center. Among people under age 35 the numbers are even worse. Only 12% of women and 26% of men correctly answered all three questions. 'There is substantial evidence that more financially savvy people are more likely to plan, save, invest in stocks, and accumulate more wealth,' according to a report published this month by the center. 'They also have been shown to be less likely to have credit card debt, and when they do borrow, they manage loans better, paying off the full amount each month rather than just the minimum due.' Clearly, financial education is an important component of developing economic independence. According to the authors, Olivia S. Mitchell and Annamaria Lusardi, 'more than one-third of U.S. wealth inequality could be accounted for by differences in financial knowledge.'
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