How Financially Literate Are You? [AUDIO]
When it comes to financial literacy, Americans get an ‘F,’ but New Jerseyans are outperforming the rest of the nation when it comes to managing cash flow, student loans, medical debt and saving for emergencies.
That’s according to a recent survey by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s Investor Education Foundation.
“It’s a good news story in New Jersey. In a number of key measures, the Garden State is doing better than many other states,” said Gary Mottola, Research Director for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s Investor Education Foundation. “About 41 percent of respondents to our survey reported spending less than their household income, which means a significant number of people are spending more than they’re bringing in.”
“But, in New Jersey, 46 percent spend less than their income. So, a large portion of New Jerseyans are doing a better job at managing their cash flow.”
The goal of the survey is to benchmark and better understand financial capability like managing financial products, making ends meet and financial literacy in general.
“We asked questions about managing credit cards, questions about mortgages, questions about income and we had a five question financial literacy quiz in there as well,” said Mottola. “Some of the concerns are about debt and student loan debt and things like that. More concerning is that about half of the people with student loans are concerned that they won’t be able to pay it off. Medical debt is another emerging issue.”
Nationally, 26 percent said that they have medical debt. In New Jersey, that number is 19 percent.
“People aren’t saving enough rainy day funds, they aren’t saving enough for emergencies. Nationally, 56 percent of Americans say they do not have enough savings to cover three months of expenses. Again, New Jerseyans are doing better there. Only about half say they don’t have enough to cover three months of expenses,” said Mottola. “The good news is people are doing better making ends meet and a lot of that has to do with the slowly improving economy.”