Guest column: America’s financial literacy problem

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Too many Texans, one out of five adults, struggle with basic literacy. Far more, three of five, would fail the U.S. citizenship exam. Beyond civic literacy and literacy itself, Americans also have poor economic and financial literacy. Too many of us make terrible decisions, fail to budget, and run up our debt. With so many Americans unemployed in the COVID-19 era, the situation is urgent.For kids, financial and economic education should start early. Because so many public schools have not succeeded, the private sector has developed options. The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) and the Council for Economic Education (CEE) are just two of several organizations that help students and their teachers understand core concepts and use them in daily decision-making.CEE offers an excellent quiz. When resources are scarce, what happens? How do budget-savvy consumers react? Who benefits from an economic transaction, and who loses when government interferes?Americans tend to fail such quizzes. When the private Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) asked adults six basic questions about personal finance and economics, only 40 % could answer at least four of them correctly. Over the past decade, financial literacy has declined severely. FINRA found steep drops among adults under …

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