Study shows millennials lack financial literacy

Study shows millennials lack money management

New studies show many millennials lack basic financial literacy.

For example, one-third of students in the University of Illinois study did not know how to manage money.

It also revealed that students didn't know how to balance a check book, or manage their expenses.

John Wood Community College sophomore Makayka Briggs said she agrees that millennials lack money management.

"A lot of students out of high school don't know what they're doing in regard to finances and budgeting," Briggs said. "It's a big key factor into moving further in your life."

Briggs said college was a wake-up call for her finances.

"I did have a job in high school, but I never took time to sit down and look at my finances," Briggs said. "How much I have for each week and all that. I never really budgeted at all. Having to make my own meals, meal prep throughout the week, and then with bills. As you get older you get more bills and so you have to budget more for that, and set back money each week for each bill that you have. So that's what made me budget more."

Some states, like South Carolina, are proposing a financial literacy requirement before graduating high school.

"They understand how to do the math behind, it but they don't understand the behaviors behind it," Quincy High School teacher Chris Withiem said. "This idea that 'we're not going to financially train our kids before they go,' is setting them up for failure."

Withiem teaches consumer education.

"They have to get this grounding in 'This is how I manage my numbers,' and 'This is how much of my budget I can allocate to this,' and 'This is how much I can allocate to that.'" Withiem said. "Because they all understand the individual transaction. It's trying to get them to understand the bigger picture.

Withiem said the digital age is also changing money management.

"Writing a check is archaic now. Probably none, and it's not even a strong focus for us at this point, because now debit cards are everything, and the digital space," Withiem said.

As for creating a standardized financial literacy test, Withiem says he's unsure.

"I'm not sure how I feel about a standardized test," Withiem said. "But I do know I think we need to make a stronger emphasis in every state, even nationwide, because the data backs it up. We've got to start pushing this."

"I think taking a financial literacy class in high school definitely would be beneficial," Briggs said.

Illinois, Missouri and Iowa all require high school students to take a consumer education or personal finance class before graduation.

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