Financial Literacy for Young Adults

Financial Literacy for Young Adults

Core Facts

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National Financial Literacy Month is recognized in the United States in April as an effort to highlight the importance of financial literacy and teach Americans how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits. 

In 2000, it began as Youth Financial Literacy Day, and in 2003, the United States Senate designated April as Financial Literacy for Youth Month. The following year the Senate passed a Resolution that officially recognized April as National Financial Literacy Month.

Many promotional events are held during the month, creating educational materials that center around effectively handling money and dealing with debt.

There is a need for financial literacy for American youth now more than ever. Only 20 states currently mandate that high school students take economics — two fewer than in 2014. This trend is disturbing, considering the fact that less than 30% of young adults achieve a score above 70% on recent financial literacy tests, and the average score was just 58%. 

Yet from a historical perspective, some progress has been made. Forty-five states now include personal finance in their K–12 standards, up from 21 in 1998 (Alaska, California, Montana,
New Mexico, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia still do not). 

Most high school level students don’t need to know about complex investments and high level financial concepts, but they most certainly need to know the basics, like how to open a bank account, how much they need to save each month to reach their goals and, if they borrow this amount of money, how much money they will need to earn to pay it back.

Immediate skills that have direct application to their lives are what is needed. It’s not very useful to teach a 16-year old about the complexity of mortgages, because the likelihood of their taking out a home loan in the next few years is very slim. So that knowledge, not having any direct application to their daily lives, will probably be forgotten soon after they take their exam on the subject. But they will need to know about how to live on a budget and balance their checkbook. That’s something that will be useful on an almost immediate basis. And developing healthy financial habits early is the key. 

Bad money habits can have damaging, long-term consequences for our financial security. But developing healthy financial habits can do wonders for helping us achieve our long-term goals like saving enough for retirement or paying for a college education.



Material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be used in connection with the evaluation of any investments offered by David Lerner Associates, Inc. This material does not constitute an offer or recommendation to buy or sell securities and should not be considered in connection with the purchase or sale of securities.

To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. 

Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances.

These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable-- we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

David Lerner Associates does not provide tax or legal advice. The information presented here is not specific to any individual's personal circumstances. Member FINRA & SIPC


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Founded in 1976, David Lerner Associates is a privately-held broker/dealer with headquarters in Syosset, New York and branch offices in Westport, CT; Boca Raton, FL; Teaneck and Princeton, NJ; and White Plains, NY. For more information contact David Lerner Associates Call 516-921-4200 Visit our website:

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Jake Mendlinger
Account Manager
516.829.8374 X 232

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