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As COVID-19 has extended beyond a health crisis into an economic crisis as well, it has exposed how financially vulnerable many Americans are. That’s according to a new Charles Schwab Financial Literacy Survey conducted by The Harris Poll.

fall 163496 640Half of all Americans (50%) would experience financial hardship if they had to cover an emergency expense of $1,000 or less in the next 30 days.

Americans indicated they wish they had better money management skills, according to the survey. When asked what they would teach their younger selves about personal finance based on what they know today, Americans said the value of saving money (59%), basic money management (52%), and how to set financial goals and work toward them (51%).

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of U.S. adults chose financial education as the most important supplementary graduation requirement to math, English and science, compared to 43% who chose health and wellness education.

On a scale of 1-100, Americans rated money management (62.9) as the most important skill for kids to learn, edging out the dangers of drugs and alcohol (60.5), healthy eating and exercise habits (58.3), and safe driving practices (57).

The impact of financial illiteracy is not lost on the American public. 89% of Americans agree that lack of financial education contributes to some of the biggest social issues our country faces, including poverty (58%), lack of job opportunities (53%), unemployment (53%), and wealth inequality (52%).

Despite the ongoing debate about virtual learning and how to reopen schools, most Americans (65%) still look primarily to schools to provide financial education, followed by government (12%) and employers (10%). Only 21 states currently require high school students to take a personal finance course.

Read the full press release here.

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