The MoneyWi$e: ‘America’s Financial IQ’ Survey

How knowledgeable are Americans about credit and personal finance?


Consumer Action and Capital One worked with Braun Research to survey 1,002 men and women nationwide to gauge respondents' knowledge of the basics of finance such as budgeting and credit principles, knowledge of identity theft, and basic personal finance responsibilities. Here are the highlights:

How knowledgeable do Americans consider themselves when it comes to personal finance?
- 65% of Americans consider themselves very or highly knowledgeable when it comes to personal finances.

Do Americans understand credit scores and their impact on personal finance?
- Most Americans (66.7%) either don't know (31.7%) or responded incorrectly (35%) when asked to define a good credit score (700).
- 54% of those surveyed wrongly stated that age is a factor considered in determining credit scores.

Are Americans protecting themselves from credit fraud? Do they have all the facts?
- The majority of Americans (52%) do not regularly review their credit report. Nearly one-fourth (23%) of Americans report they have never reviewed their credit report.
- Only 35% of people polled said they check their credit report the recommended once a year.
- The majority of Americans (76%) are misinformed about liability for purchases if their credit card is lost or stolen.
- A whopping 47% of Americans responded that thought they are responsible for none of the charges.

Is there a generation gap in knowledge and the approach to managing personal finances?
- Older Americans are not checking credit reports, making them vulnerable to credit fraud and identity theft. 46% of Americans age 70+ have never received their credit report  more than any other age group. In comparison, nearly 50% of Americans in their 30s get their credit report every year.
- Young Americans budgeting more. Nearly 80 percent of 18-19 year olds report they use a budget in comparison with only 46.6 percent of Americans aged 70+.

Do Americans use budgets to manage their finances?
- While 63.8 percent of Americans regularly use a budget, 28.7 percent of Americans modify or change their budgets as much as weekly, compared to 32.5 percent of those who maintain the same budget for an established time period to track their spending.
- More than one-third (36 percent) of Americans report they do not use a budget to manage their family's expenses.

Survey Methodology

For the America's Financial IQ survey, Braun Research was engaged to conduct 1002 interviews with men and women nationwide. Surveys were conducted by telephone from July 1st through July 5th, 2005, with no dialing on July 4th. The margin of error for the interviews is plus or minus 3.095 percentage points. Interviews were monitored at random.

Sampling for this study was conducted using a random digit dialing method covering all 50 states of the USA. All interviews were conducted using a computer assisted telephone interviewing system. Statistical weights were designed from current year population estimates. These weights were based on the statistical database facilities of Claritas, the leading analytical database provider of Census based statistical demographic data.

You can read more in National MoneyWi$e Survey Shows Americans Are Not Financially Fit.



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