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Lack Of Financial Literacy 'Concerning For Every Single Citizen' Says Vt. Treasurer

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Illustration: Amanda Shepard
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Vermont State Treasurer Beth Pearce says a lack of savings, confusion about credit, and debt point to an alarming lack of financial education in Vermont and nationwide.

Vermont State Treasurer Beth Pearce told Vermont Edition host Bob Kinzel that national and state-level data "should be very concerning for every single citizen." 

Reasons for that alarm, Pearce said, are statistics that report half of American adults don't have a budget. Thirty percent of workers worry about their financial future at work, "an issue in terms of work productivity and in terms of the anxiety that citizens have about the fact that they haven't saved enough for retirement." And 39 percent of American adults have zero non-retirement savings.

"When people don't save for the future," Pearce said, "that puts strains on budgets and it detracts from the [economy]."

She said the lack of planning are an especially pressing concern for baby boomers, whom she calls "the most ill-prepared [generation] for retirement in a very long time."

A lack of financial literacy affects younger generations as well. Pearce cites the National Financial Educator's Council for data showing students getting college loans often lack understanding of how the interest on those loans will affect their future debt, their credit score, and interest rates on future loans.

Of those college students, 76 percent say they don't feel prepared for their financial future.

Pearce talks about recommendations for improving literacy for all age groups in Vermont, from students still in school, to those in higher education, to working adults.

Broadcast Friday, Dec. 8, at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

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