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« Santiago Calatrava's Chicago Masterpiece. | WILLisms.com | Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 16. »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 120 -- Economic Literacy.

Economic Literacy-

Let me preface this by saying that I have full faith in the American people to make wise decisions, given that they have the facts before them. But this is troubling:

* The personal saving rate in 2004 was 1% (compared to a 7% average over the past 3 decades) -Alan Greenspan, February 2005

* The 1.4% personal savings rate in 2003 was the lowest it had been since 1938.
-The Bureau of Economic Analysis, September 2004

* Only 15 states require an economics course for graduation.
-NCEE Survey of the States, March 2005

* Only 7 states require students to take personal finance for graduation.
-NCEE Survey of the States, March 2005

* 25% of all employees who are eligible to enroll in their employers' 401(k) savings programs don't contribute a dime.
-Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America

* 62% of Americans believe that middle and lower income citizens pay income taxes at the highest percentage.
-National Public Radio, Kaiser Family Foundation and the Kennedy School of Government survey

* Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed did not know that in times of inflation money does not hold its value.
-NCEE Harris poll

* 74% of parents feel unprepared to teach their kids about personal finance.
-FleetBoston survey, 2003

* Most Americans believe that corporations make over 46% profit, when in fact the average is 8%.
-Kaiser Family Foundation and The Washington Post survey

* In 2003, 1.6 million consumers filed for bankruptcy (the highest rate in history).
-"The Fragile Middle-Class: Americans in Debt" by Teresa A. Sullivan, Elizabeth Warren and Jay Lawrence

* University administrators state that they lose more students to credit card debt than to academic failure.
-Utah Mentor, 2003

* Today's average 50-year-old has only $2,300 saved toward retirement.
-National Endowment for Financial Education

* 48% of American credit card owners only pay their minimum monthly payment each month.
-Senate Resolution 48, 2003

Wondering about your own economic literacy?

Take the quiz.

You can also download the .pdf of the entire quiz.

Some of the questions are pretty easy (while some are exceedingly difficult without a calculator or professional knowledge of how these things work), which makes America's embarrassingly low scores all the more astounding.

Here are a few samples:

If you put $100 a month in an IRA that earns 6% annually, how much money will you have after 40 years?





If you leave $50.00 in a 5% interest-bearing account, how long does it take to double your money?

1 year

8 years

14 years

50 years

How many states have no income tax?





Which of the following industries has the lowest profit per employee?

Healthcare facilities

Clothing stores

Restaurants and hotels

Grocery stores

Which of the following pairs of United States Presidents cut taxes the most?

a. Presidents Reagan and Kennedy

b. Presidents George H. Bush and George W. Bush

c. Presidents Carter and Clinton

d. Presidents Ford and Nixon

After taking the quiz, it tells you what percentage people on average answered correctly.

Not so pretty.

Down in the 30-40% range, even.

We clearly need to stress economic literacy more in this country. Stay tuned for more.


FirstJobs Institute.


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Home Sales.

Posted by Will Franklin · 27 July 2005 09:36 AM


I don't know about your experience, but the darn quiz gets pretty glitchy after a few run-throughs... I took the last quiz twice, 25% right the first time, 100% right the second, and after those two it averaged out my score to 125%, LOL.

Seems like they need a better Cold Fusion programmer over there.

Posted by: Eric at July 28, 2005 09:34 AM

673116: Hey, does anyone know where I can find a list of gas stations with low prices in my area?

Posted by: Debra Riley at October 18, 2005 08:03 AM