Americans fear financial education

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Feel overwhelmed by the dollar signs and percentage figures of the finance world? You’re not alone. A new survey from Genworth Financial shows that less than half of American adults are actively seeking out financial knowledge. The primary reason for their passive approach to money is fear.

As much as 45 percent of respondents indicated that the complexity of financial products is too daunting. Others seem to simply be too busy. And, 37 percent of respondents said they do not have the time to research banking and financial products.

“Developing a comprehensive financial or retirement plan can be daunting, and often Americans aren’t sure where to start,” says Suly Salazar-Layton, Genworth’s director of Practice Management. “One proven strategy is to start small and to focus on a portion of financial planning instead of the whole plan.”

Salazar-Layton recommends approaching your personal finance situation the same way a marathon runner approaches a race: one step at a time.

Dr. Barbara Nusbaum, New York-based psychologist and money coach, highlights that the step-by-step approach can help build some very positive momentum.

“Once you get a little knowledge, you will likely feel successful and want more knowledge,” Nusbaum says. “The important part of this process is starting at a website, with a person, or any resource that is accessible and supportive to you and your learning.”

Whether you’re planning for retirement or simply hoping to boost your savings account in the short term, Nusbaum highlights that a small investment of your time can pay off in a big way.

“An hour invested today in gaining the financial know-how that will make your life, family and money more secure will pay tremendous dividends over the long run,” Nusbaum says.

Do banking and finance products intimidate you? Start with Bankrate’s glossary of financial terms.


Written by
David McMillin
Contributing writer
David McMillin writes about credit cards, mortgages, banking, taxes and travel. David's goal is to help readers figure out how to save more and stress less.