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Jul 10, 2014 07:18 AM EDT

American Students Perform Averagely on Financial Literacy Tests, OECD Survey

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A recent study by the Organisation for Economic Co‑operation and Development found that American students perform averagely on financial literacy tests as compared to their peers from other countries.

The OECD survey found that 17.8 percent of U.S. students do not even qualify for the baseline level of financial proficiency when compared to 15.3 percent in other OECD countries. Plus, one in six U.S. teens find it difficult to solve simple, everyday tasks related to spending. And only one in 10 have the ability to answer complex financial tasks.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, "Average is not good enough."

"Young people, to be successful, to secure retirement, to take care of their families, and to not be in poverty, have to have a level of financial literacy that 30, 40, 50 years ago maybe wasn't required," Duncan said. "Today it's an absolute necessity.

For the survey, researchers assessed teens' financial aptitude in skills like understanding a bank statement. They found that U.S. ranked between 8-12 out of 18 countries and economies with a mean score of 492.

Shanghai-China fared the best in the financial literacy assessment survey with an average score of 603, while Colombia is the lowest ranked country with a mean of 379.

John W. Rogers, Jr. - Chair of the President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Adults - said that it is necessary for young adults to master financial literacy in an attempt to understand looming college debt and increasingly complex retirement plans among others.

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