ScoreCard Research

The Penny Hoarder’s Survey Finds 1 Out of 3 Americans Who Did Not Have Early Financial Education Earn Less Money

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Apr. 23, 2019) According to The Penny Hoarder’s personal finance literacy study, one-third of Americans did not discuss personal finance topics growing up — and only 13% talked about their family’s own financial situation. An analysis of survey data finds this affects future financial goals, budgeting, savings and income.

“Financial literacy is more important than ever,” said The Penny Hoarder’s data journalist, Alex Mahadevan. “We found that people who don’t discuss basic personal finance topics growing up have less savings, make less money and are less likely to have solid financial goals.”

The survey of more than 1,500 adults underlines just how much early financial education impacts financial health in adulthood:

  • 17% of those who discussed finances growing up have no savings at all. That figure balloons to 40% among those who had no early financial literacy
  • 18% of those who talked about money management at home report household income of less than $50,000. But for those who didn’t talk about money, almost a third — 31% — earn less than $50,000

Other key statistics:

  • Between 32% and 36% of Americans did not discuss personal finance topics while growing up
    • Less than half of Americans’ families talked about the importance of saving
    • 20% talked about the importance of credit scores
    • 28% learned how to be smart shoppers
    • 13% discussed the family’s finances
  • For those who did discuss money management growing up, more than 82% have a financial goal
  • For those who did not talk about personal finance growing up, nearly 40% did not have a financial goal
  • 40% of Americans do not maintain a budget
    • Most popular budgeting method is a spreadsheet: 30% of Americans utilize this method
    • 10% of Americans use a mobile app to budget
  • For Americans who do have a financial goal, the most common goal is paying off debt. 39% of Americans report debt payoff is their goal

Personal Finance Literacy Resources:

The Penny Hoarder’s Ultimate Guide to Teaching Your Kids about Money

11 Perfect, Everyday Opportunities to Start Teaching Your Kids About Money

For more information on The Penny Hoarder’s financial literacy study, visit The Penny Hoarder:

Survey: Lack of Financial Literacy Means Lower Incomes, Less Savings


The Penny Hoarder conducted a survey of more than 1,500 U.S. adults through Google Surveys. The results were weighted for the U.S. population and margin of error falls between 3% and 5%. The Penny Hoarder also cross-checked results with an analysis of survey microdata from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

About The Penny Hoarder

The Penny Hoarder is one of the largest personal finance websites reaching millions of readers each month across the country. Its purpose is to share actionable articles and resources to teach people how to earn, save and manage their money. For three consecutive years, the Inc. 500/5000 has ranked The Penny Hoarder one of the fastest-growing private media companies in America.

To learn more about The Penny Hoarder, visit

Media Contact

Maryann Akinboyewa

The Penny Hoarder

[email protected]