An ‘adulting crash course’ would appeal to 81% of Americans, survey finds

FILE - A young adult holds up a credit card while looking at her phone. Getty Images

As inflation continues to wreak havoc on American finances, an overwhelming majority are saying they’d be willing to take the time to go back and learn the basics:

  • In one survey, 85% of U.S. high school students said that they are interested in learning about financial topics in school.
  • And in another, 81% said they’d be willing to take an "adulting crash course," and noted that the most important topic to them was managing their personal finances (39%).

Few states require a stand-alone personal finance course to graduate from high school, according to The American Public Education Foundation's Nation's Report Card on Financial Literacy:

RELATED: 1 in 3 Americans maxing out credit cards because of inflation: survey

What does it mean to be financially literate? 

A survey from credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) found only 57% of adults in the U.S. are financially literate. 

Creating a baseline for financial literacy may be tricky, as it can vary by definition. 

Broadly speaking, and as The U.S. Department of Education puts it, financial literacy is understanding how to earn, manage and invest money. The Federal Reserve, for example, defines someone as financially literate if they can answer questions about interest, inflation and risk diversification. 

Financial literacy is important not only for personal success but also for the overall success of the economy. 

"Financial illiteracy threatens the safety of our nation and leads to unemployment, stress, and in some cases suicide," the Nation’s Report Card stated. 

If you’d like to see where you’re at, The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has a seven-question quiz about savings accounts, probability and investments.

What they want to learn

An Intuit Financial Education survey asked high schoolers what they wish they knew about money and what they don’t understand. 

The top three things high school students wish they knew about managing their finances:

  • How to become wealthy (43%)
  • How to save money (40%)
  • How to avoid debt (37%) 

The top three financial terms that students don’t understand are: 

  • Stocks/bonds (53%)
  • 401k/retirement (45%)
  • Taxes (28%)

Chime, a financial technology company, surveyed 2,000 adults of varying generations and the majority (52%) feel like, as an adult, they only use half of the information they were taught in school. More than half (55%) also admitted to relying on Google for basic information. 

30% said they would feel more confident in managing their finances if they had a better understanding of how their every day financial decisions impacted their future.

Where to learn it?

Despite being known as the "TikTok generation," the Intuit survey found only 19% of high schoolers are turning to social media for financial advice. 

Money conversations and lessons often begin right at home, though older adults may not always be comfortable talking about money. 

"Ultimately, what we learned is that 81% of students said they really try to discuss financial topics with their parents, but parents typically aren't necessarily comfortable for a variety of reasons in having those types of conversations with their kids," Dave Zasada, VP of education and corporate responsibility at Inuit, told FOX Business in an interview.

"It might be that they're not financially savvy themselves, which would align with national data around financial literacy rates in adults," he said, pointing to data that found just 34% of adults can pass a basic financial literacy quiz. 

"But also, we find that 88% of parents feel financial education should actually be taught in schools."

This story was reported from Detroit. FOX Business contributed.