SIMSBURY, CT, December 12, 2023 – The SPARK Institute in partnership with Corporate Insight, Inc., today released survey results revealing the need for improved financial education for High School and College Students. The survey, conducted in July 2023, examines Aptitude, Behavior and Confidence levels of 956 high school students and 910 college students regarding foundational principles of personal financial management (the ABCs of Financial Literacy).

“Financial Literacy is a key strategic initiative for The SPARK Institute and member firms,” according to Tim Rouse, Executive Director of SPARK Institute. “Research tells us that financial literacy is closely connected to individual financial wellbeing. It is a cornerstone for enabling individuals to prosper and achieve lifegoals, including retirement. SPARK member organizations are increasing focus on financial literacy and working with local schools and communities to ensure early engagement. Our goal at SPARK is to better connect these efforts to benefit the individuals preparing for retirement.”

As interest in financial literacy grows, it is crucial that organizations and policy makers align on how financial literacy efforts can best be implemented to improve financial literacy among American households. Michael Ellison, President of Corporate Insight, Inc notes, “Financial Literacy is a big topic, relevant to people at all life stages. Our priority with this survey was to better understand Gen Z and their relationship with money – what they know about it, what they do with it, how confident they feel about their decisions and what role financial service firms can play. Findings from the new financial literacy survey of ~2000 high school and college students help us do just that.”

Key Survey Conclusions:

  • High School and College students are not equipped to face their increasing complex financial futures
  • While higher education marginally improves financial literacy, the outlook is worse for high school students who do not plan to go to college.
  • Lack of financial literacy will create downward pressure on the impact our industry can have on successful financial outcomes

There is an opportunity – and need – for public private partnership to improve financial literacy, education and policies to secure the financial future of the U.S. population.

“The Financial services industry spends significant resources on educating employees on how to save and invest for the future. However, there is not enough focus on providing education to high school and college age students build good financial habits early in life”, says Snezana Zlatar, Chair of the SPARK Financial Literacy Committee. “SPARK wants to enable its member organizations to coordinate financial literacy efforts and share best practices, provide research on key topics, create partnerships with academia and non-profits in this space and work with regulators and legislators providing public policy advocacy where needed.”

About the SPARK Institute

The SPARK Institute represents the interests of a broad-based cross section of retirement plan service providers and investment managers, including members that are banks, mutual fund companies, insurance companies, third-party administrators, trade clearing firms, and benefits consultants. Through the combined expertise of its member companies, the Institute provides research, education, testimony, and comments on pending legislative and regulatory issues to members of Congress and relevant Government agency officials. Collectively, its members serve approximately 100 million participants in 401(k) and other defined contribution plans.

About Corporate Insight

Corporate Insight delivers competitive intelligence, user experience research and consulting services to the nation’s leading healthcare, insurance and financial services institutions. As the recognized industry leader in customer experience research for nearly 30 years, Corporate Insight has been the trusted partner to corporations seeking to improve their digital capabilities and user experience. Its best-in-class research platform and unique approach of analyzing the actual customer experience helps corporations advance their competitive position in the marketplace.