When is the last time you checked your credit scores? Do you know which factors impact credit scores? Are you currently saving for retirement?
These are among the questions we asked more than 1,100 American consumers for our third Equifax Annual Financial Literacy Survey. The answers provide a glimpse at consumers’ behavior and knowledge when it comes to finances and credit.
Among the survey’s findings: more than 1 in 4 surveyed consumers say they do not check their credit scores.
When asked about the factors that affect credit scores, most respondents (89 percent) correctly selected “whether you pay your bills on time.” However, some survey respondents incorrectly believed things like your motor vehicle record and a change in your salary also impact credit scores.
Do you wish you’d learned about finances and credit earlier – say, in high school? The vast majority of survey respondents said “yes.” Ninety percent of respondents believe high school students should be required to take a personal finance class before graduation. Currently, only 17 states require this, according to a 2018 study by the Council for Economic Education, a national organization focusing on the economic and financial education of students from kindergarten through high school.
In other findings:
— More than three-fourths of consumers (78 percent) said they do not have a security freeze or a credit report lock on their credit reports. While both a security freeze and a credit report lock help restrict certain access to your credit reports, they do so in different ways. Learn more about the differences.
— Survey respondents were also asked to grade their own financial literacy. Overall, only 39% gave themselves a “B.” Of those between the ages of 18 and 29, one-third – 33 percent – gave themselves a “C” and 29 percent graded themselves a “B.”
— If you’re aiming to boost your financial knowledge, who and where do you turn to? More than 40 percent of survey respondents said their parents were the main source of their personal finance and credit knowledge. Personal finance classes in high school and college were a distant second, at 14 percent.
— When it comes to saving for retirement, 29 percent of respondents say they are not currently doing so. That includes 26 percent of consumers between the ages of 30 and 44.
— And about a third of respondents – 29 percent — say they believe the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – are a good source of financial information for consumers. But more than half, or 53 percent, said they have never looked on the credit bureaus’ web sites for that kind of information.
The blind survey was conducted in April 2018. The margin of error is plus or minus 5 percent.
The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.