College students lack financial management skills

A survey found that just 39% adhere to a monthly budget.

American college students' personal financial management skills are lacking—and yet they believe they're good at managing their money, a recent AICPA survey found. Fifty-seven percent of the 751 students polled rated their financial management skills as "good" or "excellent," but their spending and saving behavior indicates their skills are not as sharp as they believe.

Just 39% said they adhered to a monthly budget, for example, while almost half said there had been a point in the past 12 months when they had less than $100 in their bank accounts. Just under half (49%) said they had put money aside for tuition in the past 12 months. Thirty-eight percent said they had borrowed money from friends or family.

Nevertheless, just 12% of students said their financial management skills were "poor" or "terrible," while around a third (31%) rated their skills as "fair."

The survey, which was conducted in August 2015 and included students who had enrolled for the 2015—2016 school year, found that students are interested in improving their financial management skills. Ninety-nine percent of students said that developing their money management skills is "extremely" or "very" important to them.


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