I’m Smarter Than a 12th Grader. And the Alpha Consumer.

Kimberly Palmer, senior editor for U.S. News & World Report, writes a column called Alpha Consumer at U.S. News & World Report‘s website about “how to stay on top in the consumer world by saving money, avoiding scams, managing debt, and otherwise staying sane”.

Last week she wrote a column about the Jump$tart Coalition’s Personal Financial Literacy Test, which tests 12th graders’ practical money knowledge, and how she missed one of the questions on the test sampler published on U.S. News & World Report‘s website.

I took the sample test and scored 6 out of 6. Yay me. I have to admit that I’m surprised she missed a question, and more so about the question she missed. Of the six questions on the test, question #5 (the one she missed) was one of the two easiest, with the most obvious correct answer. Even if I didn’t have personal experience paying income tax on my savings account interest, to me the other three choices were obvious throwaways.

Whether or not Kimberly Palmer should have missed the question isn’t really the point, though. Anyone can miss a question on any test, even experts. What’s troubling is the 52% of students who are not passing the test, most likely because their parents can’t teach them what they don’t know.

I’d love to see school include more daily living and money management skills into the classroom. But with No Child Left Behind and the bottomless pit of slime that is standardized testing there’s no time for stressed-out teachers to do anything but teach to the test.

I’m not worried about my son – at least not in this area. He will know about money, how to manage it and how to accumulate it. But he’s got informed parents. Well, more informed than some.

My son’s financial education has already started. Even if I never sat down and tell him a thing (though trust me, I will) he’ll be learning by the example I set, just like with everything else .

Leading by example.


Must. Stop. Eating. Cookies.


One Response to “I’m Smarter Than a 12th Grader. And the Alpha Consumer.”

  1. goodfountain Says:

    Well I’m NOT financially smarter than a 12th grader. But I am exactly the person who didn’t get a financial education growing up and have only learned what I know through friends and my husband. Specific like which type of savings is not insured by the government. although I think I got that one right, and if I did though it was a complete guess.

    I got 4 right.

    I plan for my kids to do better.

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