Webster Bank today announced the findings from its inaugural Financial Empowerment Study, an in-depth, independent report that examines financial challenges and literacy of consumers.
“Our survey found that over half of Americans are concerned about their financial situation and they don’t feel confident in their knowledge to address it,” said Marissa Weidner, Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer at Webster Bank. “The study shows the importance of finance curriculum in schools in preparing consumers to confidently and successfully manage their financial future.”
Today, 23 states mandate the completion of personal finance curriculum to graduate from high school. Of these states, six introduced these requirements in 2023.
The Study found that just 27% of U.S. consumers report receiving any type of financial education in middle or high school. The impact of these courses is clear. Those who received financial education in middle and high school years are more likely to feel fully in control of their finances (49%) compared to those who did not receive any financial literacy courses (25%).
Other key findings from the Study include:
- Americans are unsure how to save for the future: Nearly two in three (65%) feel they are “not saving enough for retirement” and cannot save “like they should” (65%). More than one-third of Americans (36%) reported that when it comes to saving and investing, they “just don’t know where to start”.
- Majority of consumers worry about their finances: More than half (55%) say they worry a lot about their financial situation compared to just 32% who say they feel fully in control of their financial future.
- Most are seeking additional help to understand their finances: Two-thirds of survey respondents (67%) are interested in tools and resources to help build their financial knowledge and/or more effectively manage their personal finances.
The Study also revealed that consumers need additional support to prepare for emergencies.
Although a majority of Americans (57%) say saving for emergencies is a top financial priority, nearly one-third (31%) do not have an emergency fund and only 23% have a rainy-day fund that could cover more than six months of expenses.
“It’s clear that there is interest in improving financial knowledge, however, there is a need for communities to do more to build and promote these important resources,” Weidner said. “These findings reinforce Webster’s commitment to making financial knowledge and tools accessible to all and ensure our communities are aware of the opportunities available to remain in control of their finances.”
Access the 2023 Webster Bank Financial Empowerment Study.