KAKE NEWS INVESTIGATES: Learning about your finances

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Let’s face it – we live in a cash-crazed society.

From movies, to books to advice from self-help gurus, most of Americans are obsessed. But despite the treasure trove of information – Americans are failing at financial literacy. Two thirds of American adults can’t even pass a basic financial literacy test. In some parts of the country, high school students never have to take a finance class.

Forbes found that 44 percent of Americans don’t have enough cash to cover a $400 emergency and that 43% of student loan borrowers can’t make regular payments.

It also showed that nearly 3% of Americans have nothing saved for retirements.

Financial analysts say another sign of a change in money practices – an increase in use of pawn shops, especially amongst millennials.

“It’s a simple, very easy way to get money for people who need money for a short period of time,” said Bruce Harris, owner of AOK Super Center in Wichita. “They’ll want to do things faster but they want it their way. They need it faster, they’ll take their money and come back and pay it back on payday.”

He added that, in his experience, that age group likes instant gratification and quick results.

But it’s also an age group the state of Kansas fears isn’t well educated on finances.

“They don’t understand what a good deal and a bad deal from a credit card company is,” said State Treasurer Jake LaTurner. “So oftentimes you have students that go into adulthood without the tools necessary to make sound, good, financial decisions.”

LaTurner has been pushing universities to offer financial classes.

“So teachers can start incorporating it more and more into their classrooms,” he said.

Some of them already have.

“I’m personally not that great at budgeting because I’ve had a job for four years and don’t have a savings account,” said Abby Wray, a senior at Maize South High School.

She may be a little hard on herself, she’s about to pass the school’s finance class – which has proven results.

“I think learning that there needs to be money separate from a savings account and a checking account,” she said.

Maize South High School subscribes to the Dave Ramsey style of money management.

“It doesn’t matter how much money you make, the amount of money doesn’t depend on how much you can save,” said Jarrod Handy, a teacher at the school. “You can be someone who makes $100,000 but live like you make $150,000. And you’re in trouble. You’re stressed, it’s not fun.”

There are resources available for adults, too.

AARP Financial Literacy For All People

701 N. Amidon Ave (Botanica)

Thursday, May 16, 2019 (1-3 PM)

Cost: Unknown

FDIC Money Smart

Cost: Unknown

Cashcourse

Website: https://www.cashcourse.org/

Cost: Free

SCORE

Location: Varies (See website for all events)

*They usually hold most events at the Advanced Learning Library

Cost: Free?