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BMO Harris Bank Study: Two in Three Americans Don't Think Kids Graduating Today Are Prepared for Their Financial Future

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - Apr 29, 2014) -  

  • More than half are not optimistic about our children's financial future and forty-three percent cite a lack of financial education as a reason why
  • Most would rather have "The Talk" than talk about finances
  • BMO Harris Bank announces April 30 as Talk With Our Kids About Money Day and launches in Chicago

BMO Harris Bank today released the results of a new survey that found two-thirds (68 percent) of Americans don't believe that students graduating today are prepared for their financial future, as they lack a good understanding of budgeting, investing and debt, and 52 per cent said they are not optimistic about kids' financial future. The main reason cited was the state of the economy (76 percent), followed by unpredictable job market (59 percent) and lack of financial education and understanding (43 percent).

The survey also found that most Americans (62 percent) would rather talk to their kids about the facts of life than the family's finances (38 percent). A majority of Americans (70 percent) said kids need to learn about finances at home, not at school, but few parents (32 percent) feel strongly equipped to provide a solid financial education.

"BMO Harris Bank is a strong supporter of financial literacy, and we believe that opening dialogue and talking about money is a key step in putting children today on the path to financial understanding and success," said Alex Dousmanis-Curtis, Head, Retail Banking U.S., BMO Harris Bank. "Most parents recognize that money conversations should be happening at home, but few feel equipped to have them. Talk With Our Kids About Money Day give us an opportunity to bridge that gap."

April 30th marks the U.S. introduction of Talk With Our Kids About Money Day (TWOKAM), a financial literacy event launched today in Chicago following a successful pilot in Canada last year. TWOKAM is a partnership between BMO Harris Bank, the Office of the City Treasurer (Chicago), Chicago Public Schools, Econ Illinois and the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education.

The program encourages families, students and teachers to have conversations with youth about money and personal finance. The annual event takes place the last Wednesday in April, with a "Home Program" for families and a "School Program" for Grade Seven students and teachers.

The event today took place at Ariel Elementary School in the North Kenwood neighborhood of Chicago. Attendees and speakers included Stephanie Neely, Treasurer of the City of Chicago, Harrison Peters, Network Chief, Network 9, Chicago Public Schools, and Wallace Harris Jr., Regional President, BMO Harris Bank.

"There are serious social costs to financial illiteracy: it affects family stability, children's ability to pursue higher education and ultimately erodes a neighborhood's vitality. As a protector of Chicago's assets, I believe that it is my civic duty to try and solve this problem," said Chicago City Treasurer Stephanie D. Neely.

"The need to teach young people critical decision-making skills as it pertains to personal finance has never been so evident. Providing the necessary tools and resources to parents and teachers is part of the Econ Illinois mission and so we are excited to be a partner in Talk With Our Kids About Money Day," said Lori Berkes-Nelson, President, Econ Illinois.

Among respondents in Illinois, the survey also revealed:

  • Sixty-three percent don't feel kids today are ready for their financial future
  • 56 percent would rather talk about the facts of life than discuss the family's financial situation
  • Two thirds (64 percent) believe kids need to learn about finances at home, not school
  • Only 16 percent feel strongly equipped to give a child a solid financial education

About BMO Harris Bank
BMO Harris Bank provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through more than 600 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. For more information about BMO Harris Bank, go to the company fact sheet. Banking products and services are provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. and are subject to bank or credit approval. BMO Harris Bank® is a trade name used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with approximately 1,600 branches, and CDN $593 billion in assets (as of January 31, 2014).

For further information:

Media contacts:

BMO Harris Bank
Patrick O'Herlihy

Canadian Foundation for Economic Education
Joseph F. Clark