American teenagers outranked by Chinese in money smarts

Nearly 30,000 students across 18 of the world's industrialized nations were tested on how they understood financial matters.

Story highlights

  • The OECD tested "financial literacy" of 15-year-olds across 18 countries
  • American teenagers rank below average -- while Chinese kids are the best
  • Try the test yourself, answers are at the bottom of the story
American teenagers rank below average when it comes to understanding the value of money -- while Chinese kids are the best.
In a quiz designed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to reveal "financial literacy" of 15-year-olds, students from the U.S., Russia and Latvia emerged as below middling. Teens from China, Belgium, Estonia, Australia and New Zealand were revealed as the savviest.
Nearly 30,000 students across 18 of the world's industrialized nations were tested on how they understood financial matters for the report.
The 15-year olds were given range of tasks -- from figuring out an invoice and payslip to making a judgment on value of money.
Do you think consider yourself money smart? Then try answering the three questions below, taken from the OECD test. Answers are at the bottom of the story.
1. You can buy tomatoes by the kilogram or by the box.
Bought loose, they are $2.75 per kilogram, while a 10 kilogram box is $22. The box of tomatoes is better value for money than the loose tomatoes.
Why?
2: Mrs Jones has a loan of $8,000 with FirstZed Finance.
The annual interest rate on the loan is 15%. Her repayments each month are $150. After one year Mrs Jones still owes $7,400.
Another finance company called Zedbest will give Mrs Jones a loan of $10,000 with an annual interest rate of 13%. Her repayments each month would also be $150. If she takes the Zedbest loan, Mrs Jones will immediately pay off her existing loan.
What are two other financial benefits for Mrs Jones if she takes the Zedbest loan? What is one possible negative financial consequence for Mrs Jones if she agrees to the Zedbest loan?
3: Each month, Jane's salary is paid into her bank account. This is Jane's pay slip for July:
EMPLOYEE PAY SLIP: Jane Citizen - 1 July to 31 July
Position: Manager
Gross salary $2,800
Deductions $300
Net salary $2,500
Gross salary to date this year $19,600
How much money did Jane's employer pay into her bank account on 31 July?
A. $300
B. $2,500
C. $2,800
D. $19,600
Answers:
1. The price per kilogram of boxed tomatoes is less than the price per kilogram for loose tomatoes -- $2.20 per kg for the boxed tomatoes compared to $2.75 per kg for the loose tomatoes.
2. Mrs Jones will have extra money to use and will get a lower interest rate. But she will also owe more money overall, will pay more interest in total and will take longer to repay her debt.
3: B
(Source: OECD)