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Personal Finance Introduction and Financial Facts What is Personal Finance? Personal Finance deals with everything in your life that involves money. Everyone has at least some experience with money. This includes everyone sitting in this classroom. We have to ask ourselves why so many people have money problems? We will work this Semester/Quarter to provide you with information that will help you make wise financial decisions. Some Financial Facts Over 40% of Americans spend more money than they earn. The average savings rate in the United States is 2.8%. (Excludes money that is invested in retirement accounts). Nearly half of all working age Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement. Continued 96% of all Americans will be financially dependent on the government, family, or charity at retirement. Only 2% of homes in the United States are completely paid for and do not have a mortgage. The average American carries a balance of $8,400 in credit card debt. (If a person paid 2% of this balance per month, at an APR of 15%, it would take over 30 years to pay off the balance). Continued 35% of all bankruptcies are from people under the age of 35. Tennessee leads the nation in personal bankruptcy filings. Teen Money Facts According to a recent survey conducted by the financial firm Charles Schwab: 45% of teens stated that they could use credit cards. 26% of teens understood credit card interest and fees. 40% felt that they could create their own budget. Continued 20% claimed to have some idea about how to invest money. 32% of American teens have credit card debt. 56% of teens stated that they were concerned about their parents/guardians financial well being. 33% of teens could read a bank statement, balance a checkbook, and pay bills. Good News! The statistics that we just discussed are bleak. However, the good news is that YOU have control over your financial future and time is definitely on your side! The financial habits that you learn now will have a profound impact upon your financial future. The financial decisions you make will determine whether you will have control over your finances or your finances will control you!