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State students lack personal knowledge, outperform others

By Don Mecoy Published: April 29, 2008
"I don't think it's the all-inclusive Holy Grail answer to solving financial problems in Oklahoma, but I do think it's a great step. It can make a big impact.”

Sue Lynn Sasser, executive director of the Oklahoma Council on Economic Education, said the students' poor performance disappointed but doesn't surprise her.

Sasser, who teaches economics, including introductory courses, at the University of Central Oklahoma, said many of her younger students do not have a grasp of basic financial concepts like compound interest. That lack of knowledge can lead to major problems, Sasser said.

"If you put $10,000 on your credit card to pay your wedding and honeymoon and make minimum payments, it's going to take longer to pay off than the average marriage in Oklahoma lasts,” she said.

The goal of financial literacy education is to improve the lot of Oklahoma families, Sasser said. If that happens, it should trigger more widespread benefits, she said.

"If you improve the financial independence of families, you should improve the overall economy of the state because people are not defaulting on mortgages, they're not filing as many bankruptcies, incomes tend to go up, (and the) savings rate goes up,” Sasser said.

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