That's the title of a television quiz show hosted by comedian Jeff Foxworthy. Adults risk embarrassment before a national TV audience as they try to answer questions from a 5th grade curriculum. Questions cover the usual academic topics, such as geography, math, science and history.
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- The savings game
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But, apparently, it's not prevalent enough in school or elsewhere.
Some 70 percent of parents in a survey sponsored by Visa said their child has not had any formal training in money management, either in school or outside the home. And 76 percent said schools should be required to teach money-management skills.
Financial knowledge is important to school children and adults, said Don Silver, author of the "High School Money Book" and other personal finance books. "It's very important for being able to make choices in life that we have financial freedom," he said.
Many adults lament the fact that their schools never addressed the subjects of debt and credit cards, saving and investing, and being a smart consumer.
Many learned lessons the hard way, through trial and error, painful money mistakes and accumulating debt. The common refrain of many a 50-year-old consumer is, "If I only knew then what I know now about money."
As a result, many adults could be asked, "Are you smarter than a 5th grader" about money.
Here's a 10-question quiz--let's call it the SAT, or spending aptitude test--that many 5th graders could pass. Can you? -- You desperately want a new baseball glove that costs $50 but you only have $30 saved. What should you do? a) Wait until you save $20 more from weekly allowances.
b) Borrow money from your parents at 18 percent interest and buy it now.
c) Sell part of your Pokemon card collection on eBay for $20 and buy it now.
Answer: a or c. Saving and selling stuff are smart ways to pay for things. Borrowing at 18 percent interest is a very expensive way to spend money you haven't yet earned.
-- "Opportunity cost" refers to the chance to pay less. True or false?
Answer: false. When weighing a spending decision, opportunity cost is an evaluation of what else you could have done with that money. Every spending choice has an opportunity cost.
-- If your allowance is $5 a week, and you already have $150 saved, how many more weeks will it take to buy a $250 video game system?
a) 20 weeks b) 15 weeks c) It depends
Answer: c. It depends on how much of your allowance you save. You could save enough in 20 weeks if you don't spend any of your allowance. It could be slightly sooner if your savings is in an interest-bearing account while you're saving. -- At the end of one month, would you rather be paid $1 million or the total of a penny doubled every day?
Answer: a penny. Receiving $1 million is nice, but a penny doubled every day yields $5.4 million in a typical month, or nearly $11 million if the month has 31 days. That's the power of compounding, in this case 100 percent per day.