10 Statistics that show we have a long way to go to truly understand credit, debt, and personal finance.

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1. According to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, 60 percent of American adults had not reviewed their credit score and 65 percent had not reviewed their credit reports within the previous 12 months. Only 29 percent of adults had reviewed both their credit report and score in the last year, or just over 1 in 4.

2. The same study found that 54 percent of respondents erroneously thought that their credit scores could be found on a standard credit report.

3. Shockingly, about 40 percent of those surveyed by the Consumer Federation of America had no idea that banks, credit card issuers, and mortgage lenders use credit scores to make decisions about lending to consumers.

4. One in five U.S. adults (21 percent) have no clear idea what types of information are contained on a credit report. Consider that:

39 percent don’t even realize that their full legal name appears on their credit report.

41 percent didn’t know that it would list their current address and 56 percent didn’t know their previous addresses were on there.

More than half of those surveyed (51 percent and 52 percent, respectively) didn’t know that their social security number or birth date were on their credit report.

5. Interestingly, women seem to have a better understanding of credit scores and credit reporting. Women correctly understand that age, marital status, and other forms of information are not used in calculating scores at a 10 percent plus higher rate than men.

6. An eye-popping 93% of those surveyed agree or strongly agree with the statement that they could benefit from advice and answers to everyday financial questions, including credit and credit scoring, from a professional.

7. And yet, people still learn about credit, debt, and personal finance primarily from their parents or at home, not from a financial professional, at work or school, or other responsible avenues. 44 percent of those polled, the largest group in the survey, report this is true.

8. It’s fair to say that financial education at home isn’t working for a vast number of Americans, as only a paltry 43 percent of U.S. adults report that they have a household budget for finances that they monitor. But the majority of people, 56 percent, don’t even have a budget, and 1 in 5, 22 percent, admit they don’t even have a good idea how much money they spend on housing, food, entertainment, and other costs every month.

9. At the same time, more and more U.S. adults disclose that they don’t pay all of their bills on time every month. In 2011, 28 percent didn’t always pay on time but that number was up to 33 percent in 2012 and still on the rise. That means that at least one out of every three Americans aren’t even paying bills on time, yet alone getting ahead financially.

10. More than 32 percent of those surveyed said it was extremely unlikely or unlikely that they would be able to pay off all of their credit card debt this year. An additional 27 percent thought that they were even somewhat or moderately likely to become debt free.

And an alarming71 percent of consumers with large balances of credit cards and debt say they are seriously considering bankruptcy as their only option.

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All of those statistics certainly doesn’t inspire confidence, and illustrate why we need much better education when it comes to credit score, reporting, debt, and personal finance. Subscribe to the Blue Water Credit blog and take advantage of our free educational resources so you won’t become another statistic!

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