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People often argue that financial knowledge can be acquired with experience. But if the evidence from a new survey index is any indication, that way of learning may, in fact, be very slow or not work well at all. The TIAA Institute-GFLEC Personal Finance Index, or P-Fin Index for short, provides a snapshot of Americans’ understanding of basic financial concepts. And the results don’t look too promising.

Watch out, parents: Back-to-school season can easily put a four-figure dent in your budget. Parents of high school students can expect to pay an average $1,489 per child for school supplies and activity fees, according to the annual Huntington Bank Backpack Index. That's a drop of $9, or less than 1 percent, from 2016. Parents of elementary-school students can expect to pay an average $662 per child, up 1 percent from last year. Middle-school students' parents will fork over $1,001, a 4.6 percent increase. Some parents expect to shell out even more. One in 5 parents said they plan to spend more than $2,000 per child in back-to-school shopping, according to a new Capital One survey.

Back-to-school shopping is serious business: The National Retail Federation reports that this year, parents with children in kindergarten through 12th grade plan to spend $630.36 on average. Over the last decade, that number has climbed from $443.80. "We're seeing a consistently more confident consumer … fewer people are saying they're shopping for sales," says Stacie Severs Nelson, client services and marketing director of Prosper Insights & Analytics, which conducted the survey for NRF.

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