Cramer, market pro: US needs financially literate society

US needs financially literate society
US needs financially literate society   

The next 25 years of the U.S. investment sector hinges on greater financial literacy, says Mellody Hobson, president of Chicago-based Ariel Investments and chair of DreamWorks SKG.

Financial literacy should "start much earlier than college. I think you need to start in grade school and at the very minimum, in high school," Hobson said in an interview with CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer on Thursday.

She said many schools provide necessary extracurricular activities, with funding that could be used for financial literacy instead. "It always amazes me that you could take a class today in high school in woodshop or auto and not a class on investing," said Hobson, who sits on the board of EsteeLauder and Starbucks.

The wheels nearly came off when the Great Recession hit and a lot of people are still spooked out, afraid to jump back into it, Hobson said.

DreamWorks Animation Chairman and moderator Mellody Hobson speaks during "Who Owns Your Screen?" at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit, Oct. 9, 2014, in San Francisco.
Getty Images for Vanity Fair
DreamWorks Animation Chairman and moderator Mellody Hobson speaks during "Who Owns Your Screen?" at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit, Oct. 9, 2014, in San Francisco.

Hobson said many minorities, mainly African Americans and Hispanics, miss out on wealth opportunities because they lack knowledge about the basics of the stock market.

A lack of diversity in investors is another part of issue.

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According to Hobson's research, two-thirds of minorities don't invest because they lack the "right level of understanding," which leaves them afraid and risk averse.

Many of them "don't grow up in homes where the stock market is discussed," so they don't understand all the facts about what could go wrong versus what could go right.

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