Teens have angst — about money.
About one in three teens don’t believe that they’ll be financially independent from their parents by age 30, according to a survey of 1,000 U.S. teens ages 13-18 released this week by youth organization Junior Achievement USA and Citizens Bank. And they don’t think they’ll be hitting major money milestones in a timely manner either. Just 44% think they’ll be saving for retirement by 30 and only 43% think they’ll have paid off student loans by then.
“These survey findings show a disconcerting lack of confidence among teens when it comes to achieving financial goals,” said Jack Kosakowski, president and CEO of Junior Achievement USA, in a statement. “With a strong economy, you would think teens would be more optimistic.”
But when you look at how little teens know about money, maybe these findings aren’t so surprising after all. Indeed, a number of surveys find that teens financial knowhow is lacking. One recent one — an 8-question financial foundations quiz put out by the National Financial Educators Council, which works to increase access to financial education — found that only about half of 10-14 year olds and 56% of 15-18 year olds could pass its test. Here are some of the sample questions:
What should you research and be prepared to pay prior to moving into a rental property?
A) Current month’s rent
B) Last month’s rent.
C) Security deposit.
D) Expenses associated with establishing utilities.
E) All of the above.
Which loan term is best if you want to reduce the total amount you will repay over the life of the loan?
What is the most important financial consideration when deciding whether to take out a college loan?
A) The school you attend
B) Your GPA and college testing scores
C) The return on investment you’ll receive from obtaining the degree
D) Whether you live on-campus or off-campus
While questions on quizzes like these tend to be basic, many teens don’t know the answers, possibly because they aren’t taught the basics of personal finance in school. Just 17 states require students take a personal finance class in high school, according to the Council for Economic Education, and just 22 require an economics class.
What’s more, the Junior Achievement USA and Citizens Bank survey found that teens are relying on their parents for financial advice, with 64% saying they turn to parents and caregivers for money advice. The problem: Many parents aren’t doing all that much to impart their financial knowhow onto their kids.
“Only one in five parents involves their teen to a great extent in the family’s budgeting and spending decisions,” a recent Charles Schwab study found. “In fact, parents are much more likely to teach their kids how to do laundry than how to balance a checkbook.”
Wondering how to get started teaching your kids about finance so they aren’t still depending on you at 30? These guides can help.