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Teens feel more financially optimistic, but parent-dependent

March 27, 2013

Teenagers are more optimistic about their financial futures than last year, according to Junior Achievement USA and the Allstate Foundation’s 2013 Teens and Personal Finance Poll, which tracked a 20 percent increase in teens believing they will be financially better off than their parents.

By the same token, respondents to the survey, 1,025 teens 14-18 years old, based this feeling of security on a dependence on their parents until a later age, with 25 percent thinking they will be 25-27 years of age before becoming financially independent—an increase of 12 percent from 2011.

“It is interesting to see this shift in teens thinking they will remain financially dependent on parents, while building a better future for themselves,” said Jack E. Kosakowski, president and chief executive officer of Junior Achievement USA, in a statement. “From our findings, we can infer that teens expect to live with their parents longer because 23 percent are unsure about their ability to budget and nearly 20 percent express similar feelings about the use of credit cards. Additionally, 34 percent of teens express a lack of confidence in their ability to invest their money. The good news is that resources are available, but now is the time to implement steps to help today’s teens secure independent financial futures.”

Other key survey findings include:

•    Of the 33 percent of teens who say they do not use a budget, 42 percent are “not interested” and more than a quarter (26 percent) said “budgets are for adults.”

•    Fifty-two percent of teens think students are borrowing too much to pay for college, yet only nine percent report that they are currently saving money for college. Nearly 30 percent have not talked with their parents about paying for higher education.

•    Seventy-six percent of teens say the best time to learn about money management is in kindergarten through high school, but only 29 percent cited existing programs.

Junior Achievement and the Allstate Foundation have been partnering since 2005 in the JA Economics for Success Program, which has helped more than 1.2 million students set personal financial goals and make educated choices.

“Parents continue to be the No.1 influence on teens when it comes to money, so helping their teens set financial goals and take steps to meet them should pay off financially for both teens and their parents,” stated Don Civgin, president and chief executive officer of Allstate Financial. “One goal many teens have is to go to college, yet nearly 30 percent of teens say they haven’t discussed paying for higher education with their parents and only nine percent admit to saving for college. There is a tremendous opportunity for family conversation on this topic.”

An executive summary of the 2013 Junior Achievement USA/Allstate Foundation Teens and Personal Finance Survey is available at


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