April is National Financial Literacy Month, and it's also the month that we highlight some important results from our annual Teens & Personal Finance survey.
Junior Achievement has conducted the Teens & Personal Finance Survey for the last 16 years, partnering with The Allstate Foundation since 2005. Each year the survey asks U.S. teens, ages 13-18, questions about personal finance and attitudes on saving and spending money. This year, for the first time, we expanded the survey to also ask parents of teens their thoughts on personal finance and their teens' knowledge of certain money management skills. Talking with parents gave us some really interesting insights about the differences between parents and teens.
We learned that parents aren't talking to their kids enough about money management in general. As the above graphic shows, eighty-four percent of teens name their parents as their main source for learning about money management, yet more than a third of parents (34%) say they do not discuss money matters with their children and "let kids be kids." How can we expect our kids to learn if we're not willing to teach them?
Even more interesting, when parents are talking to their kids about money, they are may be leaving girls out of the conversation. Forty percent of girls say their parents aren't talking to them enough about money management, compared to only 24% of boys.
The gender gap continues in personal finance lessons from parents. Boys report getting allowance more often than girls for good grades (34% to 24%) and completing chores (48% to 38%).
Data also shows that women (teens and parents) have lower expectations about potential earning power. Moms are significantly more likely than dads to say their child will earn $15k or less at their first job after graduation (26% vs. 17%). Teen girls continue the trend: 24% of girls think they will make $15k or less at their first job compared to only 16% of boys who feel the same. We need to be equipping both boys and girls with the skills they will need to lead financially independent lives.
Additionally, the survey results showed that parents and teens aren't talking about how to pay for college.
Nearly half of teens (48%) think their parents will help for college but only 16% of parents say they are planning to pay for their child's post-secondary education. Additionally, interest in community college is on the rise. When asked to consider the rising cost of college, a larger number of teens in 2015 are considering attending local community college instead of another college or university: 22 percent in 2014 rose to 29 percent in 2015.
To read more about the survey and learn how you can start these conversations with your teens, click here.