Current Events | JA In The News | Junior Achievement USA

Credit Card Crash Course

Not all credit cards are created equal, which makes choosing one a difficult task.

As of March 2019, Americans paid banks a shocking $113 billion in credit card interest in 2018. While your credit card activities may differ from your colleague or classmate, one thing is for sure—understanding the way your credit card works is a crucial component to any credit holder.

Pick the Right Card

Although the flashy commercials are dazzling, they shouldn’t sway you into choosing a card just because your favorite celebrity is representing it. You need to consider what you will be using the card for. The list of credit cards available is endless ranging from cards that cater to balance transfers, low-interest rates, cash back, reward points, gas points, and more!

When examining cards, be sure to look at the Introductory Offer APR as well as what the APR will be once the Introductory time-period has concluded. While a 0% Introductory APR may sound appealing, be sure the APR that follows is within reason for you and your income.

To help you explore the cards that are best for your goals, check out NerdWallet! You can compare and deep-dive into the specifics of each card that you’re interested in!

Consider Your Credit

In the united states, the average score for those who are 18 – 29-years-old have a FICO score of 659, 30-39-year-olds have an average of 677, followed by 40-49-year-olds with a FICO score of 690. For most of those who are 20 or younger, the concept of credit score may be foreign, so here is the best (and simplest) explanation: Your credit score is a number that helps lenders (money-lending institutions) determine how likely it is that they will receive the money they lend you, on time. Seems simple enough, right? Be warned, this one number reflects multiple factors of your money history including your total debt (should you have any), the types of credit accounts you have, the number of late payments, how many credit checks you have requested, as well as the age of the credit card accounts. Here comes the kicker, FICO is not the only type of credit bureaus that utilize credit scores. There is a total of 5 you should be aware of. Here are the five and the credit score ranges they use:

-    FICO: 300 – 850

-    Experian: 330 – 830

-    Equifax: 300 – 850

-    TransUnion: 300 – 850

-    VantageScore: 501 – 990

How to Understand Schumer’s Box (aka the card information pamphlet)

Break out your reading glasses because when it comes to credit cards, you will want to read the fine print. While the example below doesn’t go through every single term you will see as you read through the fees and other credit card specifics, it should give you enough information to compare and contrast the credit cards you are considering.

Before running off to explore the world of credit, here are some FAQs you may find helpful:

Why is introductory APR even a thing?

The 0% catches your attention, doesn’t it? You won’t have to pay any interest on the money you owe for 12 to 18 months! Who wouldn’t want to start the paperwork?! Before you sign on the dotted line, lenders use these attractive offers to get you to switch cards. If you don’t pay off all your card once the introductory period ends, you could get hit with a fee.


Why do I even need a credit card?

You’ve heard the horror stories from parents, friends, and even movies. So why should you even get a credit card? At the most basic level, credit cards are a great way to earn rewards from purchases you would have made anyway with a debit card or cash. They can also help you build credit so when the time comes you want a new car or a home, you will have a score to back up your money habits to the lender.


What if I don’t have any credit?

For those without any credit, you will find it more challenging to be approved for a card to help you build the credit you need. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can position yourself:

  1. Apply for a Secured Credit Card: these are cards that are “backed” by a cash deposit you will make at the beginning. The deposit amount typically is the same amount as the card’s credit limit.
  1. Co-Signer: For someone without any credit, lenders are wanting to have more confidence in getting their money back. This is where a co-signer comes in handy. Essentially a co-signer, someone with good credit, takes responsibility for you if you fail to pay back the money borrowed to the lender.
  1. Authorized User on a Card: If you have a family member or significant other that would like to assist in your credit building efforts, this may be your best bet! Not only can you use the card as if it is your own, but you will also be able to build credit. The one downside most credit card holders have in adding an authorized user is the authorized user is not legally obligated to pay for the charges.


What if I am a minor?

When applying for credit cards you will find to apply, you will need to be 18 or older. An option to begin building credit under the age of 18 may include becoming an authorized user on a guardian’s card. As mentioned above, this method may be riskier for the original card holder as the authorized user may not be legally obligated to pay for the charges.


To learn more about responsible money management, check out the “My Money” section of the Junior Achievement website



5 Benefits of Hiring a Student Intern

With summer on the horizon, high school and college students are already thinking about their next step—internships. While college students may be viewing an internship as a foot-in to a career after they graduate, high school students are seeking internships to discover what career path they may want to pursue in the future.

The benefits of interning as a student are endless, but what do these young professionals have to offer to your company?

Determine Staff Demands for the Future

Small projects that would take only a few months are better suited for someone such as an intern than for an individual seeking full-time work. Most departments have had various job tasks that have driven managers to contemplate adding a position to the team. With an intern, these tasks will not only provide full-spectrum learning opportunities, but they will also help you to determine the demands of unassigned tasks. Should one duty take more time or demand more than expected, you will be able to plan (and budget) for future hiring opportunities.

Future Colleague

Do you remember that one job you hated? How about the one you loved? Your interns will be processing their internship the same way you have with your previous jobs. Should your company make it an enjoyable and multi-beneficial experience, you could be looking at your future hire. After all, they’ll be learning your company culture, services or products…and you…as their internship progresses.

Gain New Ideas

The corporate mindset can get all of us stuck in mindsets that limit creativity. Bringing in an intern could provide your company with fresh and trendy new concepts that could change your company for the better. Once you have an intern, encourage him or her to attend meetings and then to debrief with their supervisor should they have any feedback or ideas.

Support Local High Schools

Building relationships in your community is a great way to get your brand out in the public for FREE. What better way than to offer internship experiences to your local high school students who are preparing for college or a trade school?

Word of Mouth

Hiring an intern provides your company with the opportunity to be talked about. If your organization is offering the best setting for an intern, they will be sure to convey their positive feelings to their peers, family and, family!

Think your company could inspire today’s youth into your industry? Check out JA Job Shadow®!

Which Leadership Style Are You?

Not all leaders are the same. From school group projects to navigating through escape rooms with friends, your leadership skills evolve throughout life and will determine the relationships you have in and out of the workplace!

To better understand what type of leader you are, use the flow chart below!


JA Teens & Retirement Insights

A new survey by Junior Achievement USA and AIG finds that nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of teens are concerned about their parents' preparedness for retirement while demonstrating a lack of education about their own. Sixty-nine percent of young adults ages 13-18 say they know little or nothing about financial planning.

When asked what they plan to do after they retire, teens cited traveling, hobbies such as golf or crafts, volunteering, and splurging on RVs or vacation homes as their top choices. More than a third (34%) of respondents think they will retire at age 60 or younger; however, one-third believe they will need less than $5,000 saved to retire and on average the teens plan to start saving for retirement at age 29.  

In addition, 46 percent of teens are not confident they know how to plan for retirement. But teens' lack of understanding about financial and retirement planning does not translate into a lack of understanding about the imperativeness of planning. Ninety-three percent say it is important to have a financial plan for retirement, and 92 percent find value in taking a personal finance class in high school.

When asked to identify descriptions and benefits of financial products such as 401ks, annuities, and social security, nearly half (49%) were able to correctly match 401ks, one-third (33%) were right about annuities, and less than two-third (61%) about Social Security.  Definitions, though, are just the start of any education process and help is needed in the application: While many could define an annuity, less than one-quarter (21%) of teens identified annuities as a protected source of lifetime income compared to bank deposits, stocks and mutual funds—none of which can provide protected income that cannot be outlived. And only about half (51%) were somewhat confident that Social Security will still exist when it's time for them to retire.  

To gain the knowledge they need for information about investing for retirement, teens say they would first go to their parents, closely followed by a financial advisor or banker, other family member, teacher, or friend.

Methodological Notes:

The JA/AIG Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research ( among 1,000 nationally representative U.S. teens, ages 13-18, who are not currently enrolled in college, between August 13 and August 20, 2018, using an email invitation and an online survey.  Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

About AIG

American International Group, Inc. (AIG) is a leading global insurance organization. Founded in 1919, today AIG member companies provide a wide range of property casualty insurance, life insurance, retirement products, and other financial services to customers in more than 80 countries and jurisdictions. These diverse offerings include products and services that help businesses and individuals protect their assets, manage risks and provide for retirement security. AIG common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the Tokyo Stock Exchange.


5 Quotes to Live by from Successful Women

While March may be coming to an end, Women’s History Month is still on our mind.

Here are our top 5 quotes from highly successful women to live by throughout the rest of 2019!


  1. “There’s never going to be a precisely right moment to speak, share an idea, or take a chance. Just take the moment—don’t let thoughts like ‘I don’t feel like I’m ready’ get in the way.”

– Kathleen Tierney, President at Berkley One


  1. “I’ve seen plenty of powerful women squander a chance at power simply because they waited for someone else to give them permission to have power. There is no permission slip — you just have to BE powerful.”

 - Shonda Rhimes, Founder Shondaland


  1. “Competence is essential—master your subject matter. You should also have the ability to communicate clearly and adjust your communication for the individual or group you’re attempting to reach. And initiative. Voracious curiosity, learning quickly, and listening well—to what is being said and sometimes, more importantly, to what isn’t being said.”

– Donna Frosco, President of the New York State Women’s Bar Association


  1. “Just do it. Dream it and do it. Learn how and when to say no and delegate. Enjoy what you are doing, and make sure you are having fun. And don’t be afraid to bring new ideas forward, but be respectful of people.”

– Barbara Cerf, Corporate Vice President of Women’s Market at New York Life from 2006 to 2014


  1. "I know many women just like me who have high-stress jobs that include lots of travel. I have always found it important to take time for yourself to relax and stay fit. My favorite stress reliever is to take a long, brisk morning walk through the neighborhood with my dog, Pablo. It's enjoyable and a good workout."

– Ellen Alemany, Chairwoman and CEO of CIT Group and Chairwoman, CEO and President of CIT Bank at CIT

Showing 1 - 5 of 527 results.
Items per Page 5
of 106

Press Releases

JA USA® Press Releases

Thought Leadership Content

Thought Leadership Content



  • "Junior Achievement has given me a sense of what adults go through with budget issues."

    -Junior Achievement Student
  • "Junior Achievement reinforced concepts for me to remember later in life."

    -Junior Achievement Student
  • "I thought the experience was amazing. The presentation was unlike anything I've seen."

    -Junior Achievement Student
  • "I liked how the Junior Achievement volunteer explained his job to us."

    -Junior Achievement Student

Get Involved with Junior Achievement!

If you would like to volunteer, request a program, or volunteer with JA,
please reach out to a JA near you!