U.S. Teens Turn to Internet as Financial Basics Lag: Survey

America’s teens lag on leading indicators for future financial stability and are widely turning to the Internet to learn about managing money, according to a new survey.

And, as those teens start the new school year, the class they want to take in school before graduation is financial education.

The survey of 500 U.S. teens, comprised of 250 males and 250 females, was conducted by research firm ORC International on behalf of SecureFutures, a financial empowerment nonprofit. SecureFutures commissioned the survey to gauge where teens may be learning about money and their level of preparation for their financial futures based on key indicators.

“Without financial confidence and capability, teens in our communities will continue to face the same daunting challenges with paying for college and entering adulthood,” said Brenda Campbell, President and CEO, SecureFutures. “Teens deserve comprehensive preparation on managing money so they aren’t resorting to random online searches.”

When asked where they find information on money, teens cited the Internet as the second-leading source (37%), ranking only behind parents or guardians (70%). The Internet tied or beat out three other options: schools/teachers (37%), non-school programs (15%) and peers (21%).

In a separate question, teens by a two-to-one margin said they think a financial education course would be the most important course to take before entering adulthood. Forty-three percent of teens said it would be more valuable to take a financial education course of some sort over options such as foreign language (18%), calculus (15%), U.S. history (15%) and physical education (9%).

When asked about capabilities and confidence around three key indicators of financial stability, the vast majority of teens indicated they were not prepared. In a question where teens could log multiple selections, only 40% of teens noted that they had a bank account, 21% said they used a budget of some sort, and 38% said they know how they will pay for college. However, 28% noted they didn’t do any of the three. These three financial behaviors are early indicators of lifelong personal financial stability, Campbell said, citing research on behavioral outcomes tracked by her organization since 2006.

ORC International conducted the survey of 13-to-17-year olds nationwide from August 15-20, 2017.

For interview requests and additional comment from Brenda Campbell, contact justin(at)securefutures.org or (414) 273-8101. For more, visit: https://www.securefutures.org/2017-survey

About SecureFutures

SecureFutures empowers students with life-changing financial education and coaching. SecureFutures was founded as Make A Difference – Wisconsin in 2006 and remains dedicated to strengthening our communities by ensuring every teen is confident and capable when it comes to managing money. Our collaborative network of supporters, volunteers and educators have worked to improve financial futures for more than 62,000 teens.

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