Today’s teens lack financial literacy skills and fear rising college and trade school costs

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Like most people, teens learned some hard lessons during the COVID-19 pandemic, and one of them was how circumstances beyond your control can disrupt your life and threaten your financial security. The result is that more than half of American teens feel unprepared to finance their future, according to a new survey from Junior Achievement and Citizens Financial Group.

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The 2022 JA (Junior Achievement) Teens & Personal Finance survey, which surveyed 1,000 teens, found that 54% of respondents feel unprepared for future financial challenges. More than two-thirds (69%) say rising education costs have affected their plans for further education after high school, and 10% plan to pursue a two-year degree instead of a four-year degree years. The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research in February and published earlier this month.

A recurring theme in this survey and other related surveys is that many teens lack adequate financial knowledge. For example, nearly four in 10 (39%) respondents to the Junior Achievement survey said that a better understanding of how student loans work could help them resolve some of their financial concerns. A similar percentage (38%) lack basic knowledge about how education relates to employment, and around a third (32%) want a better understanding of lower-cost college alternatives (32%).

Meanwhile, 41% said they had not taken any financial literacy classes at school, underscoring the need for educational resources that would address teens’ financial concerns.

“Essential for students to feel financially confident is to equip them with the skills and knowledge to make sound financial decisions,” said Chris Ebeling, head of student loans at Citizens, in a press release. “Developing a strategy to pay for college can be daunting, but financially empowering students and families can help them for the rest of their lives.”

Lack of financial literacy among teenagers is certainly not a new problem. The difference these days is that many teenagers don’t even have a basic understanding of how finances work. As GOBankingRates previously reported, a Youth.gov report found that nearly one-fifth (18%) of 15-year-olds in the United States had not learned essential financial skills such as budgeting, comparative shopping and understanding an invoice.

But there is encouraging news. A growing number of teens have been motivated to spend more time thinking about their finances during the pandemic. Much of this focus has been on funding their next level of education, whether that be college or trade school.

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“It appears that teenagers are becoming more aware of the costs associated with higher education and are more selective in how they pursue those studies,” Junior Achievement USA CEO Jack E. Kosakowski said in a statement. communicated. “This may be the start of a positive trend, but it’s critical that teens have the information they need to make informed choices about higher education.”

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Today’s teens lack financial literacy skills, fear rising college and trade school costs