Teens and finance

Infographic about teenagers and finance, including statistics from an international study of 15 year olds.

How much do U.S. teenagers know about managing finances?

Results from an international study of 15-year olds

  • 5 in 6 teens (82%) are able to recognize the difference between needs vs. wants and making spending decisions.
  • Most teens (56%) can do budget calculations and compare benefits of borrowing money at different rates and terms.
  • Fewer than 1 in 3 teens (29%) can interpret a pay slip or understand compound interest.
  • Only 1 in 11 teens (9%) can analyze complex financial products and solve non-routine financial problems.

Of the 18 nations studied, U.S. teenagers ranked in the middle. But we can do better.

  1. Shanghai – China
  2. Flemish (Belgium)
  3. Estonia
  4. Australia
  5. New Zealand
  6. Czech Republic
  7. Poland
  8. Latvia
  9. United States
  10. Russian Federation
  11. France
  12. Slovenia
  13. Spain
  14. Croatia
  15. Israel
  16. Slovak Republic
  17. Italy
  18. Columbia

Top 4 tips for teens

1. Do you really need it, or just really want it?

Make choices about how to spend your money. Before you go out to buy something, ask yourself: Is it something you need or something you want? Does it cost less at another store? Is there something similar that’s less expensive? Is there a better way to spend your money?

2. Save, don’t just spend.

Every time you get some money, don’t just spend it all … PAY yourself FIRST! It’s like giving yourself a paycheck. Before you know it, you’ll have a hundred dollars saved up.

3. Plan ahead! Create a budget.

Before you spend your money, make a plan for how you will spend it. Write down how much money you have coming in, and what you will spend, on a weekly or monthly basis.

4. Graduate from high school

The level of education you achieve can make a huge difference in how much money you’re able to earn. On average, someone with a high school diploma earns 41% more money per year than someone without one. (Source: The College Board, “Education Pays,” 2013)

Source: OECD (2014), “PISA 2012 Results: Students and Money: Financial Literacy Skills for the 21st Century (Volume VI)”, PISA, OECD Publishing