Starting my project Green for Teen$ regarding financial awareness and information of high school teenagers, I wanted to acquire a snapshot of how much my peers know about personal finance and their spending habits. I sent out a surveymonkey survey with the help of a friend and received the following results from about 120 high school students.

What Grade are you in?

22 people    Freshmen / 9th 

20 people    Sophomores / 10th

54 people    Juniors / 11th

22 people    Seniors / 12th

Have your parents talked to you about personal finances and how to manage money?

32.2% NO

67.8% YES

Do you have a savings account?

22.3% NO

77.7% YES

Do you have a checking account?

35.5% NO

64.5% YES

What do you think the average interest rate for a credit card is? (How much extra you pay if you pay late)

  1. 5%

  2. 14%

  3. 19%

  4. 25%

28.9% said 5%

41.3% said 14%

9.1% said 25%

20.7% said 19% which was the correct answer at the time of the survey

Have you taken or will you take the finance management elective in high school?

52.1% NO 

47.9% YES

Do you have savings for college?

22.3% NO

77.7% YES

 Do your parents give you an allowance?

77.7% NO 

22.3% YES

There are two banks: One of them has a savings account at 3% interest, one has a savings account at 4% interest. Which is the better option?

The correct answer is 4% interest

74.4% got the answer right

Two credit cards are being offered: one has an interest rate of 14% and the other 16%. Which is the better option?    

The correct answer was 14%   

71.1% got it right

Do you save money each month?  

40.5% NO

59.5% YES

How much do you spend each month (on average)?

14% --- don’t know

28.9% ----  $0-25

21.5% --- $25-50

22.3% --- $50-100

13.2% --- $100+

Do you have a job/source of income? (Allowance doesn't count)

59.5% NO

40.5% YES

Do you consider yourself more of a saver or a spender?

47.9% spender

52.1% saver

Are you worried about handling your future finances?

35.5% NO 

64.5% YES

Would you like to learn more about taxes and how to do them?

14.9% NO

85.1% YES

If you own a car, do you pay your own insurance and gas?

20.7% yes I pay

21.5% no I don’t pay

57.9% I don’t have a car

Have you ever created a budget?

52.7% NO

47.1% YES

Have you ever used a budgeting app?

92.6% NO

7.4% YES

This survey gave me a general insight into high school students around me. Before conducting this survey I guessed that the majority of the students might be worried about their future finances and that they would want to learn more about taxes. My assumption was right because my results showed that there was a greater percentage of people that were either worried or wanted more knowledge on these topics.

It was a pleasant surprise that about half of the students saved money each month and considered themselves more of a saver than a spender and that ¾ of students believe to have some college savings. 

I also found out that more than half of students have not or don’t plan on taking a finance class in high school and yet, the majority of 64.5% of students worry about handling their future finances. About ¼ of students don’t yet understand the interest rates for savings accounts and for credit cards which seemed plausible and in alignment with how many had taken the personal finance class at our high school. A whopping 85.1% of students even want to know more about taxes and how to do one’s taxes.

I don’t judge whatever someone’s reasons are not to take a personal finance elective. I am definitely in support of a required personal finance class in high school though. I want to write this booklet in hopes of informing students who don’t get information about ways to deal with future finances and hopefully make that transition into adulthood a little bit easier for them. While I was glad to see that 67.8% of students had talked to their parents about personal finance management, there were still 32.2% of students that had never talked about this subject at home.

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