New research shows majority of teens feel unprepared to fund their future

Lack of access to technology emerges as a major concern; high school students remain concerned about rising costs of higher education

PROVIDENCE, RI & COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–After two uncertain and often stressful years, high school students are worried about their financial future, prompting more than half (54%) of teens to say they feel unprepared for fund their future, according to a new study by Junior Business and Citizens. Findings from JA’s Fifth Annual Teen and Personal Finance Survey Indicate High Concern Among Teens About Financial Anxiety and the Future, Highlighting the Need for Additional Resources to Help Teens Make Financial Decisions That Affect Them long-term.

More than two-thirds of teens (69%) say the rising cost of education has affected their plans for further study after high school. While almost a third of teens (31%) do not expect their plans to be affected, almost as many (28%) say they are now only considering public schools, while around one fifth (22%) plan to live at home and go to university, and one in ten (10%) plan to complete a two-year degree rather than a four-year degree. Wakefield Research conducted the survey among 1,000 teens aged 13 to 18 between February 18 and 24, 2022.

“Establishing them with the skills and knowledge to make sound financial decisions is essential for students to feel financially confident,” said Chris Ebeling, Head of Student Loans, Citizens. “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.”

Teens said some of these concerns could be addressed by better understanding how student loans work (39%), knowing how education is linked to employment (38%), or having access to cheaper alternatives (32%). A significant proportion of respondents (41%) said they had not taken any financial literacy classes at school, further underscoring the need for educational resources that would address these concerns.

“Based on the results of this survey, it appears that adolescents are increasingly aware of the costs associated with higher education and are more selective in how they pursue these studies,” said Jack E. Kosakowski, president and CEO of Junior Achievement. United States. “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. That’s why Junior Achievement works with partners such as Citizens for providing this kind of information through our learning experiences for high school students.”

The digital divide became even more apparent early in the pandemic, exacerbating gaps in digital literacy and technological equipment. Among teens planning to complete a four-year degree, two-thirds (66%) expressed some concern about the availability of technology needed to complete a degree. Factors contributing to this concern include cost of devices (52%) and poor Wi-Fi access/connectivity (28%). This lack of access becomes an obstacle for young people to learn, work and even go to university.

Junior Achievement and Citizens have prioritized the issue in their community outreach work and remain committed to supporting underserved communities through technology, education and digital literacy initiatives to ensure everyone has the opportunity to be part of the workforce of the future. Citizens’ commitment to financial literacy has included a partnership with Junior Achievement to support the implementation of financial literacy programs in communities where Citizens operates. Citizens also helped Junior Achievement improve different delivery models, such as virtual volunteering and distance learning, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other survey findings include:

  • 62% of teens use mobile or online apps to help with money management, up from 48% in a similar survey in 2019.

  • 38% of teens say cash is still their preferred payment method, compared to 2% who prefer apps.

  • 57% of teens say their parents use cash to give them money, up from 71% in 2019, while 20% say their parents use apps, up from 9% in 2019.

  • There has been a decline in the use of traditional financial tools by teens, particularly debit cards (59% today compared to 62% in 2019), credit cards (24% today compared to 30% in 2019) and checkbooks (9% today). vs 18% in 2019), over the same period.

More information and a summary of the survey are available at this link.

Survey methodology:

The Junior Achievement Fintech Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com) among 1,000 nationally representative American teens, ages 13-18, between February 18 and February 24, 2022, at the using an email invitation and an online survey. The data has been weighted to ensure a reliable and accurate representation of we teenagers from 13 to 18 years old.

The results of any sample are subject to sampling variations. 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 as part of this particular study, there is a 95 out of 100 chance that a survey result will not deviate, more or less, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would have been obtained if interviews had been conducted with all the people in the universe represented by the sample.

About Junior Achievement USA® (JA)

Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to take ownership of their economic success, plan for their future, and make wise academic and economic choices. JA programs are delivered by corporate and community volunteers and provide relevant hands-on experiences that equip K-12 students with knowledge and skills in financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship. Today, JA reaches more than 2.5 million students a year in 103 markets across United States as part of 10 million students served by operations in another 100 countries around the world. junior achievement United States is a member of JA Worldwide. Visit www.ja.org for more information.

About Citizens Financial Group, Inc.

Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions, with $188.4 billion of assets as of December 31, 2021. Based in Providence, Rhode Island, Citizens offers a wide range of banking products and services to individuals, small businesses, mid-sized businesses, large corporations and institutions. Citizens helps its clients reach their potential by listening to them and understanding their needs in order to offer advice, ideas and tailor-made solutions. In Consumer Banking, Citizens offers an integrated experience that includes mobile and online banking, a 24/7 customer contact center, and the convenience of nearly 3,000 ATMs and more than 1,000 branches in 14 states and the United States. District of Colombia. Consumer Banking’s products and services include a full range of banking, lending, savings, wealth management and small business offerings. In commercial banking, Citizens offers a wide range of financial products and solutions, including lending and leasing services, deposit and cash management services, foreign exchange risk management solutions, interest rate interest and commodities, as well as loan syndication, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, and debt and equity markets capabilities. More information is available at www.citizensbank.com or visit us at TwitterLinkedIn or Facebook.


Bennett Griesmer


[email protected]

Junior Achievement:

Ed Grocholsky


[email protected]

Source: Citizens Financial Group, Inc.