News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 2, 2013

READERS’ FORUM: Sept. 2, 2013


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---- — Securing teens’ financial futures

Are today’s teens at risk of becoming tomorrow’s “basement generation?”

In the coming weeks, millions of American teens will be entering the college ranks. There was a time when many kids could get a degree and immediately start a career. But in recent years, for a variety of reasons, including a sluggish economy and the growing skills gap in the American workforce, many kids are heading back home to live in mom’s and dad’s basement after receiving that college degree. A reality reinforced by recent assessments of Census data by Pew Research showing that more than one-in-four adults between the ages of 25 and 34 had moved back with their parents at one time or another during the Great Recession.

A new survey from Junior Achievement USA and The Allstate Foundation  shows that 25 percent of teens believe they will be age 25-27 before becoming financially independent from parents/ guardians, up from 12 percent in 2011.

Generally speaking, teens are more optimistic about their futures, with a 20 percent increase in those saying they expect to be financially better off than their parents. But part of their financial security now comes from depending on parents longer.

Jobs are still hard to find, especially for new graduates, and societal norms are more accepting of the formerly dreaded “living with your parents.” It is interesting to see this shift in teens thinking they will remain financially dependent on parents, while building a better future for themselves.

Similarly to how you’ve encouraged and taught your children through other aspects of their lives, you also need to give them the boost to financial independence by talking to them about money. Thirty percent of teens think their parents don’t talk to them enough about money.

Teens say they are unsure about their ability to budget (23 percent), use credit cards (20 percent) or invest money (34 percent). You can teach them how to do each of these things, and if you’re feeling nervous, lean on Junior Achievement to provide the tools.

At Junior Achievement, we are committed to preparing students from kindergarten through high school to own their economic success. We understand that preparing our youth to be financially literate is more complex than teaching them to put their pennies in a piggy bank, which is why JA has developed relevant programs crafted to meet the needs of an ever-changing environment.

Junior Achievement Wabash Valley serves an eight-county area, including Vigo, Clay, Sullivan, Vermillion and Parke counties in Indiana and Edgar, Crawford and Clark counties, in Illinois. JAWV reached more than 4,500 students during the last school year, utilizing the talent of 130 classroom volunteers.

JAWV also partners with the local Academic Business Council to present a financial literacy workshop entitled “Let’s Get Real” each year to more than 1,400 eighth-graders in Vigo County.

We know times have been tough, but now is the time to secure independent financial futures for yourselves and your children. Empower your children today.

— By Peggy Murdock

Interim President

Junior Achievement

Wabash Valley