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By Rhea Riley

A survey released by Junior Achievement and Citizens Bank states that 63 percent of teens don’t believe they will be financially independent from their parents by the age of 30.

The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research on 1,000 teens between the ages of 13 to 18 who are not enrolled in college. Teens were invited to take the survey via email between March 1– 8 of this year. The survey was released to coincide with April as it is the national financial literacy month.

“These survey findings show a disconcerting lack of confidence among teens when it comes to achieving financial goals,” said Michael Frohna, president of Junior Achievement of Wisconsin. “With a strong economy, you would think teens would be more optimistic. It just demonstrates the importance of working with young people to help them better understand financial concepts and gain confidence in their ability to manage their financial futures.”

Junior Achievement is a worldwide organization dedicated to educating youths on making successful academic and economic choices for their futures. Through corporate and community volunteers, the nonprofit organization programs reach an estimated 4.8 million students a year in the United States and 5.2 million worldwide. Of these locations, Junior Achievement has programs with 4,000 different classrooms at 380 different schools across the metropolitan Milwaukee area.

The organization’s programs focus on three pillars, career readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy.

As a nonprofit, Junior Achievement conducts frequent surveys and evaluations to assess their impact. The results of these surveys and evaluations are crucial—not only do they gauge the effectiveness of their work and address needed changes, but they also reassure to their donors that their work is making a difference.

This year, Junior Achievement is celebrating 100 years, but with these recent survey results it is evident that their work is far from finished.

The survey also revealed that females expected to make less than $35,000 within their first full-time job after high school. Other results concluded that an average of the students had obtaining a full-time job as their top financial goal, along with paying for college, living on their own and paying taxes.

“These results aren’t what we are hoping, but it shows us how important it is to keep working and to make sure we are providing skills and knowledge when providing financial literacy,” said Tracy Cinealis, Vice President of Program Partnerships.

According to Cinealis, previous surveys stated students who have been involved in Junior Achievement programs are 90 percent more confident in managing their own finances.

Moving forward, Junior Achievement also wants to keep instilling in their students the ability to dream big and not limit their opportunities. They also look forward to expanding the conversation on budgeting with their students and encourage dialogue with their parents on managing their finances.

“More than anything we want students to know that anything is possible,” said Cinealis. “We want them to dream big and we want them to feel confident that whether they go to a four-year college, or a two-year technical school or go straight into the work force that they have unique and meaningful opportunities.”

Along with educating students in financial literacy, Junior Achievement wants to prepare their students for bright futures. By looking toward even more partnerships with other organizations within the Milwaukee area, they hope to dismantle the idea that their students will be financially dependent for so long.

“I think our partnerships with other Milwaukee area organizations are going to be key if we want to try to help our employers make sure they get the best employees,” said Cinealis on prepping their students for future full-time jobs. “We want to make sure our Wisconsin residents have great Wisconsin jobs.”

To learn more about Junior Achievement, visit wisconsin.ja.org.

This article originally appeared in the Milwaukee Courier.

New Survey Shows a Third of Teens Believe They won’t be Financially Independent by the Age of 30

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