Today is the start of "Money Smart Week" — a nationwide effort to encourage teenagers to be better money managers. JoAnne Kuster, chair of Money Smart Week in Iowa, says the latest data indicates the average American teenager spends $107 a week. "Many teens don’t know what to do with a dollar if they don’t spend it," she says.
According to Kuster, most American teens lack good habits when it comes to finances. "They don’t know how to use credit cards, buy a car, get a loan, invest savings, find insurance or start retirement plans," Kuster says. "Too bad Iowa’s economic success is depending on them."
Kuster and her group support a bid to include "financial literacy" among the list of skills that should be taught in Iowa high schools. "Only one in three teens knows how to read a bank statement, balance a checkbook and pay bills. Barely one in five has any idea how to invest," Kuster says. "Package those statistics with the fact that two-thirds of Americans spend $1.22 for every $1 they make and it’s not a pretty outlook."
Kuster cites research which found a teenager’s money management skills improved with as little as 10 hours of personal financial education. Money Smart Week started April 5th and ends the 12th. Find out more on-line at http://www.chicagofed.org/consumer_information/msw_iowa.cfm .