Survey Finds 93% of Teens Believe Financial Knowledge and Skills Are Needed to Achieve Their Life Goals

Greenlight partners with the National Financial Educators Council to improve teens’ financial literacy test scores for brighter financial futures

ATLANTA--()--In honor of Financial Literacy Month, Greenlight® Financial Technology, Inc. (“Greenlight”), the family fintech company on a mission to help parents raise financially-smart kids, today released new findings from a national survey that shine a light on teens’ aspirations for their financial futures. The survey aims to better understand the importance of financial literacy for teens’ futures as well as the effect of today’s economic climate.

The results show that teens know financial literacy is critical to achieve their life goals, yet they still score an average of only 64% on the National Financial Literacy Test.

Survey insights include:

Teens have big life goals and seek financial knowledge to achieve them

Vast majority of families understand the importance of financial literacy for the future.

  • 93% of teens believe they need financial knowledge and skills to achieve their life goals, and 97% of parents agree.
  • Teens ranked having a well-paying job as their #1 financial life goal, followed by (2) having money saved, (3) owning a home, (4) owning a vehicle and (5) having no debt or student loans.
  • 54% of teens aspire to be entrepreneurs, compared to 45% of their parents.

Teens have less jobs than previous generations, missing valuable hands-on experience

Despite the decline in teen jobs, teens know they will learn important financial skills from working.

  • 85% of parents had a job by the age of 18 while only 53% of teens today say they’ve had work experience.
  • Teens ranked how to manage money as the #1 most valuable lesson they will learn from working, followed by (2) work ethic and (3) how to build a resume and interview.
  • 35% of teens say the most important financial skill they need for their future is how to budget and spend wisely and 32% say how to save money is most important to them.
  • Half of parents (50%) agree that how to budget and spend wisely is the #1 most important financial skill for their childrens’ future.

Today’s economic climate is causing financial stress for the whole family

New and increasing financial stressors are reinforcing the importance of financial literacy.

  • 67% of parents and teens report that money is one of their most talked about topics in the past six months, second only to the pandemic (78%). Lesser discussed topics include politics, drugs & alcohol, sex and natural disasters.
  • Parents and teens alike are experiencing financial anxiety, citing gas prices (68%) and inflation (55%) as the biggest financial stressors. Interest rates (23%), taxes (21%), stock market volatility (20%) and student loans (19%) were also reported as stressors.
  • 36% of parents and teens say they are budgeting more because of inflation and the rising cost of goods.
  • Of those who invest, 43% are continuing to hold their investments for the long-term due to stock market volatility.

Parents and teens alike know the importance of financial knowledge and skills, yet there continues to be a gap in financial literacy among youth. Teens today score an average of 64% on the National Financial Literacy Test, well below the passing grade of 70%,” said Jennifer Seitz, Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI) and Educational Content Lead at Greenlight. “At Greenlight, we’re focused on teaching kids and teens the money skills they need to be financially confident and independent for their futures.”

Greenlight offers a debit card and banking app that teaches kids and teens critical financial skills like how to earn, save, spend wisely and invest. Today, Greenlight serves more than 5 million parents and kids, who have collectively saved more than $225 million and invested more than $10 million towards their financial futures.

This month, Greenlight is partnering with the National Financial Educators Council (NFEC) to launch “Future You,” an educational series designed for kids and teens to improve National Financial Literacy Test scores. The “Future You” lessons focus on seven core financial topics covered in the 30-question National Financial Literacy Test, including life goals, career goals, entrepreneurship, investing, banking, credit and insurance. Each lesson encourages kids and teens to think about their futures and learn the financial knowledge and skills they need to achieve their goals. The lessons are available via the Greenlight blog, Greenlight app and Kahoot! quizzes so families can learn together.

Financial literacy is one of the most important factors to a healthy future, but there continues to be a lack of financial education for young people,” said Vince Shorb, CEO of the National Financial Educators Council. “Greenlight offers kids and teens the invaluable opportunity to learn financial skills through real-world experience. Now, with the new “Future You” lessons, families can also easily access educational resources to improve their children’s financial knowledge.”

Kids and teens, ages 10 and up, are invited to take the National Financial Literacy test here after completing Greenlight’s “Future You” lessons.

Survey Methodology

Survey insights were collected by Greenlight through a Researchscape survey fielded between March 18 and March 20, 2022, among 1,096 respondents in the U.S., split between teens ages 13-18 and parents of 13-18 year olds. Results were weighted by age, gender, and Census region.

About Greenlight

Greenlight Financial Technology is the family fintech company on a mission to help parents raise financially-smart kids. Its groundbreaking product, Greenlight, is an all-in-one money management platform purpose-built for families, complete with a debit card and companion app. Parents can automate allowance, manage chores, set flexible spend controls and invest for their kids’ futures. Kids and teens learn to earn, save, spend wisely, give and invest with parental approval.

The Greenlight Card is issued by Community Federal Savings Bank, member FDIC, pursuant to license by Mastercard International. Greenlight Investment Advisors, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor, provides investment advisory services to its clients. Investing involves risk and may include the loss of principal. For more information, please visit:

About National Financial Educators Council

The National Financial Educators Council is a Certified B Corporation™ and an IACET Accredited Provider focused on mobilizing financial wellness champions, educators, and advocates around the world to empower people with greater financial wellness. The overarching vision is creating a world where individuals can make informed money decisions that help them fulfill their personal, family, and community goals.


Jessica Tenny
Director of Communications


Jessica Tenny
Director of Communications