Almost three-quarters of teens worry about money


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The global financial crisis has helped focus the attention of kids about money.

Around 70% of Generation Z teenagers aged 12 to 18 admit to worrying about money, according to a recent survey of 2000 teenagers carried out by teen researcher Habbo and Veda Advantage, Australia's largest credit bureau.

The tough financial conditions mean that Generation Z teenagers are more financially robust than Generation Y (aged 19 to 30), according to Jeff Brookes, regional director Asia Pacific of Habbo.

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The survey found that 54% of Gen Z teenagers use their bank accounts for saving rather than general spending.

What are they saving for? Half are already saving for cars and houses while more than a third of Australian teens pay their own mobile phone bills.

Gen Z teenagers also have strong convictions about paying bills on time and "do not like owing people money at all" - even if it is to their parents.

At the same time, the survey found that Gen Z has an appetite for credit cards, with 31% indicating they want one and 7% saying they will have one soon.

Almost 10% of Australian teenagers have debit cards and 12% of teenagers currently either have a credit card or use their parents' card.

Unfortunately in these financially challenging times busy parents aren't always talking to their kids about managing money. Fifty-two percent of the teenagers said that they have never had a conversation with their parents about managing money.

The problem is that teens can get into financial trouble at an early age unless they understand what they are doing with debt.

A huge 83% of teens surveyed have a mobile phone and 55% got their mobile before they turned 13.

Who is paying the bills? For more than half (52%) their parents pay, while 36% pay on their own.

It's not surprising there have been moves by the federal government, schools and private groups such as the Commonwealth Bank to help kids understand money.

(Some big employers such as Virgin and ANZ help adults with finances too.) The Commonwealth Bank Foundation found 37% of the least financially literate groups in the community are 16 to 20 years old.

The federal government's financial literacy program for primary and high school kids is well under way.

It helps them identify how much they earn and spend, set some financial goals and save regularly to meet them.

For high school kids, the program includes debt, spending habits, protecting money and financial information.

In a separate move, the Commonwealth Bank recently launched an initiative called "onemillionkids" to improve the financial literacy of school children over the next five years. It will encourage kids to bring money to school that will be collected and deposited into their own bank account.

Kids can deposit any amount - even 10c - with the Commonwealth's 80-year-old school banking program and learn from a young age that small deposits grow over time.

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Susan has been a finance journalist for more than 30 years, beginning at the Australian Financial Review before moving to the Sydney Morning Herald. She edited a superannuation magazine, Superfunds, for the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, and writes regularly on superannuation and managed funds. She's also author of the best-selling book Women and Money.
Gerhard Stander
August 22, 2017 9.21am

Hi Susan, where can I get the latest info/research on % of teens that have debit and credit cards Thanks Gerhard

August 22, 2017 9.38am

Hi Gerard, has Australian credit card and debit card statistics for 2017 here:

They may be able to narrow that down to teens for you.

- Money team

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