When it comes to financial literacy, girls are eager to learn – but aren’t being provided with the information they need to make good decisions about credit and other important financial principles.
In a new survey from the Girl Scout Research Institute, 90% of respondents said they understand the importance of learning good money management skills, yet only 40% of girls surveyed said they know how to use a credit card, 38% know what a credit score is, and 37% know how credit card fees and interest work.
The study, titled Having It All: Girls and Financial Literacy, asked 1,040 girls aged 8 through 17, about their financial know-how and concerns. When asked whether they felt confident about making financial decisions, only 12% said that they did – but that didn’t stop them from expressing optimism about their financial futures.
Future’s so bright, gotta wear shades
When it comes to the future, girls are optimistic. Asked if they expect to have jobs or careers that they enjoy, 98% said yes. Ninety-six percent expect to be able to provide for their families, and 95% plan to own a home someday. Most feel sure that they will be better off than their parents, with 88% of those surveyed responding that they are likely to earn more money than their parents do.
On the subject of gender, seven out of ten girls said that they see no difference between the sexes when it comes to being savvy about money. Seventy-three percent said that men and women are equally likely to be financially responsible, and 72% said it’s equally probable for men and women to be in a lot of debt.
Learning to use credit essential to avoid debt
Credit cards, credit scores, fees and interest are important concepts and provide a solid foundation for both boys and girls if they are to have healthy financial futures. One way teens and young adults can learn about credit cards is to use a prepaid card to make small purchases, instead of cash.
These cards are pre-loaded with money and not linked to a line of credit, making them an easy way to practice using cards to make payments. While users cannot incur debt with a prepaid card, there are fees that can drain the balance. By learning to manage money using a prepaid card, young people will learn to avoid fees, make and follow a budget, and manage a financial account.