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The 5 most important financial lessons for teens

Parents with teenagers know nothing comes easy, including money management. But with young adults facing mounting levels of student loans and credit card debt, building a strong financial foundation early on is more important than ever. Learn how teens tend to spend and save, and consider teaching them age-appropriate money habits that can last a lifetime.

1. Know where the money comes from

While many parents give their teens an allowance or pay for things directly, others earn their money through independent jobs.

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64%
of teens receive money as gifts

32%
of teens get an allowance

22%
of teens have a job

Source: Junior Achievement Teens and Personal Finance Survey, 2019

2. Understand the benefits of saving

Most teens save their money, and by putting a little away each month that can grow into big savings over time.

Saving $25 a month Saving $50 a month
1 year $300 $600
5 years $1,500 $3,000
10 years $3,000 $6,000

Note: Numbers do not account for inflation or any account interest.

3. Track expenses to stay on budget

In 2020, the average teen spent $2,150 across a range of categories like food, clothing and entertainment.

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Basic needs
23%

Fashion and personal care
40%

Fun and social
37%

Sources: Piper Sandler

4. Establish good credit

Help your teen understand the risks and responsibilities that come with using credit cards and avoid stacking up debt in the future.

8% of U.S. parents have children with credit cards


$2,319 is the average amount of credit card debt Americans have by age 20

Sources: Creditcards.com, Experian

5. Think long term

Focusing on the future can help teens start saving their own money and teach them to better accomplish the goals they set for themselves.

What teens think

35 percent

think they’ll have $100,000 saved by age 30

43 percent

plan to pay off student loans by age 30

66 percent

believe they’ll own a home by age 30


Source: Junior Achievement Teens and Personal Finance Survey, 2019

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The material provided on this website is for informational use only and is not intended for financial, tax or investment advice. Bank of America and/or its affiliates, and Khan Academy, assume no liability for any loss or damage resulting from one’s reliance on the material provided. Please also note that such material is not updated regularly and that some of the information may not therefore be current. Consult with your own financial professional and tax advisor when making decisions regarding your financial situation.

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