By Alex Kowalski
PBN Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE – One-in-four teens believe they won’t achieve a positive cash flow, but will depend largely on financial assistance from their parents or guardians, until they’re at least 25 to 27 years old, teen advocacy group Junior Achievement of Rhode Island announced in an April 5 press release.
The “2013 Teens and Personal Finance Survey,” commissioned with the help of the Allstate Foundation, polled teens on their economic confidence. Fewer teens were sure they’d be living independent from their family in 2013 than two years prior, and the number who thought they would be dependent until age 25-to--27 more than doubled from 12 percent to 25 percent from 2011-2013. Four percent feel it willl take even longer than that.
“It is interesting to see this shift in teens thinking they will remain financially dependent on parents, while building a better future for themselves,” Lee Lewis, president of Junior Achievement Rhode Island said. “The good news is that resources are available, but now is the time to implement steps to help today’s teens secure independent financial futures.”
While it has been able to assist more than 1.2 million students in financial planning and goal-setting since its 2005 inception, Junior Achievmeent and the Allstate Foundation’s Economics for Success program is only able to do some much – the responsibility rests mostly on parents and guardians to help teens to “set financial goals and take steps to meet them,” Junior Achievement CEO Don Civgin said.
Teens also expressed a lack of surety in their saving and investing abilities. Only nine percent of those polled said they were saving for college and nearly a quarter were “somewhat” or “extremely” unsure about their budgeting ability, while 34 percent expressed similar sentiment in their investing skills.
With total student loan debt at nearly $1 trillion nationwide, more than half of teens surveyed believe that college students are borrowing excessively, but nearly the same amount admitted they aren’t sure how much they plan to borrow for higher education expenses.
Between 2004-2013, the number of students borrowing rose 70 percent to nearly 38 million debtors, with the total amount of debt tripling in that same period. As of December 2012, Sallie Mae Corp. controlled approximately $932 billion in federally-insured student loan debt.
In 2012, student default rates in Rhode Island ranged from as low as one-to-two percent at Brown and Bryant Universities and as high as 14 percent at the Community College of Rhode Island and Johnson and Wales University in Providence, according to the U.S. Department of Education.