Survey Finds Gen Z Lacks Knowledge and Confidence in Personal Finance and Investing - Fintech Morning

Survey Finds Gen Z Lacks Knowledge and Confidence in Personal Finance and Investing


73% of teens crave more financial education; gender gap in financial confidence appears as young as 13.

Greenlight® Financial Technology, Inc. (“Greenlight”), the 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 the state of financial literacy among teens. In honor of Financial Literacy Month, the survey aims to better understand the challenges and opportunities for teens to improve their financial knowledge.

The results show that Gen Z is interested in personal finance and investing, but they lack confidence and want more financial education.

Key insights include:

Gen Z’s personal finance confidence is low, but they’re hungry to learn
Teens recognize the importance of personal finance but are aware they don’t have the education or knowledge that they need.

  • 3 out of 4 teens (74%) don’t feel confident or knowledgeable about personal finance.
  • Nearly half of teens (49%) say they have never made a budget.
  • 32% of teens couldn’t correctly identify the difference between a credit and debit card, and 41% don’t know if they have to pay taxes.
  • 73% of teens want more personal finance education.

Teens want to invest, but don’t know where to start
GameStop and social media ignited interest in investing for people of all ages, but Gen Z doesn’t know where to start or who to trust.

  • Investing is top of mind with 86% of teens interested in investing, but nearly half (45%) haven’t invested because they don’t feel confident or their parents don’t know how to get started.
  • Nearly half (49%) of teens said GameStop made them more interested in investing.
  • Despite growing interest, Gen Z lacks basic knowledge — 81% don’t know what an ETF is and 46% couldn’t correctly define a 401(k) plan.

Craving education, teens turn to social media for investing information
Gen Z is turning to social media for personal finance and investing information although they don’t trust  these platforms.

  • Nearly half of teens (48%) are learning about investing from social media despite ranking it as one of the least trustworthy sources for investing advice.
  • Specifically, teens are turning to YouTube (38%), TikTok (33%) and Instagram (25%) for personal finance and investing information.

Gender gap emerges as young as 13
Financial confidence and experience are not equal for all teens with distinct gaps between male and female respondents.

  • 33% of boys say they are confident in their personal finance knowledge compared to 21% of girls.
  • 55% of boys are extremely or very interested in investing versus 47% of girls.
  • 46% of girls haven’t invested because they don’t feel confident, while only 37% of boys said confidence held them back.
  • Girls are more likely to learn about donating and giving (42% to 29%), while boys are more likely to learn about investing in stocks (41% to 30%).

“Teens have made it clear that they want better financial education,” said Tim Sheehan, co-founder and CEO of Greenlight. “At Greenlight, we believe that every child should have the opportunity to become financially-smart. That’s why we’re focused on shining a light on the world of money with easy-to-use, accessible tools and educational resources that families can trust.”

Greenlight offers an all-in-one money management platform where kids and teens can explore lessons across the full financial spectrum — earning, saving, spending, giving and investing. It’s a comprehensive solution, complete with a debit card and app, that teaches financial literacy and helps young people develop healthy financial habits. Today, Greenlight serves 2.7 million parents and kids, who have collectively saved more than $100 million.

Teens are also looking to schools for financial education, yet only 21 states require a personal finance course for high school students. To help fill this gap, Greenlight is introducing its first-ever collection of free educational resources for the classroom with Kahoot!, the leading game-based learning platform for teachers and students.

“Teaching financial skills both at home and in schools is so important, but often parents and teachers don’t have the tools they need. Greenlight offers groundbreaking financial education solutions for families at home and is now bringing its expertise into classrooms across the country,” said Neale Godfrey, financial literacy expert and CEO of Children’s Financial Network. “The new collection of personal finance lessons with Kahoot! is fun and interactive. It’s the perfect way for teachers to engage their students on the critical topic of financial literacy.”

Developed based on the Council for Economic Education’s National Standards for Financial Literacy, Greenlight’s lessons on Kahoot! cover personal finance basics, saving and investing, and are tailored to grades 3-12 so students can learn at their level. The lessons are available to play for free from anywhere — in the classroom, with family at home or independently — bringing teens the accessible financial education they need.

Survey Methodology
Survey insights were collected by Greenlight through a ResearchScape survey fielded between February 26 and March 2, 2021, among 1,029 respondents in the U.S. ages 13-20.   

About Greenlight
Greenlight Financial Technology is an Atlanta-based fintech company committed to empowering parents to raise financially-smart kids. Its groundbreaking family finance product, Greenlight, is a comprehensive, all-in-one money management platform purpose-built for families. With a parent-managed debit card for kids and companion app, parents can automate allowance, manage chores, set flexible spend controls and enable their kids to become investors. Kids explore lessons in earning, saving, spending, giving and investing while learning to make real-world tradeoff decisions.

The Greenlight Card is issued by Community Federal Savings Bank, member FDIC, pursuant to license by Mastercard International.

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Edinson Love

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