A new survey on teens and money says that boys are more likely to get an allowance than girls, which experts say is disappointing because an allowance is a good tool to learn money management. NY1's Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.
We often hear about the gender gap when it comes to how much workers are paid, but research by Junior Achievement USA shows, in a way, that that gap starts much younger.
In their 2014 Teens and Personal Finance Study, they found that boys are more likely to get an allowance than girls, and that's troubling, because an allowance is a powerful tool when it comes to learning about money management.
"The amount is not really the important part," says Joseph Peri, president of Junior Achievement of New York. "It's really all about having some responsibility over money and being able to really understand what to do with that."
For instance, how to budget, something neither gender is doing enough of. The reason? They don't think they have enough money to bother keeping track of it.
"And that's, I think, an impression that we want to correct, because again, it's the habit that we want them to learn," Peri says. "The theory is, if you're responsible with a small amount, you're more likely to be responsible with bigger amounts as you get older."
Of course, one of the biggest financial decisions a teenager will make is where they go to college and how they'll pay for it. Here, it seems the girls have a bit of an edge. Two-thirds of girls say they are conscious of the rising cost of college, and, as a result, are re-thinking their choices. They're also more likely than boys to consider attending a state school to save some money.
While both genders plan to look for grants or scholarships to help cover the bill, Peri says it's a good idea to let your child foot at least some of it.
"Because it's a significant investment, and I think sort of the old adage, 'If they've got some skin in the game, that makes them more responsible,' is still probably a good one," he says.
Finally, whether it's paying for college or groceries or cellphones, Peri says parents need be as open as possible when it comes to the family finances and even let their teens have a voice in crafting the household budget.
"It's really important that they understand that there are choices that have to be made," he says. "You can't have everything. You've got to decide between things. That's a very, very basic principle that young people have to learn at a very early point in time."
For tips on how to talk about money with your teens, visit jany.org and click on the link for parents.
For more information on the survey, click here.