High hopes

American teens expect to earn $145,500 a year when they grow up, according to a Teens & Money survey released this month. “Interestingly, boys expect to earn an average $173,000 a year and girls $114,200,” writes Michelle Singletary in a column urging parents to teach their kids to manage money and understand credit.

The fact is, only about 14 percent of U.S. households have incomes between $100,000 and $200,000, reports the U.S. Census Bureau. The median household income in the United States is actually $46,326, according to the latest Census figures.

Most teens say they plan to go to college, but that won’t be enough to meet their financial expectations.

Adults with a bachelor’s degree earned an average of $54,689 in 2005. Take out taxes and add in student loan and credit card debt and our young people have got a lot less to live off than they’re expecting.

While two-thirds say they’re prepared to handle their own finances when they leave home, most don’t know the basics of budgeting or credit.

Via Michael Blowhard.

Downtown College Prep, the charter high school I wrote about in Our School, lists teaching financial responsibility as one of the goals of the counselor it hired to help graduates navigate college. Most students come from Mexican immigrant families. They don’t think the world owes them a living, but they need to learn how to use a credit card, balance a checking account and make sure they’ve got enough for the next tuition payment.

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  1. wahoofive says:

    They’re probably just expecting a lot of inflation between now and then.

  2. Just so long as during that financial responsibility course they teach the basics of what good credit really means, and how very very important it is to just pay things on time.

  3. greifer says:

    “based on careers that interest them” is a bit vague. It sounds like they asked “What do you want to be when you grow up” and based on the answers, computed some “average” salaries. So when the kids said they wanted to be movie stars, rock stars, and NBA players, that might skew the results, no? I mean, who says they WANT to grow up to be an office assistant, a drywall hanger, a manager of a clothing store?
    More annoying is that they couldn’t link to the original survey.

    here is the press release on it:

    I’m not sure what to make of a survey that pegs the average amount saved by teens as over 1k.


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