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Survey Says: Set The Record Straight on Money with Kids


By Kat Saks

An apple grows in your tummy if you swallow an apple seed.
Stuffed animals come to life when you're not watching.
If you cross your eyes, they stay that way.
I can't see you, so you can't see me.
Teachers live at school.
Money grows on trees.
Stats on what kids think

What kids think

How do people get their money?
(Pick all that apply)
  • 91% From Working
  • 40% From their Parents
  • 26% They Win It
  • 4% It Grows on Trees
Junior Achievement logo
JA USA/Jackson/Wakefield Research Survey of 7- to 10-Year Olds

As the old saying goes: kids say the darnedest things. Most childhood beliefs fall by the wayside as kids learn and develop. But, which imaginative childhood misconceptions persist? When do we, as adults, need to set the record straight?

When it comes to kids' misconceptions about money, setting the record straight is crucial. And, a new study by Wakefield Research for Junior Achievement and the Jackson Charitable Foundation indicates that kids still have plenty to learn.

The JA-Jackson Children's Financial Literacy survey set out to discover what kids understand about finances, and where there's room to increase their financial knowledge. 500 children (ages seven to ten) and their parents were surveyed. The results of this research garnered some illuminating takeaways.

Stats on what kids think

What kids think

How do you feel when you hear adults talk about money?
  • 55% Excited
  • 21% Bored
  • 18% Confused
  • 4% I've never heard adults talk about money
  • 2% Scared
Junior Aschievement logo
JA USA/Jackson/Wakefield Research Survey of 7- to 10-Year Olds

For example:

Stats on what kids think

What kids think

How do you get your allowance?
(Choose all that apply)
  • 68% Do Chores
  • 54% Get Good Grades
  • 36% Do My Homework
  • 21% Be Nice to Parents/Siblings
  • 3% Don't Do Anything
  • 13% I don't Get an Allowance
  • 2% I Don't Know what an Allowance Is
Junior Achievement logo
JA USA/Jackson/Wakefield Research Survey of 7- to 10-Year Olds

These results clearly illustrate the need to increase financial knowledge among children. As Jack E. Kosakowski, president and Chief Executive Officer of Junior Achievement USA, stated, “The message to parents is simple… It's never too early to teach your children the short and long-term rewards of saving and spending money wisely.”

Though the survey results highlighted a clear gap in kids' financial knowledge, the survey also highlighted a significant opportunity to engage children in a conversation that excites and interests them. 55% of kids surveyed said they are excited when adults talk about money, and 34% said they feel motivated when they think about money. No doubt parents, loved ones and educators can leverage kids' interest in financial education to help increase their knowledge.

Stats on what Parents think

What parents think

At what age should people start learning about personal finances?
  • 67% 5- to 8-years old
  • 27% 9- to 12-years old
  • 5% 13- to 20-years old
Junior Achievement logo
JA USA/Jackson/Wakefield Research Survey of 7- to 10-Year Olds

The JA-Jackson Charitable Foundation survey also indicates that parents are eager to keep the financial conversations going with kids. 77% of parents surveyed see money as the easiest topic to explain to their child, compared to others such as where babies come from, death and politics. The same percentage of parents also felt that home was the best place for children to learn personal finance basics, at the average age of eight years old and as young as five.

So, how can parents get started on educating kids about money? According to Danielle Robinson, Jackson Charitable Foundation's Executive Director, conversation is key. “When it comes to kids and their financial futures, perhaps the simplest way to make a positive impact is by encouraging more conversations about money. We know adults pass along advice and guidance to young people about how to earn, save, spend and donate money. The Jackson Charitable Foundation is pleased to partner with Junior Achievement to spark more of those important conversations at home and in the classroom.”

Stats on what parents think

What parents think

Which of the following describes how you feel about money?
  • 35% Motivated
  • 24% Stressed
  • 19% Secure
  • 19% Content
  • 3% Envious
Junior Achievement logo
JA USA/Jackson/Wakefield Research Survey of 7- to 10-Year Olds

To help foster conversation and grow financial knowledge, Jackson Charitable Foundation recently launched its first initiative: Cha-Ching Money Smart Kids. A series of brief music videos featuring relatable animated characters, Cha-Ching teaches smart money values to kids as they watch the characters make real-world decisions about money. Furthermore, JA and Jackson are working together to broaden the program's reach. The two organizations have formed a partnership focused on integrating the Cha-Ching lessons into the JA Our City entrepreneurship, financial literacy and work-preparedness program, currently taught to approximately 450,000 third-grade students annually. The program also includes take-home activities for kids and parents to inspire financial learning beyond the classroom.

Whether you're a parent, an educator or a loved one, each of us can help kids grow in their financial knowledge. We owe it to kids to help them feel more confident and motivated about money. After all, money doesn't grow on trees! As the JA-Jackson Charitable Foundation survey indicates, kids are interested, adults are invested, and there's plenty of room to set the record straight. Why not get started today? Take the first step and open the door to a conversation. It will likely pay dividends in the long run.

Photo of Kat Saks
Kat Saks
Digital Customer Experience Expert, Former Jackson Associate

As a strategic marketing technology leader, Kat Saks is passionate about helping companies fuel digital innovation through a customer-centric approach. She has been fortunate to partner with Fortune 100 and rapid-growth companies in multiple sectors, from finance, pharmaceutical, telecommunications, healthcare and beyond. An award-winning digital strategist, Kat holds advanced certifications from New York University and Syracuse University and earned her degree from Vassar College. Kat can be reached on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The Jackson Charitable Foundation is the charitable-giving arm of Jackson National Life Insurance Company®. The Foundation focuses on work that is national in scope. Local community requests to strengthen families and increase economic opportunities in Lansing, Michigan; Chicago, Illinois; and Nashville, Tennessee can be directed to Jackson's Corporate Philanthropy team.