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There's good news and potentially very bad news from a new survey of teenagers conducted by Liberty and Teenage Research Unlimited. The good news: teenagers look to their parents for financial advice. The potentially very bad news: teenagers look to their parents for financial advice.

Moreso than banks, this news is especially relevant to credit unions, which are interwoven with the student community at both the high school and college levels. Credit unions operate (with student help) branches in high schools, have universities as their fields of membership, and play a big role in the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE). The Liberty/Teenage Research Unlimited survey also is being released at the same time graduates of high school (wishing college would hurry up and get here) and college (wishing they were back in high school) are being freshly minted.

If parents really are the source of financial advice, here's some of our own: if your parents managed to save enough money to pay for/have paid for college, listen to them; if they set a goal of paying for half your education while you pay the other half, don't just listen-thank them. If they paid for/plan to pay for college by using interest paid on checking accounts and by making rapid credit card balance transfers, slip on the Walkman when they're speaking.

If you're a recent grad and unsure of your own financial preparedness for the world, we at The Credit Union Journal offer this handy financial quiz, below, by which to measure yourself. Please note that significant amount of work, thought and intense debate often goes into formulating research. You will find none of that here.

Q: I know my parents are good financial stewards, because:

A) Our box-shaped house is paid for.

B) We're still paying the box that is our house.

Q: When discussing finances, my parents often:

A) Said they had worked hard to give me my shot.

B) Shot at each other.

Q) When it came to financial planning, my parents had:

A) A sixth sense.

C) A tip on the sixth race.

Q) After watching my parents open their brokerage statements:

A) I understand the need for a long-range approach to investing.

B) I concluded it's best to be a long-range away from them.

Q) The minimum payment on a credit card:

A) Does not mean that's all you have to pay.

B) May be the single greatest contribution to the market economy,

and I believe in capitalism.

Q) Money comes from:

A) Hard work and savings.

B) The "magical wallet" in my dad's pants that will always be there.

Q) I can achieve my dreams by:

A) Pursuing a career that fulfills me, understanding it may not pay

what other, less-fulfilling careers pay.

B) Answering any of those helpful e-mails I receive every day.

Q) "Living within ones means" is defined as:

A) Spending less than I make.*

B) A mean way to live.

Q) In maintaining a checking account, it is important to:

A) Record all checks and balance the account regularly.

B) Get a really expensive looking checkbook cover.

Q) Sallie Mae stands for:

A) Student Loan Marketing Association.

B) "Sally, may I use this money to buy more beer?"

Q) Bankruptcy is:

A) To be avoided except in the most dire of situations.

B) On my "to-do" list, right after "get new car."

So how'd you do? If you answered A to all the questions above, you could be in for a big shock depending on the big lottery called health, a future ex-spouse's divorce attorney, the "accounting" of the company whose stock you bought, and other vagaries it's best not to think about. If you answered B, fortunately, we live in a responsibility-avoiding society, so blame your parents.

* Not applicable to future federal government employees.

Frank J. Diekmann is editor of The Credit Union Journal. He can be reached at P.O. Box 4387, W. Palm Beach, FL 33402, or at fdiekmann cujournal.com.

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