Although most youths receive financial advice from their parents, few can define simple financial terms, according to a survey of students from affluent households.
The survey, conducted for the second consecutive year by Yankelovich Partners Inc. of Westport, Conn., polled 1,200 students-seventh-graders through college seniors-last June. Each respondent had at least one parent earning more than $40,000 a year, the pollsters said.
Ninety-three percent of the students thought they received "enough" or "more than enough" financial advice from their parents, but only 28% could explain the concept of buying on credit. Twenty-five percent could explain what a budget was, and 5% could define compound interest.
The study was commissioned by Phoenix Home Life Mutual Insurance Co. of Hartford, Conn.
"A lot of students are aware of financial issues and the need to save, but most of them don't know how to make their money grow," said Andy Janicik, a spokesman for Phoenix. "The survey is a good opportunity for us to get out the word about the need for education."
Among students surveyed, 75% said they had a savings account, and 86% of them said they contributed their own earnings. Twenty-four percent of respondents had their own credit cards, and 77% of those said they paid the bills themselves. Fifteen percent of them said their parents picked up the tab.
Among the students who said they were responsible for their credit card bills, 61% said they paid their balances in full each month. By contrast, a separate Yankelovich survey found that 45% of adults in families with similar incomes paid their bills in full.
Most of the students-73%-said schools should teach about personal finance, but only 10% said their schools did.
"Parents play a critical role in teaching their children, but schools are the perfect places to supplement those roles," Mr. Janicik said.